"Matchup" game might favor Notre Dame this time
Is Florida State the dreaded "bad matchup" for Notre Dame?
Notre Dame coach Mike Brey doesn't buy the biggest criticism of his team -- that it relies too heavily on the three-point shot. And he doesn't buy the second biggest criticism,either -- that the Irish are susceptible to a bad matchup.
"I don't know [if that's an accurate criticism]. It wasn't in the Big East," Brey told me Saturday at the United Center. "I think everybody is susceptible. That's just an easy thing to say on Selection Sunday."
The Irish lost five games in the regular season, all of them by 12 points or more. They lost to Kentucky 72-58 at Freedom Hall in Louisville; at Syracuse 70-58; at Marquette 79-57; and at St. John's 72-54. They also beat Marquette 80-75 at home and beat St. John's 76-61 at home.
"I would love to have had Carleton Scott for two of those," Brey said, referring to the road losses to Marquette and St. John's when Scott did not play because of a hamstring injury.
"But we don't even talk about that. We don't want to talk about that. We don't want to talk ourselves into anything. We really respect [Florida State] defensively. But what's lost in this is our offense vs. their defense.
"They're a better offensive team than everybody [thinks]. And we're a better defensive team than everybody thinks."
In other words, there's a flip side to the "bad matchup" angle that can't be overlooked, at least not at this juncture he NCAA tournament: Notre Dame is a tough matchup for Florida State as well.
"Yes, because we're so different offensively as far as inverting our big guys and moving people around," Brey said. "It's kind of hard to prepare for us. And again, it's paid dividends in the Big East. We're such a different style of play. And we're going to have to change gears with [the Seminoles]. These are crazy matchups now. I just like us to kind of see if we can be in the rhythm we were in the second 20 minutes [against Akron] more than the first 20 minutes, because we're going to have to be really good to beat them."
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