West Virginia-Notre Dame is the ultimate take-away, keep-away matchup

In a thrilling midday battle that was close from start to finish, Notre Dame took down No. 12 seed Princeton by a score of 60-58.

With the win the Irish advance to the second round of the tournament where they will face the victor of the West Virginia-Bucknell game later this afternoon. Rather, they have been the norm. Farrell hit two 3-pointers in the opening minutes, then the Irish operated inside for the rest of the half, scoring 28 of their next 30 points in the paint or at the foul line. Notre Dame, the fifth seed in the West, appeared poised to advance in tame fashion, seizing an 11-point lead early in the second half. It took a Rex Pflueger tip in with just 1.5 seconds remaining to push the Irish into the Sweet Sixteen. You saw yesterday first round, close game, we were pretty poised.

The Big 12's Mountaineers and ACC's Fighting Irish both survived tougher-than-expected matchups in the last round, as neither of them covered the spread.

Vasturia connected on a pair of free throws to push Notre Dame's lead back to four points, but then Cook drained a trey from the corner, bringing the Tigers, to within 55-54 with just over three minutes left.

Call it luck, or coincidence, but Notre Dame is still in town for the NCAA Tournament.

No. 4 West Virginia 86, No. 13 Bucknell 80: Nathan Adrian had 12 points and 10 rebounds, leading West Virginia to an 86-80 win over Bucknell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, reported the Associated Press.

Thursday's struggles with Princeton won't faze this Notre Dame team. He is 3-4 in those games. This year's WVU tournament has similarities to the 2010 team that made the Final Four. Colson finished third for Player of the Year honors and teammate Matt Farrell (14.2 ppg, 5.5 apg) also ended up third for Most Improved Player while joining V.J. Beachem (15.0 ppg) and Steve Vasturia (13.3) as honorable mentions following the first, second and third teams.

The 5/12 matchup as everyone knows is prone to producing upsets.

Ang: West Virginia presses a lot, that matchup with them and how hard of an opponent they're going to be? AP photo Notre Dame coach Mike Brey and the rest of the Fighting Irish sweat out the closing moments of Thursday's NCAA basketball tournament first-round game against Princeton. "That something where we need to be better, lock in and get back in our routine". And despite their 14-of-21 showing at the line against Princeton, the Irish are still the nation's No. 1 free-throw shooting team at 79.5 percent.

Style points don't matter this time of year. They're a good team, they have a lot of good movement, but we talked and we communicated. They have a "1" in the only stat that matters in March though - the win column. What's more, the Mountaineers forced more turnovers this year than any team from a power conference in the last 15 years.

None of this is to say that Beachem and Vasturia contributed literally nothing to the game, but I am very confident in saying that they both played very bad games and it almost cost the Irish their season. "We've got to make them play against something different to kind of maybe change their rhythm, since they change your rhythm with full-court pressure". Recent history suggests, however, that even if that is the case, it won't necessarily be easy.

  • Zachary Reyes