lair – Matchup Preview: Pitt takes on Notre Dame in a late season bout

With just two games left, the Pitt Panthers will determine their own destiny. It begins tonight at Notre Dame, where the Panthers finish the regular season with two away games. Despite being an experienced team, the Irish are only 10-19 overall and 2-16 in conference play. Mike Brey starts with four seniors and is coming off a 24-11 season in which they went 15-5 in the ACC. They made the NCAA tournament and lost in the second round. There were high expectations for this season but this year has been a nightmare.

Alongside the tough season, rumors circulated about the end of Mike Brey’s run at Notre Dame. He has refuted those reports and insists he wanted to stay, but there has been a lot of smoke. Some are even concluding that Brey could return home and take over in Georgetown. It remains to be seen what happens after the season ends, but this is the kind of year that could result in some awkward changes.

In total. Brey was really good at Notre Dame. They own the overall series against Pitt 28-20 and have dominated lately. Even some of Pitt’s best teams have struggled at South Bend over the years. This is a team and a program that usually shoots the three well. They made 254 in the season and have four players who made 40 or more. It’s a perimeter-oriented team with a certain length in the backcourt. There are four Irish double digit averages and it’s a balanced group. Other than that, they fight really defensively and have no real point guard. Somehow the pieces don’t seem to add up in this scenario this season as Notre Dame have lost their last seven games in a row and 11 of 12. This is a game that’s scary given the location and history of the matchup, but this year’s version may be the exception.

Let’s meet the Irish and see how they stack up against the Panthers in first place.

Trey Wertz vs. Nelly Cummings

Wertz is a transfer from Santa Clara, who averaged well in his first two seasons there (12.2 and 11.9) but struggled in the ACC. The 6’5″ guard is a great size but doesn’t play into position. At Notre Dame, he averaged 8.3 points his freshman year, four points last season, and now back to 8.4 points per game in 2022-23. The rest of his stats are 2.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists with 38% shots from the floor and 33% from 3s. He’s hit 42 threes this season, so you have to respect him from deep, even if the percentage doesn’t big is hitting double digits 10 times this season, including the last two games. He’s a big physique who has had flashes but struggled to produce consistently. Nelly CUmmings appeared to be struggling with a minor injury about a week ago. “Since then he’s reacted great and is one of the main reasons this team took back the number one spot. Timely shooting and decision making is what he does best. Cumming’s only goal coming back to Pittsburgh was to win, and he did it at the highest level throughout the season.

Advantage: Pitt

Cormac Ryan vs. Jamarius Burton

Ryan is another 6’5 inch senior coming from the west coast. He spent his freshman season at Stanford, where he averaged a very solid line of 8.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists. Since that season he moved to the ACC and has been solid and consistent. After averaging 9 points in his first two years at South Bend before increasing that to 11.6 this season. It’s his first season with a double-digit average and that’s largely due to his improved outside shot. He leads the team with 57 three-pointers made and is 36% from depth. He’s hit double digits 18 times this season, including a 23-point performance against Michigan State. The key for Pitt here is, Forcing Ryan to put the ball on the floor and tumble his Jamarius Burton should be primed for a big game here as the Irish have no one to consistently stop him from dribbling, that is if he’s healthy and the knees are fine, which may not be the case right now.Nevertheless, if not 100%, Burton is a capable of controlling the game and producing almost triple double efforts in a rather passive role.

Advantage: Pitt

Dane Goodwin vs Greg Elliott

This matchup is all about experience here. Goodwin is a 6’6″ senior who has played in 155 games for Notre Dame and has four seasons with double-digit goals on his resume. In his final season, Goodwin averaged 11.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2, 1 assists. He has 42 has made threes a year and is 39% beyond the arc. Goodwin is also a sneaky good athlete with a lot of jumping ability. He can surprise you at any time and is even a good shot blocker from the wing. He is one of the main leaders of this team and has hit 19 double figures this season Mike Brey has long relied on him as a cornerstone at South Bend Greg Elliott is just as experienced and has struggled a lot lately in the first half against Syracuse he played basically perfect basketball for the rest of the game, not only starting from three points, but also handling the ball well late against the press and helping turn the game around with decisions to prevent discovery. His game going forward will be so crucial to the team’s success in Marc H.

Advantage: Notre Dame

Ven Allen Lubin vs Blake Hinson

Lubin is the only freshman on the starting lineup and the 6’8″ forward is making the move from Orlando to ACC. He started action early and was solid enough with 6.6 points and 4.5 rebounds. He shoots from A 60% from Ground power player with no perimeter production. He’s 1-for-11 of three this season and isn’t venturing much there anymore. He’s only had eight double-digit scoring games this season but has 19 points and 8 rebounds against Wake Forest He’s the weakest free-throw taker in the group at 68%, which is something to keep in mind.Blake Hinson’s performance against Syracuse was one for the ages, with 17 tries out of three in a college game.He only made six of them.but she everyone felt very important. Hinson shot it a lot better at home so that’s a worrying trend to watch again this season without Pitt in the Pete. Hinson’s matchup at this point isn’t going to be a three-point shooting concert, but that is It could go like the overall game, if it does, Hinson needs to shoot it more efficiently in a street venue and win this matchup convincingly.

Advantage: Pitt

Nate Laszewski vs. Federiko Federiko

Laszewski has similar experience to Goodwin under Brey as the 6’10-inch senior has appeared in 154 collegiate games. He’s the top scorer for Notre Dame at 14.1 per game. He also leads the team in rebounding with a 7.1. What makes him unique and a difficult cover is his outside shooting ability. He is second on the team with 54 three-pointers made while being the top shooter with 41%. Nate is a pure offensive forward who is sometimes forced to play down the middle on an outside attack. This makes him a difficult cover. Federiko is a very good full-back in opposing centers but this is not an ideal matchup for him. The further he gets from the edge on defense, the less effective he becomes. In these types of matchups, he will have his defensive skills somewhat hidden. Laszewski has been in doubles 18 times this season with four double-doubles. Most of his goals come from three and open activities so Pitt might want to go smaller and move a little further away from Federiko than usual. On the other hand, Federiko c and his own issues with his length and ability to run on the rim. Stylistically, this is a huge contrast and a tough matchup for Pitts Center.

Advantage: Notre Dame


This Notre Dame team is pretty thin at depth. They basically go seven players deep into the rotation. 6’4″ freshman JJ Starling averaged 11.2 points and 2.8 rebounds for the season. You also get 8.9 points from 6’2″ senior Marcus Hammond. Both players are quality pieces, but that’s about it. 6’9″ junior Matt Zona should be at least a rotation player in the program, but he hasn’t developed. Another player who hasn’t developed is 6’4″ senior Robby Carmody. Pittsburgh-area basketball fans probably remember the former Mars territory well. His career has been beyond odd. As a freshman, he played about 10 minutes per game and averaged 3.7 and 1.7. Then 13.7 minutes in the second year with an average score of 5.4. That was it, however, as things never progressed for him and the former local standout has only appeared in a total of 21 games in his career. When Notre Dame gets into trouble, especially inside, they’re in bad shape. There is basically no depth inside and there isn’t much resistance in the color of them. Pitt has an advantage here with Nike Sibande and I think the twins are developing well. Both could be an advantage here against Laszewski due to their length and ability to hang a bit on the edge with taller opponents.

Advantage: Pitt Mike Brey vs Jeff Capel

Brey’s resume is impressive with 15 NCAA tournaments with a 15-15 record in the big dance. The 63-year-old went 99-52 in Delaware and is 482-278 in Notre Dame. There may be more going on around the program than the general public realizes, but this season has been an outlier. Whatever the reason, they were a massive disappointment with an experienced group. It’s pretty clear that Brey is a huge Jeff Capel fan. He made some very strong comments of support in his press availability this week. This matchup is another tough one. Brey clearly has the stronger CV overall, but a lot of that is sheer number of years. If you just look at this season, Capel has done a much better job by far. If you put everything aside and look at this season, this game and the immediate future, Capel now deserves the advantage.

Advantage: Pitt lair – Matchup Preview: Pitt takes on Notre Dame in a late season bout

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