Michigan and Notre Dame may have done their best to avoid one another on the football field, but the collision course has been set for the rivals to duke it out on the hardwood. It’s a tale of two very efficient, yet different offenses and two very middle-of-the-road defenses in this first round matchup.
No. 11 Michigan Wolverines (23-12) vs. No. 6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (21-11)
When: 9:40 p.m. ET (Friday)
Where: Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY)
Line: Notre Dame -2.5
Keys for Michigan
Michigan doesn't have much in the way of post presence, but with Duncan Robinson, Zak Irivin and Derrick Walton on the perimeter, the Wolverines could shoot their way past the Irish defense that ranks as one of the worst in the nation in defensive 3-point percentage. Look for Michigan to switch up defenses often to speed up the Irish, who love to use as much clock as they can.
Keys for Notre Dame
The Irish perimeter defense has to be more effective than it has been this season because Michigan can flat out shoot. Where Notre Dame has the edge is in a well-balanced offensive attack, as the Irish have five players that average double figures in scoring and rank 10th in adjusted offensive efficiency according to KenPom. Look for head coach Mike Brey to force feed his senior big man Zach Auguste in the post.
In short, the Wolverines are going to have to shoot much better than they did against Tulsa on Wednesday night. Shooting 24 percent from deep and 40 percent from the floor against a potent Irish offense just won’t cut it.