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What We Learned in Notre Dame’s Double OT Loss to Louisville

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Martin Geben can dunk (we knew that already) and Matt Farrell is back.

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame lost another heart breaker to the Louisville Cardinals last night in double overtime. Here’s what we learned.

Martin Geben is Important, And is Finally Playing with Confidence

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

On the stat line, Martinas Geben had himself a Bonzie Colson-esque performance. 22 points on 10-13 shooting and 17 rebounds is just outstanding. Consider also that 11 of those rebounds came on the offensive end. It’s been said to death, but Notre Dame has all-of-the-sudden become a rebounding team, and Geben has a lot to do with that.

All it took was a bunch of dunks to build up Geben’s confidence in the absence of the injured Bonzie Colson. Last night against Louisville, Geben was also rebounding and showing off some post moves and baby hooks. Here at One Foot Down we’ve called him “The Bird Whisperer”, but I also loved hearing “The Dunking Lithuanian” last night. I’m open to your opinions.

Matt Farrell is Back

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

And the Irish really need him. Farrell is easily Notre Dame’s most complete guard on the offensive side of the ball. He can shoot the deep three, he has a mid-range game, and he can often find creative ways to finish around the rim. He contributed 23 points and eight assists last night.

Additionally, Farrell is probably the only player on the floor that Mike Brey feels comfortable truly letting loose. Farrell pushes the Irish up the floor faster as a result, running the fast break offense as an extension of his coach on the floor. Without Farrell in the lineup, the Irish are forced to be a bit more deliberate. Offensive droughts killed Notre Dame in last night’s loss. Pushing the pace can often be a good way to get the offense going, and if it doesn’t work, Farrell is your best bet at getting a good look.

The Irish are (Injury) Cursed

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, yet another key contributor in the Notre Dame lineup went down with an injury: D.Jj Harvey. I thought at first that it was a non-contact knee injury, which is never good, but apparently it is not a super serious injury. Officially, Harvey is out four weeks with a “bone bruise”.

With Farrell having missed time with a sprained ankle and Colson currently out following surgery on his broken foot, the last thing the Irish needed was another injury. Thankfully this one is not as serious, but it can still screw with your continuity and energy, especially as we get further through the season and closer to March. Throw in the flu affecting Rex Pflueger’s play, and that’s a touch hand to be dealt if you’re Notre Dame.