Notre Dame basketball travels to Chapel Hill in search of their first win in four game, but to beat North Carolina, they need to bring their bigmen.
The Fighting Irish have struggled in two major aspects all season long. Their depth and post play have been their biggest downfalls this year. Even with Bonzie Colson playing like one of the best in the country, Notre Dame can’t rely on their 6’5 forward to control and win the paint in each game.
Against North Carolina, the Irish NEED to bring more than just Colson to their post game. Bad nights from Matt Ryan and Martinas Geben won’t give Notre Dame a chance against the Tar Heels.
For Notre Dame to compete in this game, they need to implement their most underused player, John Mooney. Mooney has only played in 10 games this season, mostly during garbage time for the Irish.
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No one can say if Mooney is a future star. As a freshman forward, he hasn’t proven anything for the Irish yet. As the team’s second-biggest player, though, Mooney is going to be needed against UNC. If Mike Brey thinks his team is going to beat the Tar Heels, a team which consists of four of the best forwards in the country, without using his bigmen, he’s wrong.
At this point in the season, no one can expect Geben and Ryan to suddenly start to dominate the boards. They’ve underperformed all season, and there’s no way they’re going to turn that around against the best post team in the NCAA.
So, it’s time to turn to someone new. Don’t stick Mooney into the starting lineup, but play him. Give him more than garbage time and see how he performs. At this point, he can’t do any worse than the two playing the five spot now. Let him learn alongside Bonzie Colson instead of three spots behind him. It isn’t certain to work, but at this point, it’s worth a shot.
Colson is going to shut down at least one of the Tar Heel’s players. Whether it’s Justin Jackson, Isiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks, or Tony Bradley, he’s going to matchup with one and will win the battle. He’s done it against the best of the best all season. There’s no way that’ll change.
If he has to stop all four of them, though, it’s going to be a problem. That’s why it’s time to try and get him some help. He’s been the lone dog in the post all season, and it worked for awhile. But now, the team is struggling, and the answer may be on the bench.
Give John Mooney a shot. If it works, Brey solves one of Notre Dame’s biggest problems. If it doesn’t, nothing really changes.