NEW YORK -- The most bubble-icious of today's Big East slate is not exactly going as I expected. Notre Dame and Seton Hall ordinarily aren't shy about scoring -- the Irish average 77 points per game and the Pirates 80 -- and they aren't typically terribly interested in playing defense. Instead we're on pace for a game in the 50s. Headscratcher there.
There's a lot more on the line for Seton Hall than the Irish. The Irish are in the NCAA tournament right now, albeit tentatively, while the Pirates are still trying to earn a spot. A loss here would end their hopes.
Before we tip off for the second half, here's a few thoughts about the first 20 minutes:
Luke Harangody is fine. And if he's not, I'd like to be injured like him some day. The senior came off the bench once again and automatically dominated the game. He's one rebound shy of a double double, with 15 points and nine rebounds and is running the floor smoothly and easily. All that talk about how the Irish were fine without him was nice but the fact is they're a whole lot better with him.
The Pirates came out looking loose and relaxed but after Notre Dame went on a run, the Hall lost its freewheeling attitude. They need to get it back. Seton Hall is at its best when it gets up and down the court.
Seton Hall is never good on the boards - they are in a 0.3 deficit in rebounding margin for the season - and the 20-15 edge for Notre Dame is definitely hurting them. The Irish have kept a number of possessions alive with second-chance opportunities.