The Big East is once again stacked this year. Eight of the top 39 teams in my “99 in 99” college basketball preview rankings call the conference home. Notre Dame comes in at #39 despite losing four-year starters Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson. Click here if you missed teams #40-#99.
You can also check out Paul M. Banks’ story from the Irish’s media day.
By: David Kay
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (T-7th, 10-8 in Big East, 23-12 overall)
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Tyrone Nash (Sr)/Mike Broghammer (So)/Thomas Knight (Fr)
F: Carleton Scott (Sr)/Jack Cooley (So)
SF: Tim Abromaitis (Sr)/Scott Martin (Jr)/Alex Dragicevich (Fr)
SG: Ben Hansbrough (Sr)/Joey Brooks (So)/Jerian Grant (Fr)
PG: Eric Atkins (Fr)
Gone: F/C- Luke Harangody, PG-Tory Jackson, G-Jonathan Peoples, F-Tim Andree
With a 6-8 Big East mark and Luke Harangody sidelined for an undetermined time, it seemed the Fighting Irish would finish with a second straight disappointing season and miss out on the NCAA Tournament. But Mike Brey switched it up without their main man, playing a slowed down style that helped Notre Dame revive their season.
That the Irish were able to adjust without Harangody is an encouraging sign for this up-coming season. Perhaps a bigger loss is that of starting point guard Tory Jackson who was not a stat stuffer but epitomized what is inferred when talking about a floor general. The only true point guard on the roster is freshman Eric Atkins although Ben Hansbrough is capable of running the point as well.
How this duo handle the full-time responsibility of taking over at the point may be the difference between the Irish dancing or having their bubble burst.
“The ball-handling and the leadership stuff is a concern, but again, you got five guys that are their fourth or fifth year of college basketball,” Brey said at Media Day.
“We’re not the fastest group, but we do have good size. We’re bigger in spots altogether than maybe we’ve been in awhile,” he continued.
Tim Abromaitis came out of nowhere to be a dynamic wing scorer averaging 16.1 ppg while shooting nearly 43% from downtown.
“I think just knowing how to play off of each other and keep composure on the road, or in tough situations, it’s something that might not be there right way, but we have enough old guys we should be able to find that,” Abro said.
The addition of Scott Martin should give the Irish another Abromaitis-like player in terms of his versatility on the offensive end.
Martin is a 6-8 wing player who has not played in two years after sitting out a season because his transfer from Purdue and then suffering an ACL injury prior to last season.
“I’m trying not to get too far ahead. The year before I got way too far ahead of myself and it didn’t end well. so I’m trying to be happy that today I can play and tomorrow I can play, and take it from there,” Martin said.
Up-front, it will be a collective effort to replace Harangody. Tyrone Nash started all 35 games last season and should be joined up-front by Carleton Scott unless Brey chooses to go with a smaller line-up by starting Abromaitis and Martin at the forward positions.
Nash and Scott are not the most skilled inside players but bring their high motors and work ethic to the floor. Harangody’s look-alike Jack Cooley will provide some muscle inside as freshmen Mike Broghammer and Thomas Knight will also compete for playing time.
Player to Watch: Tim Abromaitis, SF
Abro is a nightmare of a match-up for opposing coaches. He can stroke it from the outside, put the ball on the deck, and also use his height to post up smaller defenders. For a player who had 20 career points heading into last season, his development is quite incredible. Can he take another step in productivity? If so, the Irish will have a dangerous trio on the wing with Abro, Martin, and Hansbrough.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/25 vs. Georgia (Old Spice Classic)
11/26 vs. Temple/California (Old Spice Classic)
11/28 vs. Wisconsin/Texas A&M/Boston College (Old Spice Classic)
12/8 vs. Kentucky (Big East/SEC Challenge in Louisville)
12/11 vs. Gonzaga
Other 99 in 99’s:
#40 Mississippi State
#41 Utah State
#45 Seton Hall
#46 Wichita State
#47 Washington State
#48 St. Louis
#49 Old Dominion
#51 New Mexico
#55 Southern Mississippi
#56 St. Mary’s
#57 Texas A&M
#59 Arizona State
#60 Northern Iowa
#64 Texas Tech
#65 Miami, FL
#68 Ole Miss
#69 George Mason
#71 Weber State
#74 Central Florida
#75 Wake Forest
#76 Georgia Tech
#78 Oklahoma State
#82 South Carolina
#86 Penn State
#87 South Florida
#89 Boston College
#93 Oregon State
#97. Iowa State
Leave a Reply