Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: Breaking down Notre Dame’s attack


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After a demolishing victory over the West Virginia Mountaineers, all eyes are set on Saturday night as the Midwest Region Championship will be played between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for a ticket to the Final Four on the line. The headlines over the next two days will all be very similar. Can Notre Dame beat Kentucky? How can Notre Dame beat Kentucky? Gosh, it’s like the media wants us to lose.

So does Notre Dame have a chance against the Wildcats, who doubled the score against a good West Virginia team 78-39? Of course, every team has a chance, but how realistic is it? The purpose of this piece today is to break down the possible advantages that the Fighting Irish could have against Kentucky, and determining how close of a game this could actually be.

The game will be a battle between the nations best shooting defense, holding opponents field goals to around 32%, and the nations most efficient offense, a team shooting percentage of 51%. The Irish get it done the way that every team should. Their ball movement is as beautiful as any team in the country, which frees up space for open looks, and knock in an impressive amount of threes. There are five Notre Dame players that have made at least 40 three pointers on the season, and since the beginning of the ACC Tournament they have five players averaging over ten points per game as well.

Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The catalyst is senior point guard and All-American Jerian Grant, who had eleven assists in their victory over Wichita State. Grant runs the offense, and gives up an impressive scoring ability in order to get his fellow teammates involved, a sure cause of the incredible efficiency that Notre Dame has on offense. The Irish had four players score at least 15 points and Jerian Grant was not one of them. Team captain Pat Connaughton averages 12 points on 47% shooting, Demetrius Jackson had 20 last night and shoots 51%, and Zach Auguste is perhaps the best shooter on the team. They have multiple weapons that can attack you at any given time on any given night.

Their bigs aren’t really big, strong presences as the ones Kentucky have. They do get many open looks and open lanes to the rim, however, because of Notre Dame’s ball movement. Teams such as Georgia have shown that the Cats can be vulnerable to good ball movement that leads to open looks. Is it enough to beat Kentucky though? Sorry America, but the Cats are looked beyond good against West Virginia, and will for sure carry the momentum into the Elite Eight, and more than likely move into the Final Four and remain perfect.

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