PPL Park is awesome. Check out the panoramic shot. twitter.com/NDSportsBlogge…— Josh Flynt (@NDSportsBlogger) May 19, 2012
. . . and you thought that Philadelphia's only redeeming quality that it was only a few hours from New York City. For shame.
I said it Wednesday night on a podcast and I still believe it today: I have zero feel on how this one is going to play out. These are two teams of disparate approaches to the game, although the delineated tempo gap is slightly overstated in the overall. Virginia is driven in large part by its offense yet holds an undervalued defense; Notre Dame works in the inverse, allowing its defense to win it games while bringing along an emerging offense. This isn't necessarily a "Something has to give" kind of matchup but rather a "I wouldn't be surprised if a lion ran onto the field and ate all the players" kind of game, mostly due to the fact that I'm willing to believe that anything can happen.
Here are a couple of things to keep an eye on:
- How much can Notre Dame get out of Liam O'Connor against Ryan Benincasa at the dot? The Irish really need to volumize their offense, and if Virginia dominates the whistle -- It's not like the Cavaliers are with the national elite at draws, it's just that Notre Dame isn't all that sharp at the gun -- Virginia could kind of play keep away and keep hammering at that Irish defensive brick.
- Virginia really thrives on Steele Stanwick operating the control panel and fanning the ball out to the offensive deathrays that surround him. Notre Dame doesn't really go for that much, holding opponents to the third lowest defensive assist rate in the nation. Kevin Randall harassing Stanwick all day is a major storyline going into today, but how the rest of the Irish defense controls the Cavaliers' complimentary players is just as important.
- Attention shot clock enthusiasts: Notre Dame-Maryland is a legitimate possibility for Memorial Monday. Sharpen your Internet angst in preparation for the slow down.
This is your open thread for the game. If your dog makes a mess, do the right thing.