March 20, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Tempo is everything.
Notre Dame learned that controlling the speed for a majority of the games is the key to victory. The Irish gained this valuable knowledge against the likes of UConn and St. Johns. It proved fruitful as the Irish defeated the Huskies twice and the Red Storm once in the regular season.
Doherty can only hope his troops can do the same thing against Xavier. The Musketeers play a fast and physical game.
“They run,” Doherty said about Xavier. “They press and they like to get up and down the court.”
Doherty expects the game to be a fast-paced one.
The game marks the 34th game for Doherty’s squad this season. It registers as the second highest number of games in a season next to the 1908-09 squad that played 40. Notre Dame leads the Xavier series with a record of 13-3 in meetings. The Musketeers have never won at the Joyce Center. In fact, the Irish are 7-0 in meetings at the JACC.
Notre Dame enters the game a little banged up. The squad spent the last couple days of recuperating. Sophomore Harold Swanagan twisted his knee in Wednesday’s game but is expected to play. Freshman Ivan Kartelo suffered a split lip in the Michigan game, which required six stitches.
Don’t expect anything too different from the Irish. They will continue to look for All-American Troy Murphy down low. The super sophomore averages a double-double with 23.1 points per game and 10.5 rebounds per game.
“It will be a lot of quickness on the floor,” Doherty said about tonight’s game. “There will be a lot of up-and-down the floor. I think a lot of points will be put on the board.”
Xavier will have the help of Lloyd Price for this game. Head coach Skip Prosser suspended Price for the opening round game for missing two practices. Price decided to stay in Philadelphia an extra few days after the team lost in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament.
Notre Dame advanced into the second round of the NIT by way of Michigan. Murphy led the Irish to a 75-65 win over the Wolverines. He chipped in a game high, 32 points. Sophomore Matt Carroll donated 11 points to the cause.
Monday night’s game will be carried by ESPN and tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.