Blog Entry

With one move, Mike Brey changes the game

Posted on: February 9, 2011 10:29 pm
Posted by MATT JONES

The difference between victory and defeat in college basketball often comes down to one play. Even in a forty five minute game that was as well-contested and intensely fought as Louisville and Notre Dame’s battle Wednesday night, the outcome can often be traced to one decision by a coach or player that totally shapes both teams’ fortunes.   

On Wednesday night, that play was not an individual’s dynamic move or a long-distance bomber’s clutch shot. Instead it was one decision by Notre Dame coach Mike Brey that took his coaching rival Rick Pitino slightly off guard and ensured his Irish team would have the opportunity to pull off their 89-79 win in overtime.

With the game tied in regulation, Louisville called timeout with 26 seconds left to set up a last-second shot and try to escape with another late victory. End of game situations have been especially fruitful for the Cardinals this season, as they have found a way to steal three late victories against Marquette, West Virginia and Connecticut based almost entirely on their ability to out execute against their opponent down the stretch. In the latter two games, Louisville found great success in clearing out for guard Peyton Siva and allowing him to create a final shot attempt one on one versus his man. Twice against Connecticut and one against West Virginia, Siva beat his man off the dribble and created a bucket that helped pull out a huge victory.

Fast forward to the end of game scenario on Wednesday night and the Notre Dame huddle before the final possession. Having seen the game tape of Louisville’s final possessions in past Big East games, Brey made one simple coaching adjustment that could have a profound effect on his team's season. Rather than allow the Cards to clear the floor and have Siva take advantage of his quickness against the defender guarding him in man defense, Brey told his Irish to play zone. If executed properly, this would keep Siva or one of the other Louisville guards out of the lane and force the Cardinals to find a different method to get off a final shot.

When Pitino’s team broke the huddle, it was clear the change in defense confused the Cards. They stood at the top of the key looking around frantically and then were forced to reverse the ball around the perimeter and settle for a contested three from Preston Knowles. Louisville had clearly prepared to face a man defense and the team was unable to change effectively enough on the fly to counter Brey’s clever change of strategy. The game went to Overtime with Notre Dame carrying the momentum and the Irish rolled to the win easily.

Had Brey not made the change, and simply defended Louisville in the same way Bob Huggins and Jim Calhoun, two bright coaches in their own right, had done, then we might be talking about how the gritty Louisville team stole another impressive road win. Siva could have taken the ball to the basket, finished with a layup or a pass to an open shooter and his role as a clutch finisher would have been the topic of this column. But instead, Brey made one small adjustment. And that adjustment set the table for the No. 7 ranked team in America to get a huge conference win.

It has been said in the past that a great college coach is worth at least 5 games a year. If that is true, Brey certainly got 20 percent of his quota on Wednesday in South Bend.

Category: NCAAB

Since: Oct 4, 2006
Posted on: February 10, 2011 9:48 pm

With one move, Mike Brey changes the game

God that was a lame post.

Since: Oct 23, 2007
Posted on: February 10, 2011 3:01 pm

With one move, Mike Brey changes the game

We beat this team on a neutral court by 10 all day.

That is with the injuries.  We get our frontcourt back starting Saturday. 

Better cherish this win and clutch those Shamrocks, pray to Touchdown Jesus or whatever is that you need to do,  that you stay out of the path of UL in the BE tourney.  Its not likey you are going to have refs to save you from that beatdown, even if they try to.

Since: Sep 7, 2007
Posted on: February 10, 2011 1:39 pm

With one move, Mike Brey changes the game

Actually, the move was even better than that. ND started in man until about 10 seconds ran off and there was 15 left on the clock. Then the defense switched into zone, which is what confused Lousiville. If ND had initially come out in zone, Pitino probably would have used another timeout.

Since: Feb 18, 2010
Posted on: February 10, 2011 12:46 pm

With one move, Mike Brey changes the game

 Yoo air a riley goud spellar. 

Since: Oct 25, 2007
Posted on: February 10, 2011 12:42 pm

With one move, Mike Brey changes the game

The difference between victory and defeat in college basketball often comes down to the refs, which is very sad. Love the technical on Kuric giving ND 2 free points before half. He was really running his mouth, let me tell you. Another nice phantom foul on TJ to let ND tie the game in the first place. Can't just stand there with your arms straight up, that's gotta be a foul every time. And as usual, ND gets to the free throw line twice as much as we do. We beat this team on a neutral court by 10 all day.

Oh, and Mr. Jones, I thought I politely requested you to quit writing about my team, leave Louisville, get off the air waves and so forth. I see you have been ignoring me.

Since: Dec 21, 2010
Posted on: February 10, 2011 12:07 pm

With one move, Mike Brey changes the game

wow i bet jones has had a boner since about 10:30 last night. i know he goes all rubber-legged any time UofL looses. Siva had an opening at about 12 seconds but instead chose to wait and not give ND the last shot. with their luck with the officials i'm sure they would have shot more free throws at the very least. if you are gonna write about games at least open your eyes and get your grubby paw off your little weiner and pay attention! sick of one sidded refs for these games.

Since: Oct 23, 2007
Posted on: February 10, 2011 1:20 am

With one move, Mike Brey changes the game

Maybe I dont clearly understand what a blog is but some of the things you said here are just flat out inaccurate.  Bias is one thing, inaccuracy is another.  You should really clean up your act.

Your version of journalism is kind of poor.

Since: Oct 23, 2007
Posted on: February 10, 2011 1:10 am

With one move, Mike Brey changes the game

That is it,,,you have oficaially reached loser status.  Cant wait to write about UK wins and cant wait write about UL loses. 

Ban me I dont care but this guy is a basketball idiot. 

UL didnt stand around confused you fool.  Siva had Hansbourough beat with 20 seconds on the clock, the decison was made (probably in the huddle) to go with :06 to avoid giving ND a shot to win it at the buzzer at home.  Its a good move, you take your chances that you can either get another good shot or at least go to OT.

Seriously, you are a tool and I dont care.  This is all I can stand of this.  CBS Sports should be ashamed for publishing someone so blatently biased.  I thought Parrish was bad but you take the cake pal.  Not only are you biased but alot of times you are flat out wrong.

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2011 11:34 pm

With one move, Mike Brey changes the game

Excuse me, but were you watching the same game as I was watching?  After the TO, ND came out in the same man-to-man they had been in.  Silva started to penetrate at about the 19 second mark, but pulled it back because there still was too much time on the clock (LVille was going to win or go OT and not allow ND a shot at the win in regulation).  At the 10 second mark, ND all of a sudden went 2-3 zone. Martin was literally pulled into his new defensive position at the top of the zone by Hansbrough and Nash slid into the mddle at the bottom of the zone.  Silva now had nowhere to go, forced up a prayer and the OT was history.  Nice job of reporting.  Get it right - you're paid to do so.  Eeesh.

Since: Nov 6, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2011 10:44 pm



Did I cover it all? Good write-up. I can't stand Brey, but he made a good move. I was sure the Cards had it, but a tiny tweak saved the game. Maybe Coach Cal can learn a lesson from situationally using the zone...

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