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Notre Dame guard Rex Pflueger (0) drives past Princeton forward Spencer Weisz (10) during the first half of a first-round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 16, 2017, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)



This is the classic boxer vs. slugger matchup as we have a team that would rather play uptempo playing against a team that prefers to slow it down. I believe this maybe the best matchup of the second round of this tournament. Whoever wins this game will be a legit threat to make a final four run. Both Teams struggled at times in hard fought first round wins, and both have excellent Coach’s in Bob Huggins and Mike Brey, so let’s take a look at this matchup and break the game down.

West Virginia’s keys to victory

The Mountaineers are not called “Press Virginia” for nothing, they apply pressure to the other team’s offense all game long. The Mountaineers want an uptempo game with very few offensive sets. Huggins teams are known for being great on defense, the problem for West Virginia usually comes on the offensive side of the ball. The Mountaineers shot the ball well this year, and they are very capable of scoring in the 70’s and 80’s against anybody. The worry here is that what happened in the Big 12 tournament will happen here. The Big 12 tournament they struggled to score, and if they struggle in this game, Notre Dame will win the game easily.

 

Notre Dame Keys to victory

This game will most likely come down to the Irish ability to break the Mountaineers press and either score quickly or get the ball into their offensive sets. The Irish have the guards to handle West Virginia’s press in Matt Farrell and Steve Vasturia. These two guards will not be intimidated by “Press Virginia”.

 

Prediction

I see Notre Dame being able to slow the game down behind the solid guard play of Farrell and Vasturia. So the question will be can West Virginia score in their half-court offense? I think in the end whichever team controls the tempo wins the game, and it is much easier to slow the game down than it is to speed it up. Notre Dame 68  West Virginia 65