Mike Brey’s success vs. Duke continues as Notre Dame wins on road

Mike Brey has won 4 of 5 against Coach K. (USATSI)

Notre Dame and Duke are two of the five most efficient offensive teams in the country and Saturday’s game did not disappoint with scoring in the 90’s, efficiency above 1.30 points per possession, 50 percent shooting from both teams and even a jacket-toss from Mike Krzyzewski.

Unfortunately, a high-scoring, up and down game does not exactly benefit this short-handed Blue Devils team and lapses on defense had them playing catch-up most of the game. Demetrius Jackson was aggressive as the point man in the Notre Dame offense, paving the way for a 95-91 win.

Jackson was getting it done on both ends. First on offense…

… and on defense with this sick block of Marshall Plumlee.

Mike Krzyzewski is now 21-4 against his former assistants, with all four of those losses coming against Mike Brey and Notre Dame. Ironically, all of those wins have come in the short time that the Irish have been members of the ACC in basketball (since 2013-14).

Mike Brey’s recent run of success in the series says a lot about the job he’s done getting Notre Dame’s program into ACC contention immediately, but this particular game says much more about where Duke sits in the current ACC landscape.

After losing to Clemson and Notre Dame, Duke is sure to tumble in the polls on Monday. But the polls actually matter very little in the big picture for Duke, a team that’s success will ultimately be defined in March by tournament wins, not midseason rankings. Some of the toughest games on Duke’s schedule remain, and there are no 10-day contracts or a waiver wire options where Mike Krzyzewski can find a short-term replacement for Amile Jefferson.

Duke is great on offense, especially now that both Brandon Ingram and Luke Kennard have it going on that end of the floor, but foul trouble absolutely kills the way they can match up with opponents because of the depth issues. The Blue Devils will be able to to outscore a lot of opponents in the ACC, but not Notre Dame.

Duke and Notre Dame occupy the same space in the ACC; good enough to beat the best but ultimately beatable against anyone in the top half of the conference. The Irish, a bubble team coming into the week, heads into next week with a ton of confidence.

The Blue Devils, on the other hand, have a short turnaround before facing Syracuse on Monday and hoping to avoid their first three-game losing streak since 2007.


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