Deep 3 with T.O.: Keys to the Game vs. Notre Dame

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Deep 3 with T.O.: Keys to the Game vs. Notre Dame

The Irish walk into Littlejohn with the second-best offense in the ACC. Mike Brey is known around coaching circles for giving his players a lot of freedom to make decisions on offense and he has four players averaging 11.8 ppg or more to show for it. They are filled to the brim with good outside shooters and have one of the best players in the country that no one talks about in John Mooney. Defensively, Notre Dame varies it up quite a bit with full-court pressure, half-court zone and man to man. Their guards are talented and can score in bunches especially when the game tempo is fast which brings me to my first key to the game...


TJ Gibbs and Prentiss Hubb are scoring 14.3 and 12.2 ppg respectively. Both players do most of their damage when they have a head of steam going to the basket. Notre Dame is second in the league in tempo and has a better chance at being stopped with a set defense in front of them. If Clemson can keep the game at a slower pace, Brownell and company should be able to put the defense in position to get stops. It’s worth noting that Hubb has been significantly better on the road this season than he has been at home. John Mooney is going to get his numbers, but if the Tigers slow down Hubb and Gibbs, I like their chances.


Notre Dame switches up defense quite a bit to keep people off balance. During their game against Georgia Tech, the Irish showed four different defenses with a match up 2-3, triangle and 2, full-court 1-2-1-1, and basic man to man. Clemson just needs to run their offense no matter what is thrown at them. The Tigers can’t let the change in defenses get them out of their rhythm. If Clyde Trapp and Al-Amir Dawes are able to get the offense moving without getting stagnant, the Tigers will get plenty of open looks.


The two biggest problems that Notre Dame has on defense is their inability to guard the dribble and the fact that they over-help in the paint. Teams that have had the ability to make good decisions once they get in the paint get WIDE OPEN looks. Al-Amir Dawes has shown flashes this season of being able to get into the paint and find open shooters and Clyde Trapp is finally getting into the paint to finish. Another part of this is Aamir Simms decision making in the post. He will need to score a few baskets inside, then the Irish dig down to disrupt the ball. This is one of Simms best strengths, passing out of the post. The Tigers should have plenty of opportunities to have a field day from 3.

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER for real-time reactions and analysis from my twitter handle @COACHTO22

Also, be sure to give my podcast a listen. I’ll talk Clemson/ACC hoops and give more in-depth looks ahead to future opponents. Click the link below!


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