Well, that ends a tough week. For just the second time this season, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are on a losing streak after falling 62-60 to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on the road. The loss is Notre Dame’s first against an unranked opponent this season, all though the Yellow Jackets (who took down Florida State earlier this week) are no cakewalk.
Here is what we learned from Saturday’s deflating defeat:
The Irish have tasted their own medicine, and it is bitter!
This isn’t supposed to happen! For much of this season, it was the Irish who found a way to steal a win in the game’s final seconds. The tables were turned on Saturday as Georgia Tech secured the rebound off a missed jumper from Matt Farrell. The outlet pass to Josh Okogie resulted in a game-winning layup as time expired, sending McCamish Pavilion into a frenzy.
It may not be fair as fans, but it is hard to find the Irish in a situation like this late in the game and not expect them to pull out a win. They simply couldn’t get the job done on Saturday in a situation where they usually excel. VJ Beachem and Matt Farrell had opportunities to provide the dagger with three-pointers in the closing minutes, but couldn’t connect from long range. Now, it will be a long flight home for Mike Brey and co.
Notre Dame in an offensive slump?
It was without a doubt a sloppy affair when the Irish were crushed by Virginia on Tuesday, but given the reputation of the Cavaliers’ defense, the 54 points scored by the Irish wasn’t too concerning. However, after scoring just 60 points on Saturday against a weaker defense, it is becoming apparent that the Irish may have lost their way a bit on the offensive end.
Beachem and Farrell actually shot the ball very well from beyond the arc, aside from the most needed ones in the closing minutes. After being silenced by Virginia, Beachem poured in 23 points on Saturday in the losing effort. But while Beachem bounced back, Steve Vasturia struggled, posting his least productive game of the season with just five points on 1-7 shooting. Farrell struggled a bit from the floor as well, connecting on just five of his 14 field goal attempts.
The largest concern would be the free throw shooting, which really turned out to be the difference in this game. The Irish, who have been known as one of the best teams in the country from the charity stripe, converted on just 63.6% of their free throws. In a conference like the ACC, taking advantage of free throw attempts is a must when you are likely to find yourself in close games down the stretch. Most of the free throw trouble came from Austin Torres and Bonzie Colson, but I would expect them to rebound in time to greet Duke on Monday.
Thanks to the crazy ACC, this loss is slightly more bearable
This is absolutely a tough loss. All conference road games are tough, but you always want to record wins against unranked opponents. However, after seeing how the rest of the conference fared on Saturday, it is a little easier to swallow the loss.
Miami throttled first place North Carolina at home. Syracuse downed Florida State at home, and Duke did not seem to find an energy boost after coach K’s tirade, as they struggled with Wake Forest. Upsets of this nature are bound to happen in a conference of this caliber. That being said, this will be a huge week for the Irish to get back on track before a frustrating week turns into a long-term state of panic.