Notre Dame Basketball: Irish Must Fix Porous Defense

By Gregory Philson

Notre Dame once again let a team shoot more than 50 percent from the field after being upset by North Dakota State in South Bend on Wednesday. The Bison also hit on five of its 10 attempts from three and only had eight turnovers. The Irish defense has been the team’s major weakness this season and is the reason why they already have lost three times only 10 games into the season.

The game against the Bison has been a season-long trend, and when ACC play begins in full swing, the Irish could very well ruin their shot of reaching the NCAA tournament despite having an experienced lineup and a very highly-regarded coach in Mike Brey.

In the other two losses for Notre Dame against Indiana State and Iowa, the opposing teams hit on a combined 53 percent (62-of-116) from the field and 51 percent (19-of-37) from 3-point land. This comes down to coaching schemes, hustle and flat-out caring about playing defense. Notre Dame has not displayed the willingness to work hard on defense all season. This is surprising for a team that is usually coached so well.

Notre Dame also does not do anything on defense to throw the opposing teams off of their offensive schemes. The Irish do not dictate the pace with an aggressive defensive set and do not force enough turnovers. Iowa and North Dakota State each only turned the ball over eight times, and winless Cornell only committed 10 turnovers.

The road does not get any easier for Notre Dame in the coming games. The Irish play Indiana, no. 3 Ohio State and no. 8 Duke in three of their next four games. This does not give Notre Dame much time to fix what is wrong on defense. If Notre Dame’s terrible defense continues, the Irish will be on the outside looking in at the other 65 teams in the NCAA tournament field.

Gregory T. Philson is an ACC college basketball writer at Follow him on Twitter @GTPhilson, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.


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