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Countdown to Tipoff: Previewing ND and UVA

A champion and a role model

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Georgia Tech vs Notre Dame Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Ed. Note: There were some weird things going on with the scheduling mechanism, so this was meant to be posted earlier this week.

We continue down the ACC, looking at teams at different ends of the spectrum. One team is looking to rebuild after winning the national title, while the other looks to rebound after a subpar season. Today we take a look at the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Virginia Cavaliers.

Notre Dame

The model team of the “get old, stay old” philosophy struggled last year when hit with horrid injury luck, losing may guys that were expected to contribute and carry the load for the Irish. This caused them to have the worst conference finish in Mike Brey’s 19 seasons in charge, tied for 14th in the ACC.

There are no new faces to examine, Notre Dame didn’t sign a single player in the class of 2019. They also only lost one player, DJ Harvey transferred to Vanderbilt. This comes after signing the #15 ranked class in 2018.

Returning Players

John Mooney - 6-9 245 Senior - Mooney was a revelation for the Irish last season, averaging a double-double last season with 14. points per game and 11.2 rebounds per game. Mooney stepped up to be the focal point for the Irish as they struggled with injuries. Mooney was named 3rd team all-ACC following the season.

Rex Pflueger - 6-6 218 Senior - Pflueger only played 10 games last season before tearing his ACL. Pflueger averaged 8 points per game, while starting all 35 during the 2017-2018 season and looks to be one of the senior leaders for the Irish this season.

TJ Gibbs - 6-3 185 Senior - Gibbs was the second leading scorer for the Irish last season, averaging 13.4 points per game. Gibbs shooting percentages decreased substantially from the previous season, from .411 from the floor and .403 from three during the 2017-2018 season down to .347 from the floor and .318 from behind the arc in 2018-2019. Gibbs needs to get back to his sophomore season in order for the Irish to have success in 2019-2020

Prentiss Hubb - 6-3 175 Soph - Hubb played extensively as a freshman, starting 29 games. He average 8.1 points per game and chipped in 4.0 assists with only 1.9 turnovers per game. Hubb needs to improve his shooting this season to help the Irish take a step in the right direction, he shot .324 from the floor and .262 from behind the arc.

Robby Carmody - 6-4 201 Soph - This was another Irish player that was lost early in the season, he played only 9 games for the Irish last season. He looks to give Notre Dame another option on the wing.

Juwan Durham - 6-11 223 Senior - Durham was another player for the Irish who struggle with injures, playing in only 27 games. His biggest contribution, after sitting out a year after transferring from UCONN, was his 2.3 blocks per game. He looks to be a strong post presence for the Irish this season.

Conclusion

The Irish look to rebound after an unusually poor 2018-2019. If the Irish can stay healthy, expect them to be in the thick of the ACC middle class and return to the big dance.

UVA

The Hoos suffered one of the greatest upset in basketball history when they lost to UMBC to end the 2017-2018 season. They followed that up in the best way you could, by winning the national title. Having reached the summit, Tony Bennett looks to have a rebuilding year this season, having lost his top 3 and only double figure scorers, as well as another senior piece for the Hoos success.

New Faces

Casey Morsell - Guard, 6-2 175, #56 ranked player in the class on 2019 - Morsell is the highest rated player in the class. He looks to be next in line to be the great UVA guard.

Kadin Shedrick - Center, 6-11 200, #68 ranked player in the class of 2019 - Shedrick will provide more depth in the deepest section of the Cavaliers rotation.

Tomas Woldetensae - Guard, 6-5 195, #37 ranked JUCO player in the class on 2019 - Woldetensae shot 47.6% from behind the arc last season. His long range ability will be a great fit in the UVA offense.

Returning Players

Mamadi Diakite - 6-9 244 Senior - Diakite is the leading returning scorer for the Hoos. He has been a strong presence in the post during his three years in Charlottesville.

Kihei Clark - 5-9 163 Soph - Clark was a revelation last season. He was ranked #397 in the class of 2018. He will look to step into Ty Jerome’s shoes and run the UVA offense this season.

Braxton Key - 6-8 230 Senior - Key did most of his damage last season off the bench, but will look to play an integral roll for the Hoos this season.

Jay Huff - 7-1 243 Junior - Huff player in 34 games last season and will look to expand his role in the post with the graduation of Jack Salt.

Conclusion

Losing the level of talent that the Hoos lost is never an easy thing to replace. Tony Bennett has shown that he is one of the best coaches in the country in getting the most out of his guys. Look for UVA to continue to be one of the top programs in the ACC.