#5 Notre Dame vs. #12 Princeton
#5 Notre Dame 25-9, (12-6)
Player to watch: Bonzie Colson
Without a doubt, Bonzie Colson is the glue-guy, MVP of this Notre Dame basketball team. He is just one of a few guys averaging a double-double on the year (17.5 ppg and 10.2 rpg). At 6’5”, Colson plays plays down low most of the time, but can step out and hit a three with consistency (40% 3-pt). He really is the do-it-all guy for the Irish and I expect him to have a monster game against the Tigers. There are few college basketball players who play with as much heart as Bonzie does. Big time gamer. Look out for him.
X-Factor: Offensive execution
When Notre Dame runs their offense, and doesn’t play “Matt Farrell hero ball” they are extremely tough to beat. Mike Brey is one of the top X’s and O’s coaches in the NCAA, and that is proven when ND sticks to their gameplan. The Irish are an extremely fundamental squad, which shows when they stick to the offense. As CPP founder Brad Kreppel once said, “Notre Dame is at its best when they are running their offense, and not playing hero ball.” This is absolutely correct, so look for Notre Dame to run its offense through Bonzie Colson to get everyone else involved.
#12 Princeton 22-6, (14-0)
Player to watch: Myles Stephens
Sophomore G Myles Stephens has been very impressive for the Tigers this season in their undefeated run in the regular season and Ivy League conference tournament. He averaged 12.2 ppg and 4.5 rpg while shooting 50% from the field and 40% from distance. His energy and strong work on the glass could wreak havoc for the Irish.
X-Factor: Limit Bonzie Colson
This will be a team effort to slow down the relentless Bonzie Colson. The college basketball world saw what he could do when he put up 29 and 9 on Duke in the Semifinals. Princeton is ranked 49th on KenPom in adjusted defense, so it is totally possible for Princeton to accomplish this. Notre Dame is at its best when they get the ball into the middle of the defense early on in its possessions. Limit the touches that guys like Colson and Beachem get in the middle of the defense, and the Tigers can make this one a game.
Matchup to watch: Spencer Weisz – Steve Vasturia
This will be a very underrated matchup in this basketball game. Both are guards that play hard-nosed basketball and can light it up at anytime, but have often struggled with their consistency throughout the year. Don’t be surprised if either one, or both, of these players can get hot from deep and put up 20 points.
Notre Dame leads the nation at 79.9% from the charity stripe this season. This will ultimately decide this game down the stretch. FREE THROWS WIN GAMES.
Prediction: Notre Dame 67, Princeton 60
Bonzie Colson and company just have too much firepower for the Ivy league champs. It will be close for 15 minutes, but Notre Dame should pull away late with its experienced roster.