The ACC Big 10 challenge always produces some good match-ups. This year the Irish were paired with Illinois who came in struggling. The 76-74 loss dropped the Illinois Fighting Illini to 2-5 on the year. It was closer than the Notre Dame Fightin Irish would have liked but nonetheless added a notch in the win column. This is what we learned.
Shooting Is Not There
As of right now, Notre Dame is not a good shooting team. They are not consistent shooters and go cold for long stretches of games. For the game, the Irish shot 32% from the behind the arc and just 62% from the foul line. This is what kept Illinois in the game, the poor foul shooting. Notre Dame just could not ice the game at the line. The shooting will be something to keep an eye on going forward. A period of cold shooting against a better team will be devastating.
DJ Harvey Is The Guy
I still believe that when all is said and done, this Notre Dame team will depend on DJ Harvey as their go to scorer. He finished with 19 points in just 26 minutes. I think Mike Brey is still limiting his minutes as he comes back off the knee injury. I want to see Harvey playing 30-35 minutes a game here soon. DJ Harvey has the ability to score with the best of them and is slowing showing it.
Juwan Durham Can Play
This had to be the best game Juwan Durham has played in a Notre Dame uniform. It was even more important as John Mooney fouled out and so the Irish were left with only Durham able to play center. He stepped up in a big way, finishing the game with 10 points, 5 blocks and 4 rebounds. The way Juwan Durham protects the rim makes the Irish defense tough to score on. An active Juwan Durham will drastically improve this team.
Notre Dame is now off until next Tuesday when they will travel to New York City to play Oklahoma in the Jimmy V Classic. Sitting at 6-1 now, the Irish are in a good place. They are not playing their best basketball, but grinding out wins.