March 16, 2001
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – March Madness brings out all the gurus who believe they know the secret to succeeding in the NCAA tournament.
If that is the case then the Irish should do just fine.
While the team has struggled as of late, Notre Dame point guard Martin Ingelsby has flourished. In the Big East tournament game, he scored 16 points.
“I think the guards play a big part in the success in the tournament,” Ingelsby said. “You have got to defend and take care of the basketball.”
Taking care of the basketball is Ingelsby’s specialty. During the regular season, he dished out 180 assists while only turning the ball over 53 times. Shooting guard, Matt Carroll, handed out 109 assists during the regular season as well.
“Matty (Carroll) and myself have done a good job this season of taking care of the basketball and getting the ball inside to Murphy and Humphrey where we are most effective,” Ingelsby said.
Both Carroll and Ingelsby will have their hands full with the likes of Xavier guard Maurice McAfee. He led Xavier last year with 18 points and also is the only member of the Musketeer squad with NCAA tournament experience.
McAfee played just six minutes as a freshman in 1998 tournament.
While McAfee does not post huge numbers on the scoreboard, he does log the most minutes for Xavier. He is the floor general for this team. McAfee dished out 135 assists thus far this season.
Besides preparing for McAfee, Ingelsby and Carroll are well aware of Xavier’s signature press. The Musketeers love to press and will look to do that against the Irish who struggle against it.
“We know we are going to have to bring our A game against Xavier,” Ingelsby said. “They are going to come out and pressure us, press us the whole game. We take care of the ball and we feel we will be in good shape at the end of the game. I think you need to be able to take care of the ball in the NCAA tournament if you are going to be successful.”
Irish faithful feed off the calm and collected Irish point guard Ingelsby. As Ingelsby goes, his team follows.
If it is true that a team is only as good as its guards, Notre Dame is in great shape.