Irish look to build on two-game streak
By LaMond Pope firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-2691 February 18, 2014 8:02PM
Updated: February 18, 2014 11:24PM
Notre Dame finally has some reasons to be happy.
Offensively, the Irish have benefited in recent days from a simplified approach. Defensively, coach Mike Brey has been pleased with how well the team has guarded while playing man-to-man.
The result, two straight ACC wins for the first time, including the first true road victory of the season.
The Irish (14-12, 5-8 ACC) are back on the road Wednesday at Miami (12-13, 3-9).
“We talked about that in the locker room. We have two league wins in a row and little steps for us,” Brey said during Monday’s ACC teleconference. “Where we’ve made some strides in the last week to 10 days is our offensive efficiency. We’ve simplified some things. Our kids have had great freedom to play, but with this group, given our personnel, we’ve structured it a little bit more. The last 10 days that’s helped us be more efficient offensively.
“Miami’s matchup (zone) has been a bear to deal with for everybody. I like our frame of mind moving forward winning two in a row.”
The Irish also received a boost with Demetrius Jackson returning to practice. The freshman guard missed two games because of “poor academic habits.”
“He’s caught up academically,” Brey said. “He needed some time to get his academics straight, get some work handed in. We kept him home this weekend so he could catch up. Really pleased with how he handled the week, getting back in gear academically. He rejoins us in practice and on the road with us to Miami.”
Notre Dame will have to contend with the Hurricanes’ athleticism.
“Sometimes a great play for them is a missed shot because they’ve got guys that can go up and get it,” Brey said. “And we’ve had a problem controlling the defensive boards at time. There’s where my concern is.
“I think we can force the first miss, but can we get the first miss. Even (Sunday at Boston College), we had some deflating plays where we gave up an offensive rebound, they’d kick it out for a three. It’s been an Achilles’ heel and it worries me for Wednesday.”