Basketball Scouting Report: Notre Dame

Army and Notre Dame are playing on a November weekend, you say? No, this isn't a football game at Yankee Stadium. It's a basketball game in South Bend. It's also one of the big events on the Army basketball calendar in 2013. How well will coach Zach Spiker's team perform against a big-name opponent? Army basketball fans can't wait to find out.


NOTRE DAME AT-A-GLANCE

Army gets one of its toughest opponents of the season when it travels to take on the 2-1 Fighting Irish on Sunday.

As a team that expects to compete in the ACC and go to the NCAA tournament this season, the Irish should present a number of challenges to Army.

Starting Lineup

Center – Garrick Sherman –
Senior, 6-11, 255; 2013-14: 7.3 points per game, 6 rebounds per game

Sherman made a name for himself with valuable minutes in a five-overtime win versus Louisville last season. He's predominantly a rebounder and rim protector for Notre Dame, but he can unleash an effective six-foot baby hook shot. His size and width will be very hard for Army to handle.

Forward – Austin Burgett – Sophomore, 6-9, 227; 2013-14: 5.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg

The lone underclassman in the Irish starting five, Burgett has served as a defensive presence. He brings very little to the table offensively and attempts fewer than four shots per game. Army has to account for his length as a defender. The Black Knights will need to attack the rim with prudence if Burgett is standing in the paint, trying to deny dribble penetration.

Guard – Eric Atkins – Senior, 6-2, 182; 2013-14: 12 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 5 apg

Atkins has been solid to this point of the season, moving the ball and getting others involved on offense. He's third on the team in shooting percentage and has been a very potent perimeter shooter.

Guard – Pat Connaughton – Junior, 6-5, 214; 2013-14: 12.3 ppg, 7 rpg, 2.7 apg

Connaughton does a little bit of everything as one of the more well-rounded players on the Irish team. While Grant and Atkins demand a lot of the attention, Connaughton can't be overlooked. He could produce a flurry of three-point shots that will leave Army in trouble.

Guard – Jerian Grant – Senior, 6-5, 203; 2013-14: 19.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 5.3 apg

The scoring leader for the Irish in his senior season, Grant has been great at taking care of the ball as well, averaging an assist/turnover ratio of over 3-to-1. He's probably Notre Dame's key player in this matchup, the one who must demand more attention from Army than anyone else in the Irish's starting five.

Keys to the Game

1) Protect the three-point line.
The Irish shoot over 40 percent from three-point range as a team. Given Army's struggles from that area, Army can't afford to let the Irish get open looks behind the arc.

2) Win the turnover battle. Army has been much sloppier with the ball than Notre Dame has been. The Black Knights can't expect to stay in the game for 40 minutes if they give the Irish extra possessions. Army needs to try to not only limit turnovers, but specifically the live-ball turnovers that become run-outs and easy baskets for an opponent at the other end of the floor.

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