Monkey Off Back: Irish Dominate UVA in Quarterfinal Victory


In a win that was 36 years in the making, Notre Dame was finally able to beat Virginia and did so in impressive fashion with a 71-58 win over Virginia in the ACC Quarterfinals Thursday.

After falling behind 2-0 in the opening seconds, the Irish did not trail for the remainder of the game and dominated the Cavs throughout the game.

Notre Dame had four players tally double-digits in points and Bonzie Colson led the Irish with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

The Irish will now face No. 2 seeded Florida State in Friday’s semifinal.

Thoughts:

– Notre Dame did what they had not done in their previous matchups with UVA, they got off to a hot start. UVA cut into the ND lead a various points of Thursday’s game, but they never got closer than four.

– As well as the Irish were able to run their offense, ND won the game on the defensive end.

– UVA can be offensively challenged, but they haven’t been an offensive juggernaut under Tony Bennett and they still managed to carve up the Irish in the past. This time, however, ND forced UVA into contested shots and limited their fast-break and second-chance opportunities.

– Martin Geben played a key role for the Irish in the victory. The junior tallied just three points and three rebounds, but his big body didn’t allow any easy baskets on the block and provided a necessary physical presence for ND.

– Rex Pflueger’s reverse dunk needs to be played on repeat for as long as the internet exists.

– London Perrantes and Kyle Guy are the main threats from the perimeter for the Cavaliers, but they were held to 1-17 from the field thanks to suffocating defense from Steve Vasturia and Rex Pflueger.

– I made the UVA-Navy football comparison in the preview and it held true. They are both great front-runners, but if they fall behind, their system is not conducive to comebacks.

– This game paralleled the ND-Navy football game of 2015. Both ND football and basketball have had their bugaboos against these system programs, but this game and the 2015 football game saw the programs make uncharacteristic mistakes. Navy committed some dumb penalties and turned the ball over, while UVA struggled on defense and was uncharacteristically careless with the ball.

– A win over Virginia and a Final Four appearance were the only things missing from Steve Vasturia and V.J. Beachem’s resume. One down, one to go.

Now on to Florida State:

– The Irish split their two meetings with the Seminoles this season with both teams winning on their respective home courts.

– The Irish lost a close game in Tallahassee and thoroughly dominated FSU in South Bend.

– In their most recent meeting, FSU had no answer for Notre Dame’s small lineup and I don’t anticipate that changing Friday.

– After seeing the Florida State-Virginia Tech game Thursday, I commented that whomever wins the UVA-ND matchup will take down FSU, and I still feel that way.

– Notre Dame has become a program that expects to win in March and the proof is in the pudding. Florida State has all the talent in the world, but they don’t win games outside of Tallahassee and they have zero experience winning big games in March.

– Those factors will all play into a resounding Notre Dame win and a spot in the championship game against the winner of the North Carolina-Duke game.

2 comments

  1. Gotta play well to get to the championship, but totally agree, the title game berth is there for the taking.

    1. The VA- Navy comparison was spot on. UVA had a 75-25 fan advantage at the Barclays. Never got chance to get real loud. Think they did not expect that. Great to see Bun head totally bewildered!!

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