The Lunch: How West Virginia made it over the first obstacle

Cannady's high-arching 3-pointer from the left wing seemed to hang in the air forever as the capacity crowd at KeyBank Center waited in anticipation for the NCAA's annual basketball madness to begin in the very first tournament game. With a strong first pass and a group of players who work together, you tend to find open shots.

"Not many people get a lot of opportunities to play in the NCAA Tournament". "I think the way we play, we do a great job of handling the ball". And I think in this tournament, this nucleus of guys, just feel like as this thing was getting close, well, that's what we did all past year. "I don't know if we shot the ball very well, but, like I said, it's about making adjustments and we did what we had to do to get out of there with a win".

"I'm thrilled about our defense to keep them under 40 percent and really guard the arc", Brey said.

This really isn't something we needed to experience firsthand to be able to identify as true, but when the two departing senior starters and captains play poorly, the team, too, plays poorly. "It doesn't matter how you got there". "Then you have to back it off and run some half-court offense".

The Irish beat Florida State in two subsequent meetings, making just 13 and nine turnovers, respectively.

"He never misses important free throws", Brey said Friday. They're good at it. "They played 11, 12 guys and got up into you".

For essentially the first time this season, we as fans saw BONZIE as human during the ACC Championship game when he rolled his ankle and proved to not be completely impervious to harm. "We would have stitched any other of our guys, but since he's from L.A. and he's into Hollywood, we didn't want to mess his face up".

And against an aggressive press defense like West Virginia's, mental toughness can carry the day. If you hold a team to under 30 from three, you're usually going to come out on top.

Still, the Achilles heel of West Virginia is a slow-paced style of ball, which Notre Dame can effectively conjure. "And it's probably why we won the game". "That really helped us getting him in the lane and getting deep position". And a contested trey that would have put them in front at 0:03. It's amusing how things change when you face an opponent whose never seen anything like it. No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast 80: Dwayne Bacon scored 25 points and Jonathan Isaac added 17 points and 10 rebounds to help the third-seeded Florida State Seminoles hold off No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast 86-80 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament late Thursday night. Because we weren't in a great flow offensively. "If you're asking me would we have picked them?" And we're going to have to be disciplined with that.

Combined with Matt Farrell's first half performance (he was not good in the 2nd half), Pflueger's defense, and Matt Ryan's 9 minutes of solid basketball, Notre Dame was able to endure a bad overall team game and beat a solid-yet-unspectacular team, surviving and advancing (which at the end of the day, is all that matters).

Like most things in Brey's coaching philosophy, the last thing he wants to do is stress his players over the "scary prospect" of handling West Virginia's press. "So I think our thing is, when we get through it, are we looking to attack?" Our thing is when we get through it, are we looking to attack or are we looking to run offense? "I think for myself and V.J., I think we'll bounce back and knock down shots; that's something we've been doing all season".

The second round brought more indigestion for Notre Dame fans as well when it took Notre Dame overtime to dispose of 6th seeded Butler on the way to the Sweet 16.

  • Rogelio Becker