#15 Notre Dame Fighting Irish: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season.  We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are transitioning to the expanded ACC.  The team has won twenty-plus game in each of the past seven seasons and behind a talented group of guards, should see that streak continue.

NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH
Last Season: T-5th, 11-7 in Big East, 25-10 overall
Predicted ACC Finish: 4th

Projected Depth Chart
C: Garrick Sherman (Sr)/Tom Knight (Sr)
PF:  Austin Burgett (So)/Zach Auguste (So)/Austin Torres (Fr)
G/F: Pat Connaughton (Jr)/V.J. Beachem (Fr)/Cameron Biedscheid (So)
SG: Jerian Grant (Jr)/Steve Vasturia (Fr)
PG: Eric Atkins (Sr)/Demetrius Jackson (Fr)

Gone: F/C-Jack Cooley, F-Scott Martin, PF-Mike Broghammer

2013-2014 Outlook:
Mike Brey returns his experienced backcourt of Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant but also brings in McDonald’s All-American Demetrius Jackson.  Atkins and Grant are interchangeable as each is capable of running the point or playing off the ball since they can both shoot it from deep.  That duo has logged a ton of the minutes the past two seasons but that won’t need to be the case this year.

Jackson’s addition to the roster finally gives the Irish a solid reserve guard who can spell Atkins or Grant and also allows Brey the option to use a true three guard lineup by playing all three of them on the floor at the same time.  Jackson relies more on his quickness, strength, and play-making abilities which should help open up shooting opportunities for Atkins and Grant on the perimeter.

Notre Dame also brings back Pat Connaughton who is a sniper from the outside.  He will start at small forward but can also play some four when Brey goes with a smaller look.  Freshmen V.J. Beachem and Steve Vasturia add depth on the wing.  Beachum is a long, athletic wing while Vasturia is a versatile guard and dangerous outside shooter.  Playing time will be tight among those two which is why it appears as if Cameron Biedscheid, who was a key reserve a year ago, is leaning towards redshirting this season and preserving a year of eligibility.

With Zach Auguste out until late-November/early-December due to a broken wrist, Austin Burgett figures to start at power forward.  He played sparingly as a freshman but is a stretch four who can knock down shots from the outside.  Once Auguste returns, his combination of size, strength, and athleticism should allow him to reclaim the starting spot.  Freshman Austin Torres is an undersized but aggressive power forward who will play early in the year but won’t factor into the rotation once Auguste gets healthy.

Jack Cooley’s graduation means Garrick Sherman takes over in the middle.  The former Michigan State transfer was very productive in a reserve role last season and gives Notre Dame a low post presence and someone who can clog up the paint defensively.  Tom Knight is also a physical low post player and will once again see quality minutes off the bench.

People are sleeping a bit on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish a bit.  With their experience and talent at guard, ND should compete with Duke, North Carolina, and Syracuse at the top of the ACC standings.

Player to Watch: Demetrius Jackson
The addition of Jackson gives Brey so much flexibility that he has lacked with his roster the past couple seasons in having a true third guard who can take some pressure off Atkins and Grant.  It will be hard to take the ball out of the hands of Atkins or Grant, but Jackson is too talented to only play a few minutes a night so I’ll be interested to see how Brey blends the newcomer into the lineup.

Key Non-Conferences Games:
11/17 vs. Indiana State
12/3 at Iowa (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
12/14 vs. Indiana (in Indianapolis)
12/21 vs. Ohio State (in Madison Square Garden)

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#16 Georgetown
#17 Gonzaga
#18 Creighton
#19 Wisconsin
#20 Virginia
#21 Wichita State
#22 VCU
#23 New Mexico
#24 UConn
#25 Indiana
#26 Colorado
#27 Tennessee
#28 Baylor
#29 St. John’s
#30 Harvard
#31 UCLA
#32 Iowa
#33 Boise State
#34 Villanova
#35 Oregon
#36 St. Louis
#37 La Salle
#38 San Diego State
#39 Stanford
#40 Arizona State
#41 BYU
#42 Pitt
#43 California
#44 Iowa State
#45 Providence
#46 Cincinnati
#47 UNLV
#48 Purdue
#49 LSU
#50 Illinois
#51 Xavier
#52 Boston College
#53 Ole Miss
#54 Missouri
#55 Washington
#56 Saint Mary’s
#57 Maryland
#58 Butler
#59 Minnesota
#60 Florida Gulf Coast
#61 Akron
#62 Temple
#63 Alabama
#64 Florida State
#65 Arkansas
#66 N.C. State
#67 Kansas State
#68 Davidson
#69 Dayton
#70 Miami FL
#71 SMU
#72 Texas A&M
#73 Long Beach State
#74 UMass
#75 Northwestern
#76 Indiana State
#77 Georgia Tech
#78 Oklahoma
#79 Richmond
#80 Manhattan
#81 Belmont
#82 Texas
#83 Houston
#84 Washington State
#85 Iona
#86 Oregon State
#87 Louisiana Tech
#88 Towson
#89 Wake Forest
#90 Central Florida
#91 Rutgers
#92 Drexel
#93 USC
#94 Charleston
#95 Seton Hall
#96 Vanderbilt
#97 George Mason
#98 Clemson
#99 Penn State
#100 Nebraska
#101 West Virginia
#102 South Florida
#103 Mississippi State
#104 DePaul
#105 South Carolina
#106 Texas Tech
#107 TCU
#108 Virginia Tech
#109 Georgia
#110 Utah
#111 Auburn

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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