December 23, 2021 

Daily Briefing — Dec. 23, 2021: Notre Dame exorcises its Blue Demons

Nebraska keeps on rolling

Happy Thursday — the workweek’s almost passed! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup, daily Watch List, and Yesterday’s Recap! Day 46 of college basketball is here after a spectacular game between Notre Dame and DePaul that went down to the wire. We’ve got just four total games, all finishing up by mid-afternoon, as we head into the three-day Christmas break!

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(Editor’s note: Daily Briefing will not publish 12/25 and 12/26, since there are no games scheduled 12/24 through 12/26.)

W Roundup

Dallas: Center Charlie Collier received a successful knee scope yesterday, the Wings announced. The 2021 No. 1-overall pick is not expected to miss any time.

(All times in Eastern)

Watch List, Thursday, Dec. 23



Good games


Also watchable

Minnesota @ Drake, 3 p.m., ESPN+

Sickos games


Pac-12 or Big Ten on national television (or national streaming)

See Also watchable

Wednesday, Dec. 22 recap

#12 Texas: 70-53 win over Princeton, seven points better than Seton Hall’s win over the Tigers. Make of that what you will. Shot its second-highest field-goal percentage of the season (51.9%), but on its lowest volume; held Princeton to its lowest shooting performance of the season (28.8%); were out-rebounded for just the second time this season (first since its Nov. 21 loss to Tennessee), including 21 Tiger offensive boards (nearly double the Longhorns’ previous season-high allowed); had its second-fewest assists this season, fewest in a month-and-a-half; forced its third-fewest turnovers and second-fewest fouls of the season. Point is: Princeton played real well, other than shooting 28.8% from the field and 23.1% from three — dear lord did the Tigers miss a bunch of open threes.

Wing Joanne Allen-Taylor led the Longhorns with 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting (2-2 3pt.), three rebounds, two assists, and two steals; point guard Rori Harmon had 15 points on 6-for-8 from the field, seven rebounds, two assists, and three steals against five turnovers and three fouls; big Latasha Lattimore — the consensus^ No. 25 freshman in the country — made her first career start, finishing with three points on 1-for-3 FG, five rebounds (two offensive), and two blocks against three turnovers and four fouls in 19 minutes. Princeton was led by wing Abby Meyers’ 21 points on 9-for-24 from the field and 3-for-13 from three, five rebounds, two assists, and two blocks against three turnovers; big Ellie Mitchell notched a double-double on 10 points (3-7 FG, 4-6 FT) and 16 rebounds (career-high 12 offensive) with two assists and four steals against three turnovers and four fouls; combo guard Kaitlyn Chen, combo guard Julia Cunningham, and wing Grace Stone combined for 14 points on 4-for-26 from the field (Cunninngham 0-5 3pt., Stone 2-3 3pt.), 10 turnovers, and 10 fouls, with Chen and Cunningham adding 11 rebounds and eight assists.

Texas closes the competitive portion of its non-conference schedule 9-1, with a big win over Stanford, quality wins over Jackson State, Texas A&M, and Princeton, and a quality loss to Tennessee. Princeton finishes its non-conference with a quality win over FGCU, quality losses to Rhode Island, Fordham, and Texas, and a bad loss to Seton Hall. (Keep an eye out, though: That Seton Hall loss might not look so bad in a couple months.)

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#9 Michigan: Did not play its scheduled game against Eastern Michigan, as announced last Thursday. The Eagles elected not to specify a reason, but the Michigan Daily noted it was “due to COVID-19 concerns in the Eagles [sic] program,” — and IUPUI directly stated Eastern Michigan had positive cases.

Michigan finishes its non-conference slate 11-1, with quality wins over IUPUI, Oregon State, and Baylor, and a bad loss to Louisville (the Cardinals are very good — Michigan just got demolished).

#20 Notre Dame, RV* DePaul: The Irish beat the Blue Demons 91-86, snapping a DePaul seven-game winning streak. The teams combined to shoot 50.0% from the field and a surprising 18.9% from three, Notre Dame’s lowest and DePaul’s second-lowest marks from deep on the season; the Irish were +25 in rebounding, including 24 offensive boards; the Irish committed 18 turnovers, while the Blue Demons had 22 fouls.

Notre Dame was led by center Maya Dodson’s 28 points on 13-for-21 FG and eight rebounds (seven offensive) — career-highs in all but total rebounds — and season-high six turnovers; point guard Olivia Miles had 20 points on 8-for-14 shooting (2-5 3pt.), six rebounds, eight assists, and two steals against five turnovers; big wing Maddy Westbeld scored 22 points on 7-for-10 from the field and 8-for-10 from the line with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and no turnovers in 29 minutes; combo guard Dara Mabrey went 1-for-12 from the field and 0-for-9 from three. DePaul big Aneesah Morrow had a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double on 8-for-16 FG (0-4 3pt.) with a pair of steals and six turnovers while unintentionally fouling out in 31 minutes; wing Darrione Rogers notched 14 points on 6-for-12 from the field and 2-for-6 from three, seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals against three turnovers; point guard Lexi Held scored 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting (2-2 3pt.) with four assists against two turnovers without sitting.

Notre Dame heads into ACC play with an 11-2 record, with quality wins over Fordham, Oregon State, and DePaul, with a quality loss to Georgia and expected loss to UConn (back when the Huskies were healthy). DePaul ends its non-conference schedule with quality wins over Northwestern and Kentucky, quality losses to Arizona and Notre Dame, and a bad loss to Texas A&M (it lost by 20).

RV Nebraska: 72-61 win over Wyoming, two points worse than Tulane’s win over the Cowgirls. Make of that what you will. Held Wyoming to 36.1% from the field and 25.0% from three. Combo guard Jaz Shelley finished three assists shy of a triple-double, with 12 points on 5-for-9 shooting (2-4 3pt.), 11 rebounds, and seven assists against just one turnover; bench big Annika Stewart had 21 points on 8-for-13 from the field and 3-for-7 from three with three blocks — all career-highs — in a season-high-tying 15 minutes; combo forward Isabella Bourne had 13 points on 5-for-7 FG (2-3 3pt.) and three rebounds.

Nebraska closes its non-conference schedule 12-0 — its first such start since the Huskers’ dominant 2009-10 season — with quality wins over Creighton, possibly Minnesota (who’ve looked lively since an abysmal start), and Drake.

Butler: 75-67 win over Evansville, the Bulldogs’ first win of the season after losing their opening 10. 

Hartford: 86-40 loss to UMass. The Hawks finish their non-conference schedule 0-11 with the eighth-worst Her Hoop Stats rating and the seventh-worst NET in the nation. Now Hartford takes on a conference in which it was projected to finish last.

UIC: Did not play its scheduled game against Kansas State “due to COVID-related matters within the Flames’ Tier 1 personnel” — i.e. positive case(s) — resulting in a shutdown through New Year’s Eve, as announced Monday.

Belmont: Did not play its scheduled game against Western Kentucky “due to COVID-19 complications” — i.e. positive case(s) — as announced Friday, putting the program “on pause through Christmas.”

Siena: Did not play its scheduled game against Syracuse “out of an abundance of caution after Siena learned of confirmed positive COVID-19 tests from a recent opponent” — that team being Rider, which has paused all operations because of tier-one positive tests — as announced at scheduled tipoff time. The game will reportedly be rescheduled.

VCU: Did not play its scheduled game against Delaware “due to COVID-19 protocols” — i.e. positive COVID case(s) within the program — as announced Tuesday.

Towson: Did not play its scheduled game against Penn State due to “due to positive COVID-19 tests within the Towson program,” as announced Friday.

Texas Southern: Did not play its scheduled game against Virginia “for the health and safety of the program’s student-athletes,” as all Tiger operations have been paused. I have no idea what the direct impetus was for this, either.

Northeastern: Did not play its scheduled game against Maine “due to positive COVID-19 test results within the Northeastern program,” as announced Tuesday.

Lafayette: Did not play its scheduled game against Long Island for an unspecified reason. The game will reportedly be rescheduled.

Lamar: Did not play its scheduled game against SE Louisiana “due to positive COVID-19 test results within the Cardinals’ program,” as announced Tuesday. Although they could’ve had a little more tact about it:

Strong “Sam Darnold: Out Indefinitely/Mononucleosis” vibes (Source: Lamar Athletics)

Blown leads

Tulsa: 78-76 loss to San Francisco. Had a 98.7% win expectancy with a 10-point and four minutes remaining, then went 0-for-7 from the field to close, including three missed layups.

*Receiving Votes
^Consensus rankings are drawn from an aggregation of ESPN, Blue Star, Prep Girls, ASGR, and Prospects Nation

Written by Em Adler

Em Adler (she/they) covers the WNBA at large and college basketball for The Next, with a focus on player development and the game behind the game.

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