(Photo credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports)
Maintaining a high energy level has been an issue for both Auburn and Notre Dame in the young season.
Perhaps the marquee stage of the annual Legends Classic will lead to more spirited performances for the Tigers and Fighting Irish on Thursday night when they meet in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Auburn and Notre Dame enter this first all-time meeting between the two with matching 1-1 records. However, neither Tigers coach Bruce Pearl nor first-year Irish boss Micah Shrewsberry are happy with their teams' early performance.
The Tigers fell 88-82 versus No. 15 Baylor to open the season, then earned an 86-71 victory over Southeastern Louisiana on Friday. However, Auburn shot 41.4 percent during the win and has yielded 97 combined points in the second half this season.
"I'm still not happy," Pearl said.
"I'm still having to coach effort and energy. That's a problem."
Auburn's 6-foot-10 Johny Broome has not been much of a problem while totaling 34 points -- on 11-of-22 shooting -- and 22 rebounds, posting double-doubles during both games.
Notre Dame, meanwhile, has struggled out of the gate during its first two games. The Irish trailed Niagara by 12 first-half points before rallying for a 70-63 victory, then fell into an 11-point hole to Western Carolina during Saturday's 71-61 loss.
"We've got to find a way to start better, right?" Shrewsberry said. "Unfortunately, we've been a low-energy group.
"Put that on us coaches to get them better ready from the jump."
Notre Dame has struggled to defend the 3-point shot, allowing opponents to go 14-of-38 (36.8 percent) from behind the arc. Meanwhile, it's 11-of-43 (25.6 percent) shooting from distance through the first two games.
On a positive note for the Irish, freshman Markus Burton, who hails from neighboring Mishawaka, Ind, has totaled 46 points on 17-of-35 shooting to open his collegiate career.
The winner of this contest will face either Oklahoma State or St. Bonaventure in Friday night's championship game. The losers, meanwhile, meet for third place.
--Field Level Media