AP Photo

Bruce Pearl’s hot streak continues as he lands top five JuCo recruit in 2015

Leave a comment

Bruce Pearl had himself one hell of a weekend.

On Friday, the former Tennessee head coach and current Auburn coach landed a commitment from four-star wing forward Danjel Purifoy. On Saturday, Pearl celebrated the final day of his show-cause penalty stemming from the infamous Aaron Craft barbecue. On Sunday, Horace Spencer, a four-star big man and one of the breakout performers of this summer, committed to the Tigers while on a visit to the campus.

Not bad, right?

Well, things got better on Monday, as T.J. Dunans committed to play for the Tigers, according to multiple reports. Dunans is a top five JuCo player in the class of 2015, according to JuCoRecruiting.com.

“The Auburn staff has been recruiting me for a long time and coach (Bruce) Pearl’s system will fit my style of play where I can blossom at a high level,” Dunans told JucoReport. “I have always wanted to play at a high level and the SEC is a great conference to showcase my skills and help Auburn get to the Final Four.”

Dunans averaged 22.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists as a freshman at Columbia State. The 6-foot-5 wing joins Purifoy and Spencer in Auburn’s 2015 class, which will be supplemented by Marshall transfer Kareem Canty, who becomes eligible in 2015-2016.

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.