The Notre Dame Fighting Irish welcomed the Duke Blue Devils to South Bend and the game played out exactly like the experts predicted. Duke outclassed Notre Dame and ended up winning 83-61. The game was not even that close. Duke was winning 17-2 before I even got a chance to turn on my TV. It was not a pretty sight for Notre Dame fans. Anyway, this is what we learned:
Slow Starts Prove Detrimental
Notre Dame did not get off to a good start against Georgia Tech. They were able to weather the storm and make a game out of that one. That is because Georgia Tech is nowhere near the opponent that Duke is. It was so important that the Irish got off to a quick start. They needed to show Duke that they were there to play and it was not going to be a rollover game. Well, after going ice cold and falling behind 17-2, it was a rollover.
More About Duke
I honestly think we did not learn much about Notre Dame from this game. We knew they struggle offensively and are extremely young. The Irish just do not match up talent wise to the top of the ACC this year. This game was about Duke flexing their muscles and showing they are clearly the better team. It was impressive to watch Duke come in and take over the game right from the first tip. That is what good teams do.
TJ Gibbs Mystery Goes On
The way TJ Gibbs has kind of fallen under my radar this year. I have been focused on the freshman and DJ Harvey coming back from injury. I think the missing piece to T.J. Gibbs game is another backcourt mate who can shoot the ball. Last year he had Matt Farrell who defenses needed to keep their eye on. Gibbs is not the type of player to take over a game. It seems he needs other players around him who can make defenses feel uncomfortable. TJ Gibbs has not had a great year but I believe his will shine again when Prentiss Hubb / Dane Goodwin take their next step.
Notre Dame is now 11-10 and 1-7 in ACC play. The good news is that they got Virginia and Duke out of the way. The Irish will now play 4 of their next 5 games against unranked opponents. This is the time to show they’ve learned a thing of two this season and to get some wins.