Niagra v Notre Dame

Hofstra’s Joe Mihalich brings entire coaching staff with him from Niagara

Leave a comment

Hofstra’s new men’s basketball coach Joe Mihalich announced his coaching staff, and it will look an awful lot like the coaching staff that he had when he was at Niagara.

Mike Farrelly, Kyle Neptune and Shane Nichols, who were all assistants for Mihalich at Niagara, will remain on his staff at Hofstra. Mihalich’s Director of Basketball Operations at Niagara, Colin Curtin, will be headed to Hempstead to take over that same role for the Pride.

In fact, the only difference is that Mihalich will have a Hofstra legend on his staff. Speedy Claxton scored 2,000 points for the Pride before heading to the NBA, where he won a title with the Spurs in 2003. He spent the past two seasons as a college scout for the Golden State Warriors.

“I am thrilled about the staff we will have here at Hofstra,” Mihalich said in a statement. “Having worked with most of them at Niagara, there is a certain comfort level and I know how skilled each of them is. I look forward to the Hofstra community getting to know them and seeing what kind of rising stars in the coaching profession we have on staff. To be able to have Speedy join the staff is an absolute home run. His extensive playing experience at both the collegiate and professional level, combined with his ability to connect us with one of the greatest eras in Hofstra Basketball history, will prove to be a winning formula as we grow the program moving forward.”

Mihalich not only brought his coaching staff with him, he also had two players from Niagara transfer with him in Juan’Ya Green and Ameen Tanksley.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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)
Leave a comment

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)
Leave a comment

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.