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Mar
26
2015

How can Notre Dame beat Kentucky?

Grant

Notre Dame was the 3 seed, Wichita State was the 7 seed, but many folks had the Irish has the underdog. Notre Dame proved yet again there are one the country’s finest offense teams with dizzying array shot-making and passing.

When the Irish’s offense gets going, it is just great to watch. Against the Shockers Notre Dame shot 56% from the field, and 47% from 3 point range. They controlled the game pretty much the entire way against a solid Wichita State team as they marched to the Elite 8. At a minimum the ACC will have 2 Elite 8 teams this year.

What stands between the Irish and the Final 4 is a Kentucky team, that simply destroyed West Virginia. The Halftime score was 44-18 and I’m not sure it was that close. The Mountaineers aren’t a good shooting team, and they caught the normally suspect Wildcat offense on the wrong night. Add that to Kentucky’s stifling defense, and the combination resulted West Virginia being humiliated in the Sweet 16.

I can guarantee you that Notre Dame will shoot better than West Virginia, but how do they beat Kentucky? First if Kentucky shoots like they did against West Virginia, there isn’t much the Irish can do. They don’t have the horses to compete inside, but I don’t expect Kentucky catch fire offensively for a 2nd game.

What does give Notre Dame a chance is that, they are used to being undersized on the interior, and that will certainly be the case against the Wildcats. Notre Dame must shoot well from the perimeter. Shooting at least 40% from 3 is a minimum requirement. Irish guards Jerian Grant and Demetrius Jackson are quick enough to break down Kentucky off the dribble, but they won’t be able to consistently get to the basket. Kentucky is just too big, and their help defense inside is excellent.

There will be a ton of drive and kick opportunities, and Notre Dame must knock down their open jumpers to have any chance.  The Irish pass ball around the perimeter as well as any team in the country, so there will be open shots.

Notre Dame is hopelessly out-manned inside, so there really is no point to try and establish an inside presence. The Irish have to space out the Kentucky defenders hit the outside shot, and hope like crazy the Wildcats aren’t having an offensive night like they did against West Virginia.

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