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Three Up, Three Down: Wake Forest at Notre Dame

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Another loss. Sigh. That said though, it's disingenuous to say there weren't at least a few bright spots, even though they're dimmed by the loss.

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Ups

Bryant Crawford Is Good. Bryant (who in my opinion has earned some kind of cool nickname but I'm unsure where to go with it) was 7-15 shooting, 4-9 from deep, 2-2 from the line, and also had 3 assists and only a single turnover.  Bryant probably would've had several more assists if guys had hit open loos and.or passes leading to free throws counted as assists (which I think they should).  It's also worth noting that Bryant had somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 of the team's first 24 by himself.  Seriously, does anyone doubt Bryant Crawford at this point?  They probably shouldn't.  I'd take a bet right now he ends up in the NBA eventually.  Not necessarily a large bet mind you, but a bet all the same.  Just an incredible performance that sadly wasn't matched by many of his teammates (still gonna give props to my boy Devin Thomas).

Doral Moore: Monstar. Doral (who should have Monstar as a nickname considering even announcers acknowledge it) didn't have the sexiest stat line, going 2-5 from the field for 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks and a single turnover in 12 minutes, but that really belies his impact on the game.  Doral came in and threw down two nasty dunks right away. and it's really obvious watching that Doral just impacts the game the second he comes into the game.  It's really cool that we're seeing glimpses of such brilliance from freshmen, despite flaws or potential issues.

Only 15 Team Fouls. I might be reaching here, but I have to say, no one had more than 3 fouls.  Any time that happens, I honestly think it's worth lauding.  Admittedly, our defense wasn't good, but considering Notre Dame has statistically the most efficient offense in the nation, I'm willing to make at least a few allowances in terms of raw percentages.

The Downs

Zach Auguste Just Destroyed Us. 21 points, 12 rebounds (including 6 offensive).  7-10 shooting, and 7-7 from the line.  Now, I know Auguste is a really, really good big man, but I honestly feel like with our front line there's no way any big should dominate quite that much, especially on the offensive glass.  It was very frustrating to watch.

Giving Someone A Career High Again. Austin Burgett, who averages only a few points and a few minutes on the season, was thrust into the starting lineup.  My problem is we absolutely made him look like a starter.  5-7 from the field, 4-6 from deep, 5 rebounds, an assist, a block, and 2 steals in 25 minutes.  Our ability to make a brand new guy look like an all-star is endlessly vexing, and if it never happens again, it'll be too soon.

Substitution Patterns. I'm not as down on this as some; I wouldn't go so far as to say any of it is Coach Manning just not knowing what he's doing or being concerned in the long term necessarily, but Doral Moore should, in my opinion, play earlier in games at the very least.  Doral almost always has an immediate impact, and sometimes a little goes a long way, especially in tight games that start as more back and forth affairs.  I really hope to see Doral earlier in the rotation going forward.

The Bottom Line

It was a conference blowout on the road in the middle of a huge losing streak.  Forgive the temporary loss of more delicate language, but that sucks any way you slice it.  That said though, there are some people in the fanbase who are panicking long term, and I don't think that's warranted.  Win-loss records and even point differentials can be deceiving in a vacuum.  The fact that this staff has young pieces like Bryant Crawford, Doral Moore, and John Collins, and some likely very good pieces coming in next season is bracing, at least for the hopeful (or naive, if you're more inclined) types among us.  Let's just hope we get some more wins and additional bright spots for the rest of the season, since unfortunately that seems like pretty much all we've got.  Still, as always:

On to the next.  Go Deacs.

--SF