Off to the best start in the Brey Era, (16-2, 5-0) Notre Dame has already been turning heads. But what’s led to the success of the Irish?
It’s never easy playing in the ACC especially this season. The ACC is tougher and deeper than any conference in the nation. There’s already talks that the ACC could have as many as 10 teams in this year’s tournament. And as of now, Notre Dame is leading the conference at 5-0.
Those five victories were difficult to come by.
In four of the five wins, Notre Dame was either tied or losing at some point under three minutes left to play. The one exception was Clemson, who pulled it down to one point separating them from the Irish with 2:17 left to play.
Notre Dame has found ways to finish games. Something that will come in handy come March.
The Difference Makers
Two players have stood out on this roster full of talent that seems to have made the difference.
Matt Farrell has easily become the most improved on the team, probably in the conference, and maybe even in the nation. Going from four career starts last year to becoming the key to success this season. 14.1 PPG and 5.4 APG Farrell is doing it all even getting down in the dirt to secure a win.
You can’t look past Steve Vasturia when talking about ND pulling out close wins. It could be the career-best 24 points he put up against No. 9 Louisville including a runner with 19 seconds left. Or the three-pointer with 2.5 seconds to beat Pittsburgh in OT while scoring 10 of the last 12 points. Under 10 seconds Vasturia made the difference once again to help the Irish beat Miami.
Mistake Free Zone
Notre Dame doesn’t turn the ball over very often. In fact the Irish lead the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.85). Known to make the extra pass, when Notre Dame moves the ball they open up the best shot and knock it down. If the game gets down to the wire don’t expect the Irish to miss any free throws, they lead the nation in that too shooting .828.
So how do they win? Well, when you have a unselfish team full of sharpshooters that are smart, bring grit on defense and don’t miss free throws, how do you lose?