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Notre Dame beats Pitt, but should they be worried?

Feb 18, 2013, 10:05 PM EDT

James Robinson, Jerian Grant AP

Notre Dame’s been a weird team to follow since their five-overtime epic with Louisville.

They’ve gone 2-1, with wins over DePaul and now, a solid, scrappy victory at no. 20 Pittsburgh.

But looking at the numbers Fighting Irish fans might want to keep an eye out. The 38.3-percent shooting is indicative of their past two games, including the 39-percent clip in their 71-54 loss at Providence. Also, don’t discount they allowed a Blue Demons team to shoot 48-percent in a 81-78 overtime win for Notre  Dame.

It’s not that this team isn’t playing to it’s potential, and it’s definitely not that this team is still feeling the effects of the Louisville game. But it’s something to watch.

They’ll need more than the team-high 13 points from Jerian Grant and Jack Cooley. A lot better than the offensive start they had, missing 18 of their first 19 shots.

The Panthers, who hold opponents to 55 points per game, is a solid defensive team. They held the Irish to 19 first half points. Problem is, Notre Dame is a better offensive team than Pittsburgh is defensively. If they let themselves fall behind like that again, who knows what could happen, depending on the opponent.

There won’t be many night when they get the help of Garrick Sherman, who had zero points in just six minutes tonight. And there will be games when they play teams, like the Syracuses and Louisvilles, again, that will combined solid defense with the ability to create offense.

Against teams like that, teams that the Fighting Irish are going to have to beat to make a run through the Big East Tournament, they’ll need to perform better offensively.

If I root for the Irish, I’m not too worried. There’s no need to put my team under the microscope if they’re winning. But it’s obvious that the recent stretch has worn them down. And it’s going to be up to them whether or not it’s going to stay that way or change.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

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