Notre Dame vs Louisville 5 OTs: instant classic

mike brey

ESPN College GameDay picked the right game to feature this week as Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center gave us the game of the regular season. Notre Dame vs Louisville on Saturday night was a 5 OT masterpiece won by ND 104-101. This was reminiscent of the 6 OT Big East Tournament game between UConn and Syracuse. Contests like these make me sad that this is a soon to be defunct conference. This was easily the college basketball game of the year.

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Notre Dame hoops helping New Jersey, victims of Superstorm Sandy

notre dame cheerleading

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called out the GOP majority in the house for dragging their feet on relief for the victims of Superstorm Sandy. And rightfully so, the Republican do nothing congress did even more nothing as relief efforts continue for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, and most notably for those in the state of New Jersey, dragged for weeks behind the aid given for previous hurricanes.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team is now getting involved in the cause. A special online auction will be held from now until January 17th on Notre Dame’s official web site UND.com as fans have the opportunity to bid on several unique items. Proceeds from the auction will be presented to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Christie, a longtime friend of Irish head coach Mike Brey, is scheduled to be in attendance at the Notre Dame-Rutgers game at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 8:00 pm (ET).

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Notre Dame is really overseeded at #7, pick #10 Xavier

mike brey

Last year, Notre Dame leader Mike Brey was named national coach of the year, and deservedly so. This year, he did an even better job. Because he had so much less talent to work with. The Irish (22-11), picked for ninth in the Big East Conference back in October before star player Tim Abromaitis was lost for the season in November with a knee injury, came on strong to finish third with a 13-5 league record.

It was “Ewing Theory” in it’s finest form, because despite losing the only player with any accolade, the Irish weren’t far off (at least in Big East play) from last year’s squad, which earned a #2 seed close to home after being in the discussion for a #1 seed and ranked in the top 5 nationally towards the end of the season.

Last year’s Irish team looked like they could make a lot of noise in the tourney if their shooters stayed hot. It didn’t happen though, as the Irish choked, and got upset by #10 seed Florida State in the SECOND round.

This team on the other hand, looks likely to go nowhere in the big dance.

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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’s Mike Brey: His Best Coaching Job Ever?

brey

Call it Ewing Theory Part Deux. When leading scorer and rebounder Luke Harangody when down with injury in 2010 midseason, Notre Dame Coach Mike Brey rallied his college basketball team out of a losing streak and into a solid NCAA Tournament berth with a few adjustments.

The major adjustment was shifting to the burn offense, which although extremely boring to watch, limits possessions and equalizes talent disparities. When his star player Tim Abromaitis went down for the season with an ACL after he played just two games, Brey had adjustments to make again.

I wrote off the Irish, as did everyone else. Yet here they are with a 6-3 Big East record, and a fantastic tournament resume. How was Brey done it?

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Notre Dame Will Be Tim Abromaitis’ Team This Season

tim abromaitis notre dame

Notre Dame basketball had an unexpected breakthrough season last year, even though it ended very poorly. They had the second best record in the Big East and were just one Big East tournament win away from probably securing a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Of course, there was the disaster upset to #10 seed Florida State very close to home at Chicago’s United Center. Still it doesn’t take away from all that the team accomplished last year.

Last year’s Big East Player of the Year Ben Hansbrough is now playing professionally in Germany.

However, Tim Abromaitis is still in South Bend, and he’s a nightmare match-up due to his ability to stroke it from deep and use his size to back down defenders in the post.

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Notre Dame Blows Out Villanova on Senior Night 93-72

#9 Notre Dame came out of the gates shooting red hot from behind the arc, and the initial surge set the evening’s tone. #14 Villanova was never able to catch their breath and catch up, as they spent pretty much the entire first twenty minutes with half as many points on the scoreboard as the Irish.

ND was especially fired up for their Senior night as they happen to start all seniors (Ben Hansbrough, Tim Abromaitis, Tyrone Nash, Carleton Scott, Scott Martin). Hansbrough got the biggest ovation of all, as the Purcell Pavilion crowd was extremely fired up all night. Interestingly, Scott, Martin and Abro all return a fifth and final year of eligibility next season.

And the Irish gave the Joyce Center crowd plenty of reason to ignite, as they hit their first five treys and shot 58% (11-19) from three in the first half. Nova, by contrast was just 2-10 from behind the arc, and therefore found themselves trailing 47-27 at halftime.

By Paul M. Banks

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Notre Dame Football, Basketball News and Nuggets

-Andy Katz on ESPN.com today suggested  he national coach of the year in college basketball should come from the BIG EAST – and UConn’s Jim Calhoun, Notre Dame’s Mike Brey, Louisville’s Rick Pitino and Steve Lavin of St. John’s as names that should be finalists.

-My vote is Lav all the way! Gotta be the hair.

-Jay Bilas on ESPN.com listed Notre Dame’s Ben Hansbrough as one of his“most-respected players” for this season, saying, “A worker who keeps his head down and keeps coming at you, Hansbrough has quietly joined the front-runners for Big East Player of the Year. He is skilled, strong willed, tenacious and never gives in to fatigue. He just keeps running and keeps competing. He scores and takes big shots, but he is also willing to trail Connecticut’s Kemba Walker around for 40 minutes. Hansbrough does the tough stuff, prepares like a pro and does it all without complaining.”

-And might I add, he’s really “grindy,” just like his brother

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Hansbrough Big East Player of the Year? Abromaitis in NBA Mock Drafts?

Ben Hansbrough

It seems like the #7 Fighting Irish might be the least hyped top ten team of all time. Of course, when you pay attention to some Mike Brey quotes and NBA Draftniks’ work, perhaps that’s changing.

Ben Hansbrough for Big East player of the year? His name certainly has to be in the discussion, but obviously the favorite UConn’s Kemba Walker, and you’d have to place Pittburgh’s Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker well ahead of Hansbrough.

What about national college basketball player of the year, an award his brother won two seasons ago? (Yeah, we don’t think so either, but) Notre Dame coach Mike Brey started the drums beating for his team’s emotional leader after Hansbrough scored 25 points despite a tough start to lead No. 9 Notre Dame to a 76-69 win over Rutgers on Sunday at Purcell Pavilion.

“When you step back a bit, look at this, and get away from the preseason hype machine, certainly he is a Big East player of the year candidate as well as national player of the year,” Brey said.

“Flat out. I mean, we are in the Top Ten and he has driven us into that position and we are in the hunt for the league title. It is starting to be really evaluated. Some people say ‘Let’s see what he does next game.’ Well, he did it again.”

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