Notre Dame needs to insert 6″10″ center Tom Knight onto the court more. No, I am not suggesting that Jack Cooley should be benched. Cooley is an important part of the team’s quest to reach the NCAA Tournament and the Final Four. Of course, coach Mike Brey is one of the best in the profession and knows his team better than anyone. This is merely my personal suggestion.
Knight would help take the pressure off of Cooley. He would help shoulder some of the rebounding responsibility. Irish rebounding is currently accomplished through a team effort, with even the guards helping out. Knight averaged 11.6 rebounds during his final high school season, so he certainly is capable.
Plus, Cooley may benefit by having smaller opponents guarding him. Teams would need to keep a big body on Knight. This could provide Cooley with more opportunities for offensive rebounds. He could clean up the glass with put back buckets.
With both Cooley and Knight in the game, Notre Dame may generate more fast break opportunities. There would be two outlet passers to start the breaks. Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant could use their quickness and athletic skills to produce more easy baskets.
Easy baskets would help when the three points shots are not falling. Of course, it takes just one cold shooting game in the NCAA Tournament to send a team home.
With Knight and Cooley in the game together, Notre Dame could clog the lane more easily and force teams to shoot from the outside. This should result in less free throw attempts by opponents. As Cooley and Knight control the boards, Irish guards could get back more quickly to prevent fast breaks.
Certainly, Brey showed last season that he is a master mind at blending talent. If inserting Knight into the starting line up helps team chemistry, Brey will ultimately reach this conclusion.