Notre Dame basketball will face Hampton in the first round of the NIT Tuesday at 9 PM ET
It’s time to move on. The Notre Dame basketball team was snubbed out of the NCAA Tournament Sunday night, but there’s still a trophy to be won. After being named a 1-seed in the NIT, Notre Dame will first be challenged by 8-seed Hampton.
There’s no reason that Notre Dame shouldn’t come out on the winning side of this, but disappointment is motivation’s greatest enemy. There will be a few things Notre Dame will need to do in order to beat Hampton.
Hampton is not a big team. They are undersized and should be no match for Bonzie Colson and Martinis Geben. If those two can dominate the boards, Notre Dame doesn’t even have to necessarily shoot well. The second chance opportunities should be there — and then some.
The Irish find a lot of success when they win the rebounding battle. At the beginning of the season rebounding was the reason for a few losses. When Notre Dame was at its best — or even surprising people — it was when they were owning the boards.
Again, this is a smaller team. Jermaine Marrow averages 18.7 ppg. This is also a team that averages 79.3 ppg. Notre Dame is not a team that wants to get out and light up the scoreboard. They would rather slow the game down and play efficiently.
Hampton is shooting 45.3 percent this season while the Irish are shooting 41.8 percent. Defense well be vital for Notre Dame.
Playing as a mid-major, Hampton has played two Top 25 teams this season. Xavier and Virginia both dominated the Pirates. Xavier held Hampton to 60 points and Virginia held them to just 48 points.
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Comparing the two, Notre Dame’s style more closely resembles Virginia in terms of slowing down the game. They also held the Pirates to just 26 percent shooting. Not that Notre Dame’s defense is of that caliber, but it gives you an idea of what an ACC team can do against Hampton.
Hampton finds a lot of their production from their guards. In return, Notre Dame’s Matt Farrell, Rex Pflueger and Temple Gibbs all have to play well defensively.
Look for head coach Mike Brey to switch between man and his 2-3 zone to confuse Hampton as much as possible.
At the end of the night, Notre Dame should have no problem taking care of business against Hampton.