Top 68 Team Previews: #37 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Mike Brey looks to get Notre Dame back in the NCAA tournament again. (und.com)
By Phill Fattore
Friday, October 5, 2012
Last season 22-10 (9-7)
Key Losses: Mike Scott, Sammy Zeglinski, Assane Sene
Head Coach: Tony Bennett
Projecting Starting Lineup
PG: Jontel Evans 5-11 Sr.
SG: Joe Harris 6-6 Jr.
SF: Paul Jesperson 6-6 So.
PF: Akil Mitchell 6-8 Jr.
C: Mike Tobey 6-11 Fr.
Key Reserves: F Darion Atkins 6-8 So. , F Evan Nolte 6-8 Fr., F Justin Anderson 6-6 Fr.
Tony Bennett has his Cavaliers going in the right direction. Most would think with Mike Scott leaving it would be a down year, but think again as Coach Bennett has brought in a top 25 class and three top 100 prospects. Freshmen Mike Tobey, Justin Anderson and Evan Nolte should make an immediate impact.
Virginia recently came back from an eventful European trip with a 2-3 record. The positives are they played five competitive games and were able to have organized practices when most teams are required limited activity. Coach Bennett tried different lineups mixing in the freshmen which should help with some of the early season learning problems. Don’t expect to see the Wahoo’s keep up the 81.6 ppg avg they had because remember that was a 24 second shot clock and different rules. Expect to see more of the same in pace as they continue one of the slowest in the nation. Frustrating opponents with good defense and patience will continue to be their model this year.
Jontel Evans will lead the team this year with his experience and running the offense. Then, look for a good mix of freshmen to split time with the veterans. They’ll probably play nine men deep this year with numerous lineup changes.
Scheduling will be key for Virginia this year as they could be sitting on the wrong side of the bubble this year. Last year they had way too many push-overs and really hurt their SOS. The difference maker this year could be the Preseason NIT where they will host two games. First will be Fairfield on November 12th and then with a win play winner of Penn/Delaware. Wahoos will need to take care of business here to earn a trip to NYC for the Semis and Finals which will be much tougher competition, but should boost their SOS. Also a game at Wisconsin in the ACC/BIG10 challenge on November 28th and home against Tennessee on December 5th will highlight their non-conference games.