Jim Platt

Jim Platt hired as assistant at Saint Louis

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Longtime college basketball coach Jim Platt has been hired as an assistant at Saint Louis to help on a staff that is now without head coach Rick Majerus, who took a leave of absence due to health concerns in late August.

Platt, who has spent 32 years as a head coach or assistant at the Division I level, has been on staff at schools that include Charleston Southern and Arkansas-Little Rock, most recently serving as an assistant at Army from 2005-10.

“SLU represents the very best in collegiate athletics,” Platt said in a statement. “It’s a school with tremendous academics and one that is competing at the highest level of college basketball. It’s the best combination to represent as a college coach.”

While at Army, Platt spent four seasons working under Jim Crews, who is now the interim head coach at Saint Louis in Majerus’ absence.

“Jim has been a great mentor for me during my career,” Platt went on to say. “I believe that under Jim’s leadership, experience and value system, the basketball program is going to be represented in a manner that emulates the values of Saint Louis University and Billiken athletics.”

As for Majerus, he announced last month that an ongoing heart condition would force him to take a leave of absence, coming off a season in which he guided the Billikens to a 26-8 overall record and a near-upset of No. 1 Michigan State in the NCAA tournament.

Saint Louis opens its season on Nov. 9 against USC Upstate.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

VIDEO: Duke’s Grayson Allen beats No. 7 Virginia at the buzzer

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Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia sparks come-from-behind win over No. 13 Louisville

Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia (32) goes up for a shot over Boston College’s Idy Diallo (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
(AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
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Demetrius Jackson scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half and Steve Vasturia scored 15 of his 20 points in the final 20 minutes as Notre Dame landed a 71-66 win over No. 13 Louisville on Saturday afternoon.

The Fighting Irish trailed by as many as 11 points early in the second half, but Vasturia’s hot shooting combined with Notre Dame holding Louisville to just 15 points in the final 15 minutes made all the difference.

The Fighting Irish are not as good as they were last season, but they are built in a similar mold. Jackson, as we expected, as become one of the nation’s most dynamic point guards, impossible to slow-down in isolation and ball-screen actions. Steve Vasturia emerging as a legitimate secondary option offensively and Zach Auguste is one of the nation’s most underrated big men and one of the most dangerous as the roll-man in ball-screens.

Combine all of that with a handful of shooters creating space and Bonzie Colson’s emergence as a force on the offensive glass, and Mike Brey once again has one of the nation’s most lethal offensive attacks.

Where they struggle is on the defensive end of the floor, which is what makes the end of Saturday’s win so meaningful. The Irish entered the day ranked 232nd in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric, which more or less means they’re as good as a bad mid-major program at keeping their opponents from scoring.

But they don’t have to be great to be able to win games.

They have to be good enough and they have to get important stops.

That’s precisely what happened on Saturday.

Whether or not that actually becomes a trend for this group will be something to monitor — it happened for Duke during last year’s NCAA tournament — but the bottom-line is this: Notre Dame does something better than just about anyone else in college basketball, and that’s score the ball.

On the nights they are able to gets some stops, they are going to be able to win some games. In the last eight days, they’ve proven that, beating North Carolina, Clemson on the road and Louisville.

And that makes them dangerous in March.