DePaul Blue Demons vs. #9 Notre Dame – Thursday, February 3rd, 8 p.m. Central – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
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The Fighting Irish made the trip from South Bend to Rosemont through Snowmageddon 2011 on Tuesday, but can the ninth-ranked Irish make it past the Blue Demons on Thursday night?
On paper, the answer is "Yes". Mike Brey's Notre Dame (17-4, 6-3) squad has some tremendous offensive output and that's firepower that DePaul (6-14, 0-8) will have a difficult time keeping up with.
This is a different Notre Dame team from what DePaul faced the last few years. That team was centered around big man Luke Harangody.
This year's ND team excels at running the pick and roll with Ben Hansbrough (16.5 ppg) at the point.
"They're a good motion offense team," DePaul coach Oliver Purnell told WSCR radio. "They are a team that executes the pick and roll about as good as anybody you'll see all year long. They run Hansbrough off that high pick and roll. That's their bread and butter."
Both teams could show signs of rust in this one. DePaul is coming off a seven day layoff, while Notre Dame has had nine days off between games. The Irish arrived in Chicago on Tuesday night to sit out the blizzard that engulfed the Midwest. The time spent waiting around in hotel rooms coupled with the long layoff could be problematic for the Irish.
All eyes will be watching this game on national television on ESPN, so it will be important for the Blue Demons to put on a good showing for the national audience.
The Blue Demons will try to press Notre Dame and take them out of their rhythm and speed the game up from what ND is accustomed to.
"Against us they will look to attack our pressure and look to get some easy baskets off of that," Purnell said on WSCR. "They also play a little faster for two reasons, they want to and also we'll also force them to play a little faster."
The Irish have been preparing for DePaul's press by putting six defenders out on the floor at the same time to simulate the Blue Demons full court pressure.
Notre Dame reached the number nine spot in the rankings this week due to improved play and a road upset win at Pittsburgh. Some of that improvement can be attributed to the return of Carleton Scott to the lineup following a leg injury. In the Pitt win, Scott scored 16 points including five 3-pointers and nine rebounds.
Notre Dame finally has a healthy Scott Martin on the floor after two seasons off due to his transfer from Valpo and a knee injury last season. Martin is a pure shooter
who is averaging 9.9 ppg. He's also been responsible for setting perfect picks for Hansbrough on their high pick and rolls.
Senior Tim Abromaitis (14.2 ppg) has struggled on the road this season. DePaul had better hope that his stuggles continue.
With the Great Blizzard of 2011 now behind us and as the city begins to dig out in it's aftermath, the Blue Demons would like to dig out of their 20 game conference losing streak with a win over the Irish.
- Notre Dame sophomore forward Mike Broghammer has been sidelined for the rest of the season with tendonitis in both knees.
The Last Time
On January 23rd, 2010 at Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish walked away with a 87-77 win over the Blue Demons. Will Walker led all scorers with 30 points. Devin Hill scored 15 points and Mike Stovall added 14 points in the losing effort for the Blue Demons.
Tim Abromaitis led Notre Dame with 30 points. Luke Harangody racked up a double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds. Ben Hansbrough chipped in with a double-double of 15 points and 10 boards. Tyrone Nash also had a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Notre Dame Roster
No. Name Ht./Wt. Pos. Yr. Hometown/High School
0 Atkins, Eric 6-2/173 Guard FR Columbia, MD/Mount Saint Joseph
1 Nash, Tyrone 6-8/232 Forward SR Queens, NY/Lawrence Woodmere Academy & Northfield Mt. Hermon
5 Kopko, Tom 6-2/187 Guard SR Chicago, IL/St. Laurence
12 Dragicevich, Alex 6-8/215 Guard FR Northbrook, IL/Glenbrook North
14 Martin, Scott 6-8/219 Guard SR Valparaiso, IN/Valparaiso
21 Abromaitis, Tim 6-8/235 Forward G S Unionville, CT/Farmington
22 Grant, Jerian 6-5/185 Guard FR Bowie, MD/DeMatha
23 Hansbrough, Ben 6-3/203 Guard SR Poplar Bluff, MO/Poplar Bluff
25 Knight, Tom 6-10/253 Forward SO Dixfield, ME/Dirigo
32 Brooks, Joey 6-6/215 Guard SO Houston, TX/Strake Jesuit College Prep
33 Broghammer, Mike 6-9/248 Forward SO Orono, MN/Hopkins
34 Scott, Carleton 6-8/218 Forward SR San Antonio, TX/James Madison
45 Cooley, Jack 6-9/244 Forward SO Glenview, IL/Glenbrook South
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