Monday, January 5, 2009

Guest blogger: Ray Floriani's pregame notes on ND

We're setting a breath-taking pace here on H.P., as this marks the fifth post in five days to start the new year. Don't expect us to keep it up!

Ray Floriani sent along a short note ahead of tonight's game with Notre Dame with some observations of St. John's upset of the Irish on Saturday.

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – I covered Notre Dame-St. John’s at the Garden on Saturday and have a few notes on the Hoyas’ opposition tonight.

Perimeter oriented. The Irish saw 27% of their field goal attempts come from beyond the arc. They shot 4 of 17 from downtown, thanks to good, solid perimeter defense by the Red Storm. Paris Horne did a nice job on ND’s Kyle McAlarney, forcing him into a 10 point afternoon (4 of 12 from the floor and 1 of 5 from three).

Game Plan. St. John’s coach Norm Roberts saw on film that Luke Harangody is an outstanding passer out of the low post double team. Roberts decided to play Harangody straight up with Justin Burrell. Harangody scored 28 (12 of 24 from the field) but worked for virtually everything. In fact, the only uncontested field goal he had was on a screen and roll where St. John’s failed to switch.

Pace. In their win over DePaul on New Year’s Eve, the Irish pushed the tempo to a 72 possession contest. St. John’s got them into a 67 possession contest which was more to the Red Storm’s liking.

Caring for the ball. Mike Brey’s club does not commit a great deal of turnovers and handled any St. John’s 2-2-1 pressure well. Against DePaul, ND had a 13% TO rate and on Saturday it was 16%. Both great numbers.

Harangody. A great player, the ND star has size at 6-8 255-pounds yet is agile as a swing man fifty pounds lighter. Harangody can power you inside or put it on the floor and use an assortment of post moves. He has outstanding footwork and is a seemingly tireless competitor. Can’t say Hoya fans will enjoy watching him but they will admire him.

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