Although Notre Dame was 6-2 entering the game, Bryant showed confidence throughout the game as Notre Dame never seemed to do what they needed to do to stop the Bryant offense from getting open shots.
The Bulldogs (6-3) were able to stay in the game thanks to the three-ball and some feisty play. Bryant was 9-for-23 from the three-point line and when they went cold in the second half, Notre Dame pulled away thanks in-part to a 44-30 rebounding advantage.
Jerian Grant was also 11-for-13 from the free throw line to help contribute to 23 points and nine assists and he came up big for the Irish. Garrick Sherman (13 rebounds) and Pat Connaughton (11 rebounds) also hit the glass hard.
The concerning part for Notre Dame comes in the form of the their perimeter defense. Bryant did a nice job, especially in the first half, moving the ball from side-to-side on offense and taking jumpers from all over the floor and Notre Dame didn’t close out on shooters on multiple occasions.
In ACC play, Notre Dame will have to shore up that perimeter defense against some three-point shooting teams in the league like Duke. It is interesting to note that the Irish only went seven deep against Bryant.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.