The Virginia Cavaliers seemed to be in control of this game from the very beginning. It was always ran at their pace and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish could never get their offense going. It was an off night for most of the Irish scorers and the final score showed that. The 71-54 loss to Virginia puts Notre Dame at 17-4 overall and 6-2 in the ACC. This is what we learned:
Virginia is a GREAT defensive team
Notre Dame is not the only team that will get shut down this year by Virginia. The Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett is known as one the best defensive coaches in the country. Year in and year out, their defense is near the top in the country. Notre Dame scored a season low 54 points. Irish fans should not be discouraged or worried after this performance. Virginia has his effect on teams. But going forward, I expect the Notre Dame offense to get rolling again.
Dependent on the 3 ball
Against good teams, Notre Dame needs to shoot the ball well from behind the arc. In ACC play, Notre Dame will continue to go up against some of the top teams in the country. Playing a team like Virginia, Notre Dame needs to be better than 3-for-18 from three point land. This bad shooting performance does have to do with the Virginia defense, but the Irish did get a few good looks and just flat out missed them. Chalk this up to an off night.
Irish need V.J. Beachem to win
I have been saying this for a while but V.J. Beachem is the most important offensive player for Notre Dame. When he is going, the whole team seems to feed off his energy and scoring. Bonzie Colson played well, scoring 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Him playing well helps, but it doesn’t seem to carry over to the rest of the team. VJ Beachem is a good player and will have a professional career playing basketball. A player like this needs to have his A game when playing the toughest opponents of the year.
I am not going to overreact to one game. It was definitely not pretty to watch for Irish fans, but the rest of the season is still promising. Being 6-2 in the ACC is a great record and I like where this team is headed. It is important that Notre Dame takes care of business Saturday at Georgia Tech with Duke and North Carolina looming next week.