Phil Martelli impressed with Notre Dame's poise

Phil Martelli has all five starters back, plus last season's A-10 sixth man of the year in Ronald Roberts Jr. (Seth Wenig/AP)

St. Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli says he is impressed with so many aspects of Notre Dame’s game, beginning with the Fighting Irish’s poise.

The Hawks meet Notre Dame in tonight’s 9:30 p.m. meeting in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. BYU takes on Florida State in the 7 p.m. game with the winners meeting in Saturday’s 9:30 p.m. final.

"They are fabulous passers, but willing passers," Martelli says of the 2-0 Irish. "They understand spacing and are never in a hurry on offense."

And he says he is as impressed on the other side of the ball.

"They stay after you on defense and even on defense they don’t rush, but they make you work."

One of the keys will be containing 6-9 Notre Dame senior Jack Cooley and while Martelli admits he will be handful, the Hawks coach says that Garrick Sherman, a 6-10 transfer from Michigan State looks to be a welcome addition.

"He fits in perfectly," Martelli said. "He is a big body who does a good job of catching the ball and finishing."

So the Hawks will have many things to worry about, but Notre Dame must be concerned with a number of issues, including Langston Galloway’s shooting, C.J. Aiken’s ability to block shots and the work inside of Ronald Roberts and Halil Kanacevic

"They are an older team and they play basketball with a lot of poise," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said of the Hawks. "They play together and it will be a great challenge for us."