By Chris Jackson Sports Editor
V.J. Beachem: Although Beachem struggled in Thursday’s NCAA Opener against Princeton (1-for-9 shooting), the senior forward averages 14.7 points and 4.1 rebounds – second best on the roster in both categories. Sending him to the free throw line is a mistake almost every time, shooting just below 83 percent from the charity stripe.
Bonzie Colson: Despite being an undersized forward at 6-foot-5, Colson is putting up one of the best campaigns in college basketball. He’s the only player in the ACC to average a double-double, registering 17.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Colson also extends the floor, shooting percent from long range. He is one of 15 finalists for the John Wooden Award (nation’s best player) and the Karl Malone Trophy (best power forward).
Matt Farrell: Believe it or not, Farrell is tabbed as a better point guard than Bobby Hurley, who won two national titles at Duke in the 90’s and is one of the mst regarded players in the last few decades. Regardless of the comparison, which came from Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey, he’s posting above 14 points per game, adding team-highs in assists and steals. WVU head coach Bob Huggins discussed his all-around talents on the court, mentioning how he’s great off the ball and not just with the ball in his hands.
Rex Pflueger: The sophomore guard doesn’t wow with his production, but he displayed toughness in the close victory over Princeton. After a Princeton player’s elbow hit his head, requiring six stitches, Pflueger came right back out and played 28 minutes, scoring both of his baskets following the injury.
Steve Vasturia: One of four players on the team to average double-figure scoring totals, the senior guard tallied 10 points and eight rebounds Thursday. He is nearly automatic at the free throw line, converting 91 percent of his attempts.
Other Notre Dame Notes
- Notre Dame is the only program to make an Elite Eight appearance the past two seasons
- The senior class has won 97 games, tying the school-record
- This is the school’s third straight NCAA Tournament appearance
- Mike Brey is 5-4 all-time against Bob Huggins, going 4-4 while Huggins is at West Virginia (1-0 at Cincinnati)
- Matt Farrell has converted a three in 25 straight games, the second-longest streak of an ACC player, trailing only Duke’s Grayson Allen (37)
- VJ Beachem (6-foot-8) was Notre Dame’s tallest starter in the opening round
- Notre Dame commits the fewest turnovers per game in the country (9.3)
- Only seven players average 10-plus minutes per game for Notre Dame; 10 WVU players average above 10 minutes
- Four different Notre Dame players play 30-plus minutes per game, including two over 34; Only two average 30-plus per game for WVU, with none playing above 34