Tuesday, February 20, 2007


February 20, 2007

Just 12 days after Depaul survived a thrilling 67-66 decision at Allstate Arena over Notre Dame, the two teams meet again, this time in South Bend. The Irish are 8-5 in the Big East, but 6-0 at the Joyce Center. They are one-game in front of the 7-6 Blue Demons, who are 3-4 on the road in the Big East.

Here are the pregame stories and previews found on the internet this morning:

Demons are Rarin' to Go (Daily Herald)
Luke Harangody Diary: Looking to Stay Perfect at Home (NWITimes.com)
Irish Have Little Time to Enjoy Milestone (Journal Gazette)
Chandler Still Haunts the Irish (South Bend Tribune)
DePaul's Heard Makes the Grade (Chicago Tribune)
Demons Hope to Avoid the Whole Truth vs Irish (Chicago Sun-Times)

With wins over Marquette and Notre Dame last week and a road win over Soth Florida last weekend, DePaul has moved to 7-6 in the conference and up to #56 in the NCAA RPI Ratings. With three conference games left, the Blue Demons know that it will be awful hard for the selection committee to keep out a 10-6 Big East team, especially one with a good SOS rating. Getting a road win against Notre Dame would go a long way in making DePaul's case for the NCAA's alot stronger.

The Irish picked up win #20 on the season on Sunday against Cincinnati and ND puts their undefeated home record on the line tonight. The Irish play together as a team and have faith in each other to get the job done. This team has roles and they seem to accept them very well and understand what is asked of each other in those roles.

In their earlier meeting, Wilson Chandler dominated the Irish frontline to the tune of 25 pts, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks. Chandler is a difficult match-up for the Irish as he is longer and more athletic than any of their frontline players and has the ability to go inside and outside. The Demons also got a huge lift from Cliff Clinkscales in the 1st meeting as he helped get the DePaul offense on track by pushing the ball at the Irish. However, to win on the road, they will need Sammy Mejia and Draelon Burns to shoot better than the 7-20 they did in the first meeting.

Notre Dame got off to a quick start in the earlier meeting as Luke Harangody was a horse in the paint, but he did not get another field goal after the opening four minutes and the Irish missed free throws and did not have the 'luck of the Irish' late in the game. Notre Dame was left with a bitter feeling after seeing a late lead evaporate before their eyes and not get a whistle in the finally seconds in their favor.

DePaul is a tough match-up for the Irish, but Notre Dame should look to get consistent contributions for 6 or 7 guys. Tory Jackson and Russell Carter give the Irish a few aspects of speed and quickness and expect Harangody and Rob Kurz to be solid inside. The Irish are 6-pt favorites and should pull out the tough win tonight.

NBE Blogger Prediction: Notre Dame 72 DePaul 67

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Friday, February 16, 2007

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Notre Dame @ Cincinnati

February 17, 2007

Notre Dame travels to Cincinnati for a Sunday Big East game. The Bearcats keep finding ways to lose in Mick Cronin's first year at the helm of his alma mater and are struggling to the finish with a 1-10 Big East record. Notre Dame has been one of the more surprising teams of the conference this year with a 7-5 record in the Big East.

The Irish have struggled on the road in Big East play, going just 1-5 on the road in the Big East. However, Cincinnati does not look to have the depth or size inside to play with Notre Dame this year. The Irish shoudl be able to score in a variety of ways. The Bearcats also should find some offensive success and have yet to give up on their season, but a Notre Dame run in the second half should put this game away.

NBE Blogger Prediction: Notre Dame 74 Cincinnati 65

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Providence @ Notre Dame

February 15, 2007

Notre Dame and Providence are both still in the hunt for the NCAA Tournament. Obviously, Notre Dame has more of a chance than the Friars, but a road win in South Bend could really give the Friars some new life as they head down the stretch. PC gave Pitt a lot of trouble on Saturday, so they will look to build on that tonight.

The Irish are have hit a bit of a speed bump on the road of late, losing their last two games, at South Florida and at DePaul. On the season, the Irish have struggled away from South Bend, going 1-5 on the road in Big East play. At 6-5 in the conference, Notre Dame can not afford to slip up down the stretch, otherwise they will find themselves in a tough situation waiting to find out their fate on Selection Sunday.

Here are links to the pregame previews and stories from around the internet:

Irish Get Back to Basics (South Bend Tribune)
Skid Sends Irish Back to Basics (Journal Gazette)
Irish Still Have Work to do (Post-Tribune)
PC, Irish Still Have Much Work to Do (Providence Journal)

On Saturday, Providence College took Pittsburgh down to the wire, leading by as much as six points in the second half before bowing to the league-leading Panthers, 74-68 in Pittsburgh. The Friars are currently 5-5 in the Big East, but just 1-4 on the road in conference play and 1-6 on the year away from home. They desperately need to find some success away from home to get the attention of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee and time is running out.

The Friars are an athletic team, led by point guard Sharaud Curry and center Herbert Hill. This pair should be able to have success against the Irish with their quickness and athleticism. Forward Geoff McDermott will play a key role as the Friars would like to see him get back to putting up near triple-double numbers to help the Friars win. McDermott will also be called on to keep Notre Dame's second leading scorer and top rebounder, Rob Kurz, in checks. This is an intersting match-up and one the Friars will have to gain an advantage with in order to pull out the road win.

Notre Dame has been winning with unselfish play, timely shooting and having different players step up and be successful when called on. It could be Colin Falls hitting seven 3-pt shots or Rob Kurz posting a quality double-double or Luke 'Bam Bam' Harangody scoring with a variety of deceptive post moves. They have also found that freshman Tory Jackson is not easily awed in the Big East environment at the PG position and Zach Hillesland can come off the bench and give the Irish a spark. However the key to the Irish could be Russell Carter. The senior always seems to be going in overdrive which can lead to some forced shots, but when he is on, the Irish become a VERY dangerous team. However, when he is off, Carter has a tendency to let it impact his entire game, from his defense, ball-handling and decision making. The Friars play a style that will allow some freedom for the Irish offense and they could get into quite a groove offensively.

Providence will have to hit the boards tonight. They need to establish Hill in the post and run more of their offense through McDermott, let him create opportunities by going inside and out. Sometimes their offense can tend to stand around and let Curry go to work, but they have excellent pieces for him to work with as well. I think whichever team can bring a commitment to defense tonight will be the winner, both teams can, and will score, but who will get the key stops?

In this one, I look for the home team to have the added defensive intensity, especially coming off two consecutuve road losses. Having a week to reflect and get back on track, look for a nice Irish performance tonight.

NBE Blogger Prediction: Notre Dame 81 Providence 71

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Thursday, February 08, 2007


February 8, 2007

The Big East moves focus to the Midwest tonight as Notre Dame travels to Chicago to take on DePaul. The Irish have a strong following in the Windy City and this should bring some nice energy on a cold evening in Chicago. Look for top notch efforts from both teams, something that has hardly been a consistent trait of either lately.

Here are the pregame stories and previews found on the internet this morning:

Burns, Depaul Can't Wait for Another Shot at DePaul (Chicago Sun-Times)
What a Difference a Schedule Can Make (Daily Herald)
Irish Reserves Give Sneak Peek on Foes (Journal Gazette)
No Need to Wait His Turn (Chicago Tribune)
Will the Real Blue Demons Please Stand up (South Bend Tribune)

Click below for our brief preview and prediction on this game and don't forget to leave your prediction in the comments section.


Notre Dame fans were jumping for joy after the Irish earned their first road win last Tuesday when they demolished Syracuse in the Dome. The Irish poured in 61 1st half points on their way to a 103-91 win and things seemed to be clicking. Then, last weekend, we saw the up and down nature of the Irish as they managed to score 63 points total in a 69-63 loss at South Florida. The Irish are 6-4 in the conference, but only have won once away from South Bend in Big East play, also losing at St. John's, Georgetown and Villanova, in addition to the Bulls.

DePaul brings a 4-6 conference record into the game tonight, however they have lost four of their last five. Three of those losses did come on the road, so coming home where they are 9-2 on the season will certainly do the Blue Demons some good.

For Depaul, the key will be their shooting. If Draelon Burns can continue his hot streak and take some pressure off Sammy Mejia, the Blue Demons will be very dangerous. They need their duo of Mejia and Wilson Chandler to be much more effecient offensively. Chandler, along with a rotation of Keith Butler, Wesley Green, Lorenzo Thompson and Marcus Heard have to play tough and strong against the Irish frontcourt of Luke Harangody, Rob Kurz, Zach Hillesland and Luke Zeller. The Irish were beaten badly on the boards in their loss to South Florida and the Blue Demons need to make their presence felt on the boards tonight.

Jabari Currie seems to be the point guard of the week for DePaul, however he is coming off a really poor game against the Syracuse zone, leading DePaul to play without a true point guard for much of the contest. The Irish utilize a pair of freshmen point guards since Kyle McAlarney's suspension with Tory Jackson getting most of the time and Jonathan Peoples backing him up. Seniors Colin Falls and Russell Carter are dangerous scorers and the athletic and strong backcourt of DePaul will have to concentrate on stopping them from getting on a roll.

Notre Dame seems to be the much more rounded team. They have several players who can hurt you offensively, especially if Rob Kurz is healthy. DePaul has seemed to rely almost exclusively on Mejia and Chandler and other teams have sold out trying to stop the talented pair. Of late, Draelon Burns have made teams pay for this tactic, but nobody else has been able to step up. They have a revolving door in the paint and at the point and Karron Clarke seems to be the invisible man far too often.

DePaul is a 2-pt home favorite tonight, you get teased often with their ability and look for them to put things together more consistently. The visit from the Irish should bring out a little more fight and a consistent effort on both ends of the floor for the entire 40 minutes. The Irish should be breathing a little fire after their loss to South Florida, but they might be running into a tough situation tonight.

NBE Blogger Prediction: DePaul 69 Notre Dame 66

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Friday, February 02, 2007

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Notre Dame @ South Florida

February 3, 2007

While much of the sports world has its eyes on south Florida, Notre Dame heads to central Florida to meet South Florida. The Irish beat the South Florida Bulls two weeks ago 82-58 in South Bend. Since that loss, the Bulls have looked much better, especially at home, beating Rutgers by 22 points and suffering a heart-breking buzzer-beating loss to Marquette, 70-68, last weekend.

Notre Dame rebounded from their road loss to St. John's with a couple impressive wins over Villanova and Syracuse their last two games out. The win over Syracuse was accomplished without the services of Rob Kurz and was also their first Big East road win in four tries. The Irish can not afford to take their trip to sunny Florida like a vacation, they would be in trouble.

Obviously, the Irish are the better and deeper team. The Bulls are improving as they are getting mid-year additions such as Jesus Verdejo, Kentrell Gransberry and Chris Howard acclimated to playing together with Melvin Buckley, McHugh Mattis, Solomon Bozeman and Melvyn Richardson. The Bulls also have Chris Capko and Abe Saaka available, so they finally have depth.

However, this looks to be Notre Dame's year, finally! The Irish are pulling all the right strings and have everyone playing their roles to near perfection. With five players all capable and ready to score at all times on the floor, this Notre Dame team is playing hard and playing together. This will be a tougher game than the first one, but this is a tougher Notre Dame team than what we have seen in the past.

NBE Blogger Prediction: Notre Dame 75 South Florida 65

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