SALT LAKE CITY — After spending three days analyzing game film, Utah interim head coach Anthony Levrets said he has learned something about his team's NCAA Tournament first-round opponent.

"They're really talented," he said of No. 2-seeded Notre Dame. "They have some very good players."

The Utes (18-16), who earned a No. 15 seed, will host the Fighting Irish (26-7) at the Huntsman Center in the 4:30 p.m. game on Saturday after No. 7 Arizona State and No. 10 Temple meet at 2 p.m.

"They have some very good players," he added, "and they're well-coached, they're a good defensive team, they're sound in every facet of the game."

Notre Dame earned an at-large bid after losing to top-ranked Connecticut in the Big East tournament championship game by nine points. The Irish are ranked seventh in the coaches' poll and ninth by the Associated Press.

"Fortunately it's not one-on-one," Levrets said. "All five (players on the floor) will have a job to do and we will have to be (sound in every facet) too. We will work to keep the game close and, in the end, hopefully we'll make a few shots."

Remaining within striking distance and then hitting critical shots as time winds down is not a new concept for the Utes, who have had 21 games this season decided by 10 points or less — including their last two. Utah's Michelle Plouffe hit big shots at the end of both the Mountain West Conference tournament semifinal against BYU and in the championship game against TCU for upset victories to clinch the NCAA tournament berth.

"I'm proud of my team," Levrets said. "We have progressed through many, many tribulations, and I always thought they would be playing their best basketball by the end of the season."

He was especially confident that forward Michelle Harrison would be a major contributor at this point in the year. As one of two seniors on the Utes' roster, Harrison has always had experience on her side. However, she is still in her first year at Utah after transferring from Stanford last summer.

After scoring 14 points in the Utes' home-opener against the Cardinal, Harrison struggled to score with consistency. She established herself as a rebounder, averaging 6.4 boards per contest and leading the team in rebounding in 11 games, and finally broke through with a 15-point, eight-rebound night in Utah's win over Air Force in the MWC Tournament.

"I thought by the end Harrison would score some points, and she has," Levrets said. "We've gotten points from our main contributors—Michelle Plouffe, Iwalani Rodrigues and Janita Badon — but in that tournament, the other girls stepped up big too."

He added that Harrison, Diana Rolniak, Rachel Messer and Chelsea Bridgewater each hit timely shots in the MWC Tournament, and that they'll have to continue to do so for the Utes' to be competitive against Notre Dame.

"Everyone has to make contributions, and lately, everyone who has had an opportunity has stepped up. Now, we're working hard to prepare and get ready for a good game on Saturday."

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