Notre Dame at Loyola Marymount Game Preview

Weis GipperCorrespondent INovember 20, 2008

Game Two: No. 9 Notre Dame (1-0) at Loyola Marymount (0-3)
Date: Friday, November 21
Time: 10:00 (E.S.T.)

The ninth ranked Fighting Irish will be warming up their legs against the Lions as this game will mark the first of four contests Notre Dame will play over the next five days. Following the game, Notre Dame heads to Hawaii for the EA Sports Maui Invitational and a first round match-up with intra-state rival Indiana.

Notre Dame looks to pick up where they left off last Sunday when they defeated USC Upstate 94-58. After a sluggish first half with the Irish going into the locker up 11, Notre Dame doubled-up the Spartans scoring 50 second half points.

The Lukes, Harangody and Zellar, led the way for the Irish with 30 and 18 points, respectively. Harangody also grabbed 14 boards as the Irish won the battle of the glass 45-31.

Another positive sign of the Irish heading into the match-up with the Lions is the unselfish play. Notre Dame had 25 assists in the game, led by guard Tory Jackson's eight.

Loyola Marymount is going to take its lumps early and often as they start three freshmen and two sophomores. Last weekend in the World Vision Classic at Ames, Iowa, the Lions finished last as they lost contests to UW-Milwaukee (75-51), host Iowa St. (67-55), and UC Davis (64-55).

The Lions are led by sophomore guard Vernon Teel. He is LMU's leading scorer (19.3), rebounder (9.3), and assist man (2.7), on the team.

It should be an exciting atmosphere in Los Angeles, as this will be the first home sellout at the Gersten Pavilion. The contest should be over relatively quickly as the Irish pose too much muscle inside and sharp shooting from the outside for the Lions to handle. This will be a nice setup for the Irish's upcoming slate of big games in Maui.

Loyola Marymount
Head Coach:Bill Bayno, first season at LMU; 94-64 in five seasons at UNLV

Last Season: 5-26 overall, 2-12 West Coast Conference (eighth place)

Coach Bill Bayno represents, in many ways, a fresh start for the program. He considers the Lions a sleeping giant. When the Lions were running, scoring and—most important—winning under Paul Westhead two decades ago, LMU wasn't a friendly environment for visiting teams. Bayno has great resources, can recruit nationally and internationally, and has said he'll play "the big boys."

Aside from the new leader on the bench, the Lions' personnel isn't poor. Two freshmen—Orlando Johnson and Tim Diederichs—represent a foundation this year and beyond. Johnson (12.4 points per game) was one of three WCC freshmen to lead their teams in scoring. He set the school freshman scoring record with 383 points and Diederichs started all 31 games.

The Lions haven't been to the NCAA Tournament since 1990 (Bo Kimble anyone?) and won five games last season. The team is young, and will be baptized by jumping through the many flaming hoops encountered in a top-heavy West Coast Conference schedule.

LMU was last in the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio and seventh in defensive rebounds in 2007-08. That fed the woeful scoring margin of minus-16.7 per game. LMU shot under 40 percent as a team and was last in the league in free-throw percentage. Bayno has no shortage of items to focus on when preaching improvement.

Projected Starters

F Ashley Hamilton 5.0 ppg, 4.7 rebs.
F Kevin Young 4.0 ppg, 2.0 rebs.
F Tim Diederichs 2.3 ppg, 1.3 rebs.
G Jarred DuBois 9.3 ppg, 2.3 rebs.
G Vernon Teel 19.3 ppg, 9.3 rebs.

Notre Dame
F Zach Hillesland 13.0 ppg, 8.0 rebs.
F Luke Harangody 30 ppg, 14.0 rebs.
G Ryan Ayers 7.0 ppg, 3.0 rebs.
G Tory Jackson 6.0 ppg, 1.0 rebs.
G Kyle McAlarney 10.0 ppg, 2.0 rebs.