Notre Dame (9-3) looks to end the non-conference slate on the right note.
Notre Dame Men’s Basketball has already had a season full of ups, downs and different forms of adversity packed into the first 12 games. From bringing in the youngest team of Mike Brey’s tenure to most recently losing senior Rex Pflueger for the season.
Through it all, the Irish now look the strongest they have all season. Perfect timing, with one more tune-up game before the start of ACC play coming on New Year’s Day.
Even in the three losses this season, Notre Dame looks like a team that has continued to get better. Come March, there will be a conversation in how their three losses were by a combined 11-points. Two of those games were decided by one possession.
Notre Dame’s last non-conference opponent, Coppin State, shouldn’t provide much push back. The Eagles are winless at 0-14 and their games haven’t been close. Their opponents have outscored them by 24.6 points per game.
Coppin State hasn’t found a rhythm shooting all season. While attempting 362 three-pointers — a number that ranks in the top 20 in the country — they are shooting at only a 25 percent clip from beyond the arc.
The Eagles are about as far from Notre Dame as they can be in the turnover department. With the Irish being the efficient team Brey always leads, they rank fifth in the country with the least amount of turnovers.
Notre Dame won’t make many mistakes. Coppin State, on the other hand, will give you as many second chances as you wish. Only two other teams in the country turn the ball over more than the Eagles.
In Notre Dame’s last game versus Jacksonville, Brey used the opportunity to experiment some. He went big to start the game with both John Mooney and Juwan Durham in the starting line up. It was also a breakout game for Dane Goodwin with 19-points on a night the Irish dropped 100.
If Brey wishes, this will be the last time to experiment this season before the schedule gets immensely more difficult with No. 10 Virginia Tech looming only three days later.
For now, Brey and the Irish will keep their focus on Coppin State with a noon tip-off inside the Purcell Pavilion on Saturday.