Rushed Reactions: #6 Notre Dame 70, #11 Michigan 63

Posted by Brian Otskey on March 18th, 2016

Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCEastregion, @RTCMWregion,@RTCSouthregion and @RTCWestregion.

Three Key Takeaways.

Notre Dame Used a Great Second Half Performance to Come Back and Win (USA Today Images)

Notre Dame Used a Great Second Half Performance to Come Back and Win (USA Today Images)

  1. Notre Dame locked down on defense when it had to. Defense has never been the Fighting Irish’s calling card under Mike Brey but they came up with stops when it mattered most tonight. Notre Dame, ranked 172nd nationally in defensive efficiency, held Michigan to 22 points in 20 minutes after halftime after surrendering 41 in the first half. Michigan attempted 20 more shots than Notre Dame but made the same number of field goals (25). It was an impressive display in a pressure-cooker environment by a team not accustomed to that style of play.
  2. VJ Beachem couldn’t miss. Literally. The Notre Dame junior went 7-of-7 from the floor, including a number of huge shots in the critical final minutes of the game. Notre Dame ran its offense so well in the second half and Beachem was the primary beneficiary. He put together simply an outstanding performance on a national stage.
  3. Michigan’s crucial final possession was botched. Trailing by three with under 20 seconds remaining, Michigan was forced into a poor possession where Zak Irvin attempted to bail the Wolverines out with a deep three. Notre Dame defended it well but the rule change where coaches can no longer call live-ball timeouts played a factor here. John Beilein clearly saw that possession falling apart in real time, but he couldn’t do anything about it. Irvin missed and Notre Dame secured the rebound, and effectively, the game.

Star of the Game: VJ Beachem, Notre Dame. As mentioned above, Beachem had an outstanding game. His shot-making ability down the stretch was the difference.

Sights and Sounds: Barclays Center saved the best for last as thousands of Michigan and Notre Dame alumni and fans filled the facility. Michigan had a strong edge in crowd support (65-35 is a best guess), but it was the Irish fans who had the last laugh on this night. It was an incredibly charged up atmosphere on a fun Friday night in Brooklyn.


  • Mike Brey, on the game: “That was a fabulous college basketball game. It was an honor to be a part of it.”
  • Brey, on trying to get his team to play defense: “We almost have to have our life flashing before our eyes to dig in and defend.”
  • John Beilein, on his team’s inability to get stops in the second half: “You can’t give up a 58 percentage in the NCAA Tournament and expect to win.”

What’s Next: Notre Dame advances to Sunday’s second round game against upstart Stephen F. Austin. The game will tip at approximately 2:40 PM. Michigan ends its NCAA Tournament run from the First Four with a 1-1 record. The Wolverines overcame a lot this year just to get in to the field but they will leave Brooklyn with the sour taste of disappointment.

Brian Otskey (269 Posts)

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