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

notre dame cheerleading

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 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.

Mike Brey continues to produce results as Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach.  With pretty much everybody back from last year, ND will once again be a major player in what figures to be their final year as members of the Big East Conference.

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Notre Dame, once written off, look like NCAA Tournament lock now

eric-atkins

When best player Tim Abromaitis went down for the season, Notre Dame was totally written off for the entire college basketball season. Instead, they’ve had a true Ewing Theory going on, just like they did in 2010 when star forward Luke Harangody got injured and missed a lot of games down the stretch.

The Fighting Irish were written off by everyone after some bad losses in November and December. Yet here they are today, among the best teams in the Big East, and a team that beat four ranked opponents in January alone.

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Notre Dame is Now Eric Atkins’ Team

eric-atkins

Notre Dame sophomore guard Eric Atkins has been the alpha for ND this season, especially since Abto went down for the season with a ACL injury. Today he was named a captain along with forwards Tim Abromaitis and Purdue transfer  Scott Martin for the remainder of the 2011-12 season.

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Undefeated and Nationally Ranked Notre Dame Getting Stability from Atkins

eric_atkins

Entering the college basketball season, Notre Dame knew that the primary issue was “who’s going to run the point?” with Tory Jackson, the second leading assist man in school history, graduated.

“You go right into the issue of Tory Jackson leaving the building, you had the ball in his hands 38 minutes a game and you didn’t have to worry, and the toughness factor, and maybe more than anything how he led and helped me manage the locker room,” Head Coach Mike Brey said at Media Day.

Whoever takes over though had one advantage going for them.

“Trying to stay old with the guys who are on the floor for us is very important and we managed our roster to try and be that with red-shirts and transfers and bringing guys along earlier in their careers,” Brey continued.

What about Eric Atkins, the highly heralded freshman from Baltimore?

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