|The scene now shifts to the "City That Never Sleeps." From: AEG Worldwide|
But first, some music! Of course, considering the locale, there can be only one choice: "No Sleep Til Brooklyn" by the Beastie Boys. Enjoy!
With beats now ringing through the ears, let's get down to brass tacks. Interestingly enough, the Buffs have never played Notre Dame in men's basketball before. While the schools have met in a number of different sports, including, notably, football, somehow they have always avoided each other on the hardwood. Something for the record books, this.
The Fighting Irish, of back-to-back Elite Eight run fame and 56 wins over the last two years, are in a bit of a transition this season. Much of the headlining talent that powered those postseason runs have moved on; gone are notable names like Jerian Grant, Pat Connaughton, Demetrius Jackson, and Zach Auguste. Their wake leaves an interesting mix of the old and new left behind to carry the team in 2016-17.
|Brey's is one of the most respected names in the sport. From:the AP|
Coach Brey has built the current roster around a nucleus of senior captains VJ Beachem and Steve Vasturia. The leading scorer Beachem, a 6-8 swing forward out of Ft Wayne, IN, is a nasty shooting threat, capable of leading the team in critical possessions. The Buffs will struggle to match him all the way out to the perimeter, and they can't let him shoot freely this afternoon. Vasturia is more of a jack-of-all-trades type, and rarely leaves the floor. CU should look to eliminate his dribble-drive, guarding him out to the perimeter, as well. At their side is veteran junior wing Bonzie Colson. An aggressive double-double threat, the oddly-sized power forward (6-5, 225) has a mean streak and a sense of the moment. I'm interested to see how a player like Xavier Johnson takes to his unique challenge, specifically if XJ takes it seriously, and comes to play.
|Beachem is a very good lead guard. From: Irish Sports Daily|
To-date, Notre Dame has done as the Buffs have, clearing their plate of smaller conference flotsam. They've been a little more efficient in their efforts in the first week of the season, though, beating the likes of Bryant, Seattle, and Loyola (MD) by an average of over 34 points per game. The game against Seattle may be instructive, as it was against a common opponent, but the knuckleball of the zone defense and a cold shooting night from the Buffs makes true comparisons hard. Regardless, when I first saw that scoreline, just days after CU has struggled against the Redhawks, my eyebrows raised a bit. No, this will be a difficult game against the Irish, for sure, one the Buffs would be lucky to win.
|ND has been rolling in the early going. From: Ooyuz.com|
In the end, however, I don't think we're in for a happy Monday night. The Irish will get going from the perimeter, the senior quartet in Black and Gold will continue deferring around instead of leading, and the Buffs will slump into defeat. I'm not expecting a blowout, just a solid six-to-eight point loss. Nothing too damaging, and hopefully leading to better things tomorrow in the second game of the Classic.
Tip-off from the Barclay's Center in downtown Brooklyn is set for 5pm MT this afternoon. Coverage for those who didn't follow me out east can be found on ESPN2, with the radio call on 760AM.
GO BUFFS! PROVE ME WRONG, AND BEAT THE IRISH!