Notre Dame Basketball Report: Another Week of Tuneups with Spartans Looming

Heading into their third week of action, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are still awaiting their first stiff challenge of the season. Currently ranked 13th in the nation, the Irish have pretty much been able to play on cruise control during this early portion of the 2017-18 campaign.

That situation won’t likely change over the next five weeks of non-conference action, though there are a few potential stumbles for Mike Brey’s squad. In the meantime, getting some of the new players integrated into the system and offering rarely-used reserves to get some time on the court figures to be the likely course of action.

Notre Dame Basketball Week in Review

Facing a team like Chicago State at Purcell Pavilion wasn’t likely to elicit a great deal of concern, given the vast disparity when it comes to talent on both sides. Fans that came into this game with that mindset had their opinions validated when the Irish came away with an easy 105-66 victory.

The ease was best represented by the fact that that Notre Dame led from start to finish, reaching the century mark and holding Chicago State to just 36 percent shooting from the field. By halftime, it was clear that the rout was on, with the Irish holding a commanding 56-29 advantage.

The good news that comes out of what might ordinarily be a ho-hum early-season bashing is that Notre Dame was able to take care of business early. The win allowed them to reach the 3-0 mark on the season for the fourth consecutive year. Handling things in this manner helps avoid the needless concern that inevitably bubbles up when things like motivation come under closer scrutiny.

Standouts of the Week

Bonzie Colson

Had the game against Chicago State been closer, Colson would have collected yet another double-double. Playing just 24 minutes, he still managed to score 15, haul down nine boards and also swat away five shots. He made the most of his shot attempts, connecting on 7-of-10 from the field.

Matt Farrell

Honing his edge on both sides of the ball, Farrell topped Colson in the scoring department with 18 points. In addition, he managed to grab five rebounds, collect five steals and dish out four assists. Like Colson, he was yanked relatively early, seeing only 27 minutes of action.

T.J. Gibbs

Gibbs continues to show that he’ll be an integral part of the Irish squad this season after leading the team with 23 points against Chicago State. His shot was in good form, making all four of his two-point shot attempts and connecting on 4-of-7 when it came to the long-range variety.

D.J. Harvey

The freshman offered up the first inkling that he has the potential to follow in the footsteps of Notre Dame legend Adrian Dantley, who also played at DeMatha High School. Harvey’s 16 points in 22 minutes, coupled with four rebounds and a pair of assists, are notable, even if the opposition might be considered suspect.

Notre Dame Basketball’s Week Ahead

Spending time in Hawaii is a dream for many people, but the Irish won’t have too much time to enjoy things with three games in the Maui Invitational on the schedule. Things tip off on Monday night with a victory over Chaminade, a school that was forever immortalized in the early 1980’s when they stunned the Ralph Sampson-led Virginia Cavaliers.

Obviously, drastic changes have taken place in the ensuing decades, but even with hometown fans cheering on Chaminade, Notre Dame  avoided looking ahead to their Tuesday clash. That meeting will come against LSU, who took down Michigan following Notre Dame’s win over Chaminade.

Wednesday’s opponent is currently undetermined, depending on how Notre Dame fares tonight. However, it will be one of the following four schools that round out the tournament’s teams: California, Marquette, VCU or Wichita State.

Once those games are completed, Brey and his squad will have a full week to prepare to face the Michigan State Spartans. That matchup is likely to be their stiffest competition until ACC action kicks off on December 30.

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  1. Every year we (my wife, my mother and I) go to the closest game to our anniversary over Christmas vacation. This year there is one on the 21st of December…the eve of our anniversary. I love that December game…but I won’t really start thinking about it until after Stanford. Any way, this year my wife can’t actually go to the game because of a recent surgery (she’ll stay with my mother at her house in SB) …so I’ll go with my brother.

    If we get a Cotton Bowl bid I may go to that one if we get an interesting opponent…I have another brother who lives in Austin…and that reduces some of the cost (he pays for a lot of stuff when we go down there for a football game).

    BGC ’77 ’82

  2. Harvey is way better than Bechem was. His shot is much more consistent and has better arch. This guy is going to be something.

    1. I agree. Beachem always had potential, but he had a bad habit of “disappearing” when the team needed him most. He was too often a nonfactor. Harvey looks like he’s going to be a great player.

  3. It’s good to see so many reserves getting playing time. Not just for the experience, which is important, but also to rest the starters. Once the season starts there won’t be much time to rest them and ND has had issues in the past with some player fatigue because they play long minutes.

    ND again has multiple players that can shine. One night it might be Colson, the next night Farrell. TJ Gibbs had a great game against the Blue Demons. Any one of them can be a dominant force at any time. As they play more games they’ll continue to improve. I have high hopes for this team this year. They have great starters and some guys that can contribute off the bench too.

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