University of Louisville Athletics

Louisville adds former FIU assistant Mike Balado to coaching staff

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Louisville announced Friday afternoon that it has hired former FIU assistant coach Mike Balado as an assistant coach, filling the vacancy left when Kareem Richardson accepted the head coaching position at UMKC.

Balado was originally headed north to Minnesota with new head coach Richard Pitino and even joined the staff in Minneapolis. But he resigned from the position last week, opening the door for him to join Rick Pitino’s staff at Louisville.

Balado has never worked for the elder Pitino but obviously there is some familiarity given the connection noted above.

“Mike brings a wealth of experience in both the recruiting world and in coaching,” said Pitino in a statement released by the school. “An important factor in adding him to our staff was his knowledge of what we do defensively and in scouting, after working with Richard for a year.

“It should not take a great deal of time in acclimating him to our program. He’s a tireless worker and he should fit like a glove. He also brings another facet to our recruiting efforts, as he speaks fluent Spanish and has connections throughout Latin America.”

Balado has been coaching since wrapping up his college playing days at St. Thomas University in Miami in 1997, holding positions at the Division I level at Florida Atlantic, Miami and High Point at various points in his career.

Balado joins Kevin Keatts and Wyking Jones as assistants on Pitino’s staff, with former Louisville guard Andre McGee serving as the director of basketball operations.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej

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

Duke's Grayson Allen (3) and Marshall Plumlee (40) react during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in Durham, N.C., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Duke won 72-65. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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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.