Greensboro Preview: Duke vs Lehigh, Notre Dame vs Xavier

The following 2 games take place in Greensboro on Friday night. The first game tips at 7:15 with the second about a half hour after. Both will be televised on CBS. There is only 1 conference tournament champion in the group. That happens to be the 15 seed, Lehigh. There are a lot of different styles at play here. Kind of like how there are a lot of different styles in the previews on this site. It’s what makes this site great, and what makes the tournament great. Let’s get on with it.

 

Game 1

7:15 pm

(2) Duke Blue Devils vs (15) Lehigh Mountain Hawks

Announcers: Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg, with Tracy Wolfson

Spread check: Duke by 12

 

Duke Blue Devils 27-6

Seed: 2

How They Got Here: ACC At Large

Ken Pom Offense: 9

Ken Pom Defense: 62

Top 4 Scorers

  1. Austin Rivers 15.4
  2. Seth Curry 13.4
  3. Ryan Kelly 11.8
  4. Mason Plumlee 10.9

Top 4 Rebounders

  1. Mason Plumlee 9.1
  2. Miles Plumlee 7.15
  3. Ryan Kelly 5.4
  4. Austin Rivers 3.4

Top 3 Assists

  1. Seth Curry 82
  2. Austin Rivers 70
  3. Tyler Thornton 63

Top 3 Turnovers

  1. Austin Rivers 77
  2. Mason Plumlee 70
  3. Seth Curry 68

Top 3 Steals

  1. Seth Curry 42
  2. Austin Rivers 33
  3. Tyler Thornton 28

Top 3 Blocks

  1. Mason Plumlee 52
  2. Miles Plumlee 32
  3. Ryan Kelly 31

Top 3 Possession %

  1. Austin Rivers 23.9
  2. Mason Plumlee 22.4
  3. Seth Curry 21.8

Top 3 Offensive Rating

  1. Ryan Kelly 120
  2. Miles Plumlee 117.8
  3. Andre Dawkins 115.9

Top 3 Effective FG %

  1. Miles Plumlee 61.2
  2. Andre Dawkins 55.6
  3. Mason Plumlee 55.6

Top 3 Offensive Rebound %

  1. Miles Plumlee 17.3
  2. Mason Plumlee 11.8
  3. Ryan Kelly 8.1

Top 3 Defensive Rebound %

  1. Mason Plumlee 24.5
  2. Miles Plumlee 22.6
  3. Ryan Kelly 15.3

 

Duke started the season off with some tight wins over tournament teams Belmont, Davidson, Michigan State, Michigan and Kansas before getting the doors blown off by Ohio State. They added a win over Colorado State, which got the Blue Devils rolling for the next 5 games. They took a second non-conference loss in a neutral site game in Philadelphia against Temple. That sent Duke into a funk. While they won their next 4, they were all tight games against the bottom half of the league. Duke got Snare’d by Florida St, which seemed to wake them up. They got caught on Super Bowl Sunday against Miami in overtime at home. Duke looked like they were going to lose 2 in a row until Austin Rivers went Austin Rivers against UNC. Besides a furious rally to beat NC State, Duke played some of their best ball the next 4 games, which included a win over Florida State. The bad habits creeped back as Duke had closer than expected games against Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. Duke paid for that by getting hammered at home against UNC in the regular season finale. Duke held off Virginia Tech in their first ACC tournament game before bowing out to Florida State.

 

Lehigh Mountain Hawks 26-7

Seed: 15

How They Got Here: Patriot League Champions

Ken Pom Offense: 81

Ken Pom Defense: 102

Top 4 Scorers

  1. CJ McCollum 21.9
  2. Gabe Knutson 12.1
  3. Holden Greiner 10
  4. Mackey McKnight 8.3

Top 4 Rebounders

  1. CJ McCollum 6.5
  2. Gabe Knutson 5.5
  3. Holden Greiner 4.9
  4. John Adams 3.5

Top 3 Assists

  1. Mackey McKnight 118
  2. CJ McCollum 117
  3. Corey Schaefer 40

Top 3 Turnovers

  1. CJ McCollum 73
  2. Mackey McKnight 57
  3. Gabe Knutson 46

Top 3 Steals

  1. CJ McCollum 87
  2. Mackey McKnight 34
  3. Holden Greiner 30

Top 3 Blocks

  1. Holden Greiner 19
  2. CJ McCollum 18
  3. Gabe Knutson 16

Top 3 Possession %

  1. CJ McCollum 32
  2. Gabe Knutson 23.8
  3. Holden Greiner 19.2

Top 3 Offensive Rating

  1. CJ McCollum 116.7
  2. Gabe Knutson 115.4
  3. John Adams 111.2

Top Effective FG %

  1. John Adams 58.2
  2. Justin Marneri 53.3
  3. Holden Greiner 52.5

Top 3 Offensive Rebound %

  1. Justin Maneri 10.5
  2. Gabe Knutson 10.4
  3. John Adams 5.2

Top 3 Defensive Rebound %

  1. John Adams 18.2
  2. Holden Greiner 17.8
  3. CJ McCollum 17.7

 

Lehigh started the season off with a couple of tough losses to St John’s and Iowa State before running off a nice winning streak. They would lose to Cornell by 2 before running off 3 more wins. Lehigh was up on Michigan State at the half before getting overpowered in the second half. Lehigh started conference play off 2-2. The Hawks hit their stride, winning 9 of 10. The last 5 included the Patriot League Tournament.

 

How they stack up based on conference stats

Duke has played at 68 possessions, Lehigh a little slower at 66. Duke had the best offense in the ACC at 1.12 points per possession. Lehigh averaged 1.09 in Patriot League play. Defensively, Lehigh gave up 0.94 ppp, Duke 1.02. 3 pointers are something to watch. Duke took the most in the ACC and made nearly 36%. They gave up the fewest attempts and makes defensively. Lehigh took over 320 triples, making 35.5%. They gave up 286 attempts and 36% defensively. That could be a problem against Duke. Free throws are also something to watch. Lehigh gave up free throws at the lowest rate in the Patriot, Duke shot them at the second highest rate in the ACC. Rebounding is not a great spot for either team. Duke offensive rebounds well, but Lehigh got 72.4% of the defensive rebounds in Patriot League action. Neither team turned the ball over much, both lowest marks in their league, but Lehigh forced turnovers on nearly 23% of possessions. 12.1% of those were steals.

 

Game 2 9:40 pm (estimated)

(7) Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs (10) Xavier Musketeers

Spread check: Notre Dame -2.5

Notre Dame Fighting Irish 22-11

Seed: 7

How They Got Here: Big East At Large

Ken Pom Offense: 52

Ken Pom Defense: 59

Top 4 Scorers

  1. Jack Cooley 12.4
  2. Jerian Grant 12.3
  3. Eric Atkins 12.2
  4. Scott Martin 9.5

Top 4 Rebounders

  1. Jack Cooley 9
  2. Scott Martin 5.6
  3. Pat Connaughton 4.5
  4. Eric Atkins 3.2

Top 3 Assists

  1. Jerian Grant 162
  2. Eric Atkins 128
  3. Scott Martin 52

Top 3 Turnovers

  1. Eric Atkins 67
  2. Jerian Grant 61
  3. Scott Martin 51

Top 3 Steals

  1. Jerian Grant 43
  2. Eric Atkins 40
  3. Scott Martin 30

Top 3 Blocks

  1. Jack Cooley 51
  2. Tom Knight 15
  3. Scott Martin 12

Top 3 Possession %

  1. Jack Cooley 22.1
  2. Jerian Grant 21.1
  3. Eric Atkins 20.6

Top 3 Offensive Rating

  1. Jack Cooley 122.6
  2. Jerian Grant 111.3
  3. Pat Connaughton 109.3

Top 3 Effective FG %

  1. Jack Cooley 61.2
  2. Pat Connaughton 51.8
  3. Alex Dragicevich 50.2

Top 3 Offensive Rebound %

  1. Jack Cooley 16.9
  2. Joey Brooks 5.6
  3. Pat Connaughton 4.9

Top 3 Defensive Rebound %

  1. Jack Cooley 20.2
  2. Pat Connaughton 17.1
  3. Scott Martin 16.2

 

Notre Dame started off the season with their best player, Tim Abromaitis, suspended the first 4 games. The Irish won all 4, including a 6 point win over tournament team Detroit. Abromaitis returned for a tournament in Kansas City. The Irish were throttled by Missouri and lost to Georgia. Abromaitis tore his ACL that Friday. The Irish struggled finding their footing without him for good, losing to Gonzaga and Maryland, as well as Indiana. Notre Dame opened Big East play by throttling Pittsburgh. They took a beating at Cincinnati, but bounced back by beating Louisville in double overtime. A win over USF followed. The Irish took a pair losses to Connecticut and Rutgers before their season turned around. Notre Dame shot 50%, 54% in the first half, in handing Syracuse it’s only regular season loss. The Irish beat tournament teams Connecticut, Marquette and West Virginia (twice) as part of a 9 game winning streak, their longest in Big East history. Notre Dame finished the season on a rocky note, losing 3 of 5.

 

Xavier Musketeers 21-12

Seed: 10

How They Got Here: A-10 At Large

Ken Pom Offense: 69

Ken Pom Defense: 63

Top 4 Scorers

  1. Tu Holloway 17
  2. Mark Lyons 15.5
  3. Dez Wells 10.2
  4. Kenny Frease 9.5

Top 4 Rebounders

  1. Kenny Frease 6.1
  2. Andre Walker 5.8
  3. Dez Wells 4.9
  4. Travis Taylor 4

Top 3 Assists

  1. Tu Holloway 159
  2. Mark Lyons 83
  3. Andre Walker 62

Top 3 Turnovers

  1. Tu Holloway 93
  2. Mark Lyons 64
  3. Kenny Frease 63

Top 3 Steals

  1. Tu Holloway 48
  2. Mark Lyons 40
  3. Andre Walker 27

Top 3 Blocks

  1. Kenny Frease 37
  2. Andre Walker 29
  3. Jeff Robinson 16

Top 3 Possession %

  1. Tu Holloway 25.2
  2. Mark Lyons 24.9
  3. Kenny Frease 24.2

Top 3 Offensive Rating

  1. Tu Holloway 111.3
  2. Brad Redford 108.9
  3. Dez Wells 108.2

Top 3 Effective FG %

  1. Jeff Robinson 57.1
  2. Dez Wells 56
  3. Brad Redford 53.6

Top 3 Offensive Rebound %

  1. Travis Taylor 11.4
  2. Jeff Robinson 10.1
  3. Kenny Frease 9.7

Top 3 Defensive Rebound %

  1. Kenny Frease 18.9
  2. Travis Taylor 17.4
  3. Dez Wells 15.5

 

Xavier started the season with lofty expectations. They were ranked in the top 20 and thought of to be a national contender. They looked the part as they started the season 8-0. That included a comeback win in overtime at Vanderbilt, a dramatic second half comeback against Purdue and a 23 point win over Cincinnati. As you all know, there was a fight between the Bearcats and Musketeers. Tu Holloway (1 game), Mark Lyons (2) and Dez Wells (4) received suspensions. The Musketeers were blown out by Oral Roberts, lost to Long Beach State and lost in overtime to Hawaii. Following a win over Southern Illinois, Xavier lost to Gonzaga and their A-10 opener to LaSalle. Xavier bounced back some with 4 straight wins over the bottom of the league, but were handled by Dayton and lost to St Louis. Xavier won at Charlotte and George Washington before alternating losses and wins. There was no shame in the losses, at Memphis, at Temple, at UMass, at St Louis, but there was shame in the fact Xavier blew a big lead at Memphis and got blown out by the other 3. Xavier closed the regular season with a win over Charlotte. They beat Dayton in a dramatic game in the A-10 tournament, then followed that by beating St Louis. The Muskies ran out of steam in the title game, losing to St Bonaventure.

 

How they stack up based on conference stats

Notre Dame played the second slowest pace in the Big East at 61 possessions. Xavier played one of the faster paces in the A-10 at 68. Notre Dame averaged 1.04 ppp offensively and gave up 0.98 defensively. Xavier was a little better offensively, 1.05, but gave up 1.01 defensively. Both teams were middle of the pack shooting percentage wise, and in the upper half defensively. Both are also above average at the foul line. Xavier had a much better rate than the Irish, 38-32.2, but Notre Dame held teams to a 25.3 rate, the best in the Big East. Notre Dame’s offense revolves around the 3. They attempted 371, the 3rd most in the Big East. They hit 31.5%. Xavier attempted 231, the second lowest in the A-10, making 36.4%. On the flip side, Xavier allowed 344 attempts at 33.4% , Notre Dame 275 for a Big East best 25.5%. Expect Notre Dame to not get a lot of second chance opportunities. The Irish pulled in just 32.1% of their misses, while Xavier got 71.2% of the defensive rebounds. Neither team turns the ball over a lot, Notre Dame is a little more careful with the ball, and neither defense is a turnover machine.

Scott

About Scott

I write Bearcats Blog and also on the Student Section.

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