Monday, December 29, 2008

Big East Play is Here


Well it's here,  the conference games are finally starting.  And this year it is going to be an even tougher and more competitive than ever before.  Depending on which poll you look at (AP or ESPN) there are 9 teams from the Big East that are ranked in at least one of the polls.  Luckily for the Irish they kick off their Big East play with DePaul, a team that will be much easier to play than the conference elite.  The Irish should be able to secure an early victory going into what will be a very tough stretch ahead.  

A lot of people are questioning the Irish home-court winning streak, which is now at 43 games.  No one thought two years ago that the Irish would still have their winning streak after Big East play, and they thought the same thing last year.  And guess what, they think the same thing this year.  This will certainly be a test for the team, but I think they can do it.

The biggest test of all for the Irish will be keeping up with the teams that hurt them in the past.  Notre Dame usually has trouble with the more physical and athletic teams in the conference, such as Georgetown and UConn.  The keys for these games will be to stay composed and to not try to play the fast-break running game that these teams like to play.  

 Today was the Big East opening night for two teams and the game was a dandy.  The #2 team in the land Connecticut took on the the #8 team Georgetown at their home court.  However, that did not stop the Hoyas from out playing and out working the Huskies to earn a huge win for the team.  Final Score: Georgetown- 74 Connecticut- 63

The Irish opener at DePaul will be on ESPN 2 at 8pm on New Years Eve.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Irish Blow By Savannah State, 81-49


Luke Harangody scored 23 points and had 13 rebounds to carry the team vs the un-ranked Savannah State.  This however, will be last game the Irish will just win easily.  Big East play opens up with DePaul on New Year's Eve.  The streak now stands at 43, but with the Big East coming up it's going to be real test to see if the team can keep the longest home-court winning streak in school history in tact.  

And congratulations to Kyle McAlarney for scoring 1,000 points in his career.  He broke the threshold with a 3 pointer last night.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Back in the Top 10

With a big win over Deleware State and a few upsets this week, the Irish have managed to get back in the top top 10.  The Irish come in at 8 in this weeks AP poll.  However I believe this week is the biggest difference in the ESPN and AP poll.  The Irish come in ahead of Texas, Georgetown, and UCLA in one poll but behind them in the ESPN/USA Today poll at 11.  And I have to admit I didn't think it was going to happen after the loss to un-ranked Ohio State, but it's all good.  

The squad will take on one more cream puff before the exciting games of the Big East get underway.  The Game is against Savannah State.  You can watch it online at UND.com.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Update

We were experiencing technical difficulties that last few days, but I am sure you know what has happened since.  The Irish defeated the Boston University Terriers in a game that was 20 points closer than it should of been.  Harangody once again carried the team and stayed composed late to ensure a Irish victory.  

The Homecourt winning streak now stands at 41, still the second longest current streak.  

The next game should be easy for the Irish, however if you look at the BU game maybe not.  The Irish will face Deleware State on the 20th.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Irish upset by Ohio State


Harangody carried the team even with his sickness, yet it was not enough to stop Ohio State from winning.  Kyle McAlarney was shut down offensively, he didn't make one 3 pointer.  He finished with 6 points in a very frustrating game for him. 

Today's game showed a major flaw in the Irish.  If your a decent team, all you have to do is shut down either K-Mac or Gody.  If you can stop one of them, you will have a reasonable chance to win the game.  They are no other consistant scorers on the team.  Ayers sometimes will have a 6 point game and then a 20 point game.  The same thing goes with Hillesland and Jackson.  Zeller and Peoples hardly ever score more than 10 points a game.  Someone needs to step up when one of the scorers are being shut down and it didn't happen today.

The Irish had a chance to tie the game with 12 seconds to go and down by 3 points.  Ohio State called time out and gave the Irish a chance to come up with something.  However, the Irish used the "classic Chris Quinn play" to try to tie the game.  If you remember, 3 seasons ago when Chris Quinn was the point guard, the Irish would always be in a close game (and always lose) and it usually came down to the final play.  Quinn would end up taking a deep 30 foot 3 pointer and it would bounce off the rim to end the game.  That's exactly what Kyle McAlarney did today.  He hoisted up shot just like Quinn would and it missed, causing the Buckeyes to win.  I don't know if that was Mac's or Brey's call, but you would think with the timeout, a better play would be drawn up.  

This was the last tough game for the Irish until the Big East starts up, so unless something crazy happens, the Irish should look to go in to Big East play with 2 loses.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Irish down South Dakota, 102-76


South Dakota must have not thought Notre Dame could shoot the 3 ball.  They came out in an ordinary 2-3 zone, and then were absolutely lit up.  The Irish hit a new school record with 19 three point shots made.  The game also moved the Irish home court win streak to 40, also a new school record.  The previous all-time record was 38 before the Irish defeated Furman on Sunday to finally pass the long standing streak.  

Ryan Ayers had the best game of his life, simply put.  Before this game Ayers career high was 19 points.  However, Ryan exploded out with 35 points.  He hit nine 3s, the most ever for him in one game.  With Harangody out everyone else needs to step it up, and Ayers certainly did a little more than that.

McAlarney had a great game, scoring 27 points with seven 3s.  With Gody out, the Irish can definitely be defined as a 3 point shooting team.  McAlarney was just shy of having yet another 30 point game this year.

UPDATE ON GODY: Day to Day, could possibly be ready to take on Ohio State this weekend.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Irish Easily Defeat Furman, 93-61

After a loss to top-ranked North Carolina, the Irish easily bounced back with a win over Furman.  Luke Harangody did not play due to his health, and he is expected to be back in the lineup in 2-3 weeks.  The win also moves the home court winning streak to 39 games won in a row.  Immediately after the game the team took a picture at half court to recognize the new school record.

K-Mac lead the way with 32 points and he did all with having being elbowed in the second half which lead to five stitches in his upper lip.  Obviously his shooting 'slump' was just 2 off days in a row because he has been on fire since.  This makes McAlarney the first Irish player to score 30 points in back-to-back games since Troy Murphy in 2000.  Ryan Ayers contributed 19 points, a new career high for him. Jackson had 17 points and 8 assists.  He also got 6 boards to do his part to make up for the absence of Harangody.  


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Luke Harangody out with Pneumonia Indefinitely

Mike Brey has said there is no time table for his return, the main concern is his health.  The lucky part for the Irish is that this unfortunate situation is happening during the non-conference season where the games won't be as important and tough.  My last post I was a little tough on Luke's not so stellar performance vs North Carolina, well he played fabulous for having Pneumonia. 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Maui Day 3: Irish fall to #1 North Carolina, 102-87


If you are not 100% you can't beat North Carolina, and the Irish showed that they were tired.  Notre Dame got outplayed, and after two easy wins for NC they seemed fresher than ever out on the floor.  Whenever you play a team that is the 'best' some players just don't play like they usually do. 

Harangody was one of them.  He didn't look like himself, maybe it was because he was sick before the game but thats not an excuse.  Gody played terrible defense, the North Carolina post players (including Hansbrough who had 34 points) walked all over him.  He also didn't look that confident offensively with the ball.  

Tory Jackson did not seem like himself out there as well.  He commit lots of turn overs that you normally never see from him.  I have never seen anyone strip the ball away from him like NC was able to do.

Kyle McAlarney had a great night however.  He didn't let the pressure or anything get to him.  He hit 10 3s and contributed 39 points for the Irish effort.  He really stepped it up when he needed to. 

Well Maui is all over, the Irish leave with second place which was probably their realistic goal.  Above is a picture of Luke Zeller's parents supporting both his and his brother, Tyler's teams. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Maui Day 2: Irish Edge #7 Texas in a Thriller, 81-80


Before this game, the closest game in this years annual Maui tournament was 18.  This game can right down to the very end however, resulting in a one point win for the Irish.  The game stayed within single digits the whole game and near the 2 minute mark it seemed Notre Dame was going to pull away for the victory once they extended their late lead to 8.  However, late 3s from the Texas team and missed free throws brought the Irish lead to 1 with 4.5 seconds left.  Harangody was fouled instantly and sent to the line.  He missed both, Texas' AJ Abrams grabbed the board and hoisted up the shot from around half court that was on target, but it hit off the front of the rim and gave the Irish the victory.

Harangody did everything he could for the Irish.  He contributed 29 points and 13 rebounds.  He even banked a deep 3 from about 4o feet as the shot clock expired in the second half.  Even though Harangody missed that last two foul shots that could of potentially threw the game away, his effort still propelled the Irish to their impressive win.  A win is a win and the team got it, as Gody said himself after the game, you can't keeping reflecting on the mistakes you made and what you could have done differently.  

Kyle McAlarney also had a stellar night.  He hit five 3s and had a total of 19 points, he was the go to guy for the Irish tonight when they needed a bucket.  Tory Jackson also had another good night with 16 points and 7 assists.  Everyone really played on their A game, which is the main reason why the Irish were able to defeat their fellow top 10 opponent.  

Notre Dame will likely take on North Carolina tomorrow night for the championship.  If Notre Dame wants to take down #1 they will definitely have to play their A game...and then some.  However, look for tomorrows game to be a close hard fought battle with a couple of family rivalries going on.  Luke Zeller's brother, Tyler, is the Tar Heels and Ben Hansbrough's brother, also Tyler, is also on the Tar Heels.  However, Tyler Zeller will not play for the Tar Heels due to injury and Ben Hansbrough will not play for the Irish under transfer rules.  While the family members may not actually play against each other, the competitiveness will still be there.  


Monday, November 24, 2008

Maui Day 1: Irish Destroy In-state Rivals Indiana, 88-50

The Hoosiers are obviously rebuilding and not going to have a year like the ones that they are accustomed to having.  However, you would never know by looking at the fans.  Both teams brought a significant amount of their faithful with them, but even when Indiana was down 30 in the second half, the Hoosier fans kept cheering at every good play their team made.  The atmosphere was really incredible for two teams at a neutral site thousands of miles away from home.

The Irish started early taking a quick lead and never looking back.  Watching the game today you couldn't tell who was the star of the team.  Everyone played so unselfish it was amazing, classic Notre Dame ball.  Jackson, however, did stand out above the rest tonight.  Jackson had a career high 22 points and made lots of smart decisions with the ball.  Luke Zeller also played well picking up his first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.  The game was never really close, but it was very satisfying to pound on Tom Crean, the new coach of Indiana (previously the head coach of Marquette).  

The next game for the Irish will be a tough one.  The Irish will take on the 7th ranked Longhorns of Texas in a game that will be one to remember.  The game should be very interesting, seeing how it will be both teams first real test if the season.  The game will be on ESPN tomorrow at 7pm ET.  

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Maui

The Maui Invitational Tournament could be the most competitive ever.  The teams include the host Chaminade (a division 2 program), Saint Joe's, (7)Texas, (8)Notre Dame, Indiana, (1)North Carolina, Alabama, and Oregon.  The tournament should be great and real competitive, here is the full bracket showing the match-ups:

Here are the Notre Dame Basketball blog's predictions for what will happen in the tournament, staying on the winners bracket side.

1st Round Winners:
Texas (by 15)
Notre Dame (by 15)
North Carolina (by 30+)
Oregon (by 10)

2nd Round Winners:
Notre Dame (by 5)
North Carolina (by 15)

Championship:
North Carolina (by 10)


While we tend to have some what biased (to say the least) predictions when it comes to Notre Dame basketball games, this prediction seems very realistic to us.  North Carolina, if Hansbrough is 100%,  should be able to handle the Irish or Texas in the finals

Notre Dame Wins... Not Easily 65-54

A W is a W but this one might have been too close for comfort.  The 8th ranked Irish had their lead cut down to three late in the second half, however they held on for an 11 point victory at Loyala Marymount. 

Harangody had an impressive game, but not out of the usual with 27 points and 17 rebounds.  Jackson also added 16 points for the Irish.

Now its on to Maui

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Irish Defeat USC Upstate 94-58


The Irish, not surprisingly, destroyed the South Carolina Upstate Spartins tonight.  Harangody contributed 30 points and 14 rebounds, another double-double, to give a Notre Dame an easy win at home.  This moves the current streak to 38, the second highest current home-court winning streak in the nation.  BYU is first.  The win tonight has also tied the Notre Dame's previous longest home-court winning streak.

Harangody wasted no time showing that he has worked on his outside game.  The Irish opened up the second half with Harangody's 4th career three-pointer.  If you remember all 3 of Luke's other 3s were made vs Louisville in one game where Harangody almost single-handedly pulled the team back into the game.  

Luke Zeller scored a career high 18 points, McAlarney added 10 and Zach Hillesland contributed 13 points to the effort.

The season is off to a good start.

Poll Results: Who will contribute most to the Irish next year?

Luke Harangody: 66%
Kyle McAlarney: 26%
Tory Jackson : 4%
Zach Hillesland 2%


It's tough competing against the Big East player of the year.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sports Illustrated Cover



In their college basketball pre-season poll the Irish come in ranked 6.  The Irish will play their first game on Sunday, it is sure to be a blow-out but will be exciting to watch.  This is one of the few Irish games that won't be nationally televised this season, however for those who wish to watch; go to UND.com and under the mens basketball schedule their will be a link to watch the game online for free.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

AP Top 25, Irish to Set to Play Top 5 Teams

The AP has the Irish ranked 9 just as ESPN/USA Today does. The top 5 however is slightly different; 1. North Carolina, 2. UConn, 3. Louisville, 4. UCLA, 5. Pittsburgh. It's for sure that the Irish will play UConn, Louisville, UCLA, and Pittsburgh (the Huskies twice as a matter of fact.) North Carolina is likely. The Irish and North Carolina will both play in the annual Maui Invitational Tournament, I can't imagine either of the teams not making it to the finals.

So just how hard is Notre Dame's schedule? Beside playing the top 5 teams in the country, they will also face another 3 teams in the Top 25 and then compete in the toughest conference there
is.

The full poll:






Saturday, November 1, 2008

Irish Name Captains, Defeat Briar Cliff, 103-64

Kyle McAlarney, Luke Zeller, Ryan Ayers, and Zach Hillesland have been named the captains for the 2008-2009 season and it marks the 5th time in Notre Dame history that the role of captain has been shared by 4 players.  

Notre Dame also played their first exhibition game of the season on Halloween night and easily defeated the Briar Cliff Charger.  All 5 starters scored in double digits, Ayers was on fire the whole night with 21 points, Jackson contributed with a game-high 18 points, Harangody had yet another double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, and McAlarney and Zeller added 11 and 12 points.  Tim Abromiatis saw good minutes and picked up 8 points and 4 rebounds, and Charleton Scott also had a good night with 6 points and 4 rebounds.  

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Irish Nationally Recognized

The first pre-season poll came out today and is good news for the Irish and the other teams in the Big East.  The Irish are ranked 9th in the new ESPN/USA Today Preseason poll, the highest pre-season coaches poll ranking ever for Notre Dame.  The last two seasons Notre Dame was not recognized in preseason polls even though both seasons resulted in at-large NCAA bids.  This year however, is different.  With pretty much everyone returning the Irish are now a team to be reckoned with.  

Irish Previous Pre-season Rankings
2006-2007:
Preseason Conference Rank: 12
Actual Rank: 4
Preseason National Rank: None
Actual Rank: 21

2007-2008:
Preseason Conference Rank: 9
Actual Rank: 2
Preseason National Rank: None
Actual Rank: 14

Here is the full poll which includes 7 Big East teams.






Friday, October 24, 2008

Pre-season Big East Poll (Vote)

1. Connecticut
2. Louisville
3. Pittsburgh
4. Notre Dame
5. Villanova
6. Marquette
7. Georgetown
8. Syracuse
9. West Virginia
10. Providence
11. Cincinnati
12. Rutgers
13. Seton Hall
14. St. John's
15. DePaul
16. USF

Notre Dame has been underestimated in the preseason polls for the last 3 seasons and I don't think season will be an exception.  Notre Dame will certainly live up to their current 4 ranking in the conference and most likely be better than it.

On the side you can vote for who YOU think will win the Big East this year.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Notre Dame 08-09 Schedule Announced

Months after some conferences released their teams schedules, the Big East has finally got there schedule out.  The bigger games are in blue. Here is the toughest season ever for the Irish:

Non-Conference Games
November 18: VS South Carolina Upstate
November 21: AT Loyola Marymount
Maui Classic
November 30: VS Furman
December 1: VS South Dakota
December 6: Ohio State (neutral site)
December 13: VS Boston University
December 20: VS Delaware State
December 22: VS Savannah State
*Road Games in December yet to be officially announced

Conference Play
December 31: AT DePaul
January 3: AT St. John's
January 5: VS Georgetown
January 10: VS Seton Hall
January 12: AT Louisville
January 17: AT Syracuse
January 24: VS Connecticut
January 26: AT Marquette
January 31: AT Pittsburgh 
February 4: VS Cincinnati 
February 7: AT UCLA
February 12: VS Louisville
February 15: VS South Florida
February 18: AT West Virginia
February 21: AT Providence
February 25: VS Rutgers
February 28: AT Connecticut
March 2: VS Villanova
March 6: VS St. John's

This season the team will have 14 games covered on the ESPN family and will have 2 nationally televised games on CBS.  The games not covered by these stations will likely be locally broadcasted and available through the ESPN full court college basketball television package.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

College Gameday to visit the Joyce Center


For the first time in school history the ESPN's College Basketball Gameday show will visit the Joyce Center for the Big East match-up vs Connecticut.  College Basketball Gameday usually visits teams where the students are loud and where they are great games played, and Notre Dame certainly fits the bill. 

ND basketball is becoming increasingly popular.  It seems more and more games are nationally televised every year.   By coming to the campus, College Basketball Gameday will only increase Notre Dame's rising basketball popularity and will help to make the college known for something other than football.  This season is already becoming exciting.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

OFF TOPIC: Tampa Bay Rays


Why are Tampa Bay Ray fans the only one's who hold up this kind of sign?  I mean seriously, Holy Cow? Awesome? Can't you just yell those things not hold up a sign.  I guess only crazy people could stick with a team that finishes in last place every season. But, holy cow is it there time now, good for them. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

2008 Maui Invitational Bracket Announced


Click to Enlarge


Notre Dame is set to play in-state rival Indiana in the first round.  I am not going to do the whole run down again, you can look back in older posts to see it.  I am very excited for this, great teams and  it could turn into a great start to the season for the Irish


Friday, July 18, 2008

Schedule Shaping up to be Toughest Yet



Irish fans are accustomed to an easy non-conference schedule.  Mike Brey has always loved to stack the non-conference schedule with 'gimmes' against teams who most people have never even heard of.  Even though the full Irish schedule has not been released yet,  information has spread from other teams and the news is very exciting.

As most of you know in early November the Irish are set to play in Maui, and against some very tough opponents.  The opposition includes Alabama, Indiana, North Carolina, Oregon, St. Joe's, and Texas.  A very prestigious group of teams to say the least.  I really hope the Irish get shot at North Carolina.  A Harangody-Hansbrough game would have the media in a frenzy!  Also it would give Luke Zeller a chance to play against his going to be freshmen brother, Tyler Zeller who signed with the Tar Heels.  And with Ben Hansbrough on the bench this year, he will be able to see his brother play against his team.  It would be one big family re-union and one great game.  A Maui Tournament win could almost guarantee a play-off birth for the Irish.

UCLA has just recently announced their full schedule and guess who is in it? Yup, Notre Dame.  On December 2nd, right in the thick of ruthless conference play, the Irish will head on over to the west coast for a game against the Bruins.   The Bruins had an amazing season last year finishing in the top 5 and making it to the Final Four as a 1 seed.  UCLA will have a good chunk off their team back and will be strong once again.  I will be looking forward to this game as well.

Just announced recently, the Irish have been slated for a double-header on December 6th.  The Irish will play Ohio State while Indiana, with new evil coach Tom Crean, will play Gonzaga.  These games are to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. 

I am assuming that these will be the main non-conference contests, but I could be wrong.  Once the Big East figures out the conference game dates and the full schedule is announced we will find out.  


Monday, July 7, 2008

Mike Brey Staying Put at Notre Dame


Mike Brey is showing no signs of leaving the Irish basketball organization anytime soon.  Mike Brey has just signed an extension to his contract that will tack on another two years.  This means that Brey will be with us at least till 2015.  

Brey already has nine years under his belt along the sidelines of Notre Dame and is not planning on leaving.  This is obviously good news for the program.  In his nine seasons Brey has a very impressive 167-86 record and has advanced his team to the post-season every time, including 5 NCAA Tournament Births.  On top of that, in the last two seasons Brey has been named the Big East Coach of the Year.

While some criticize Brey for his poor post-season performances, I am very happy that he is returning.  Although his post-season record is far worse than his overall, I still believe that he is the perfect coach for the team.  I am very confident that the post-season record will improve over time.  And I don't think it is fair to give him all the blame for the mediocre post-seasons the Irish have had. 

I predict that Brey will retire here.  I am sure that Brey will bring more successful seasons to the organization.  This move will be great for the long-term success of the program

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Irish to play Huskies, Red Storm, and Cardinals Twice


While the whole 2008-2009 schedule is not released yet, it is confirmed that the Big East schedule will remain in the same format.  18 games total, in which everyone plays everyone once and 3 teams twice.  

Two Irish-Huskies games has made me excited.  From Connecticut, I am happy I will be able to see the Irish play more than just at the Big East Tourney.  It surprises me too because last year the Huskies were one of the teams the Irish played twice and I didn't expect to see it scheduled the same way again this year.  Nonetheless, I expect two really good games again.

St. John's was not much of a threat last year and they don't seem to have improved drastically this year.  This might turn into too relatively easy wins for the Irish, if there is such a thing in the Big East.  Louisville finished second in the conference last year, tied with the Irish, they will certainly provide two tough games. 

At home the Irish will see Connecticut, Louisville, St. John's. Georgetown, Maurquette, Rutgers, Seton Hall, South Florida and Villanova from the Big East.  Now the streak will have a tough time surviving these teams, but hey, there is no way you are going to get an easy schedule if you are in this conference.

When the full schedule is up, I will post a link.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Good in the Long Run


The long run is looking very good for the program.  Let me start by saying that the Irish will be better next year, with there top scorers returning they will sure make just as much and more noise than they did last year.  The new incoming freshmen will certainly play a role and Harangody and McAlarney will carry the team once again.  

However, the future may be looking even more bright for the next seasons yet to come.  From the commitment of two big-name transfers to the return of Anthony Solomon, who did great on the coaching staff a few years ago, the Irish look like they are going to be good for the next 3 years.  On top of that the recruiting class of the 09-10 year is looking like one of the best. 

Here is a look at the rest of this decade, maybe you will see what I mean.

2008-2009: I have heard a lot of different sources say that Notre Dame may a serious national  title contender.  Whether you believe this or not that is what I have heard.  Everyone will be returning but, Kurz who I believe will be filled in well by Zeller and Nash.  The team can only be better than last year I think with a year strong off season and a good start to next season, a championship may not be that far from reach.  

2009-2010: McAlarney, Ayers, and Zeller will be gone.  All three of those players contribute alot.   Thats where the new recruits come in.  Hansbrough and Martin will fill in those spots extremely well.  Then in the post more room for Nash and Scott will be opened.  If Hansbrough and Martin play as well as expected and adjust well to the new school, Notre Dame will be just as good as the year before. But, this all  depends on Luke Harangody.  If he leaves early to the NBA he is unreplacable.  I doubt it though,  I think he is smart and will make the right choice to stay.
 
Well, this will probably the last thing I say till we get close to the start of next season, unless something important like another transfer or a staff change, but I think in the years to come it will be good to be an Irish basketball fan.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Scott Martin Transfers to Notre Dame


Yes it is final, Scott Martin has chosen Notre Dame.  The Purdue transfer was looking at Notre Dame, Butler, DePaul, and Valparaiso.  I think he made the best choice.  Martin will have 3 years of eligibility with the Irish after he sits out the required year.   The 6-8 foot freshmen averaged 9 points per game and 4 rebounds, not bad at all for a freshmen off the bench.

Scott should help the Irish out a lot.  His size is needed and having him, Harangody and Tyrone Nash down low will present a very athletic and intimidating post in two years.  Martin was ranked 29 on the national list of recruits for last recruiting season.  These two big-name recruits will certainly come in handy for the Irish down the road.  Ben Hansbrough should be able to take the place of Kyle McAlarney with some hard work and Martin will certainly have a big impact on the block.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

College 3 Point Line to be Moved Back

It is a deal ready to be closed, the 3 point line will likely be moved back a whole foot starting next season.  The new proposal is expected to be approved tomorrow by the Playing Rules Oversight Committee. However, the size of the lane will stay the same.  The reason for the change was to prevent to much 'jamming of the court' and to prevent as much physical play.  Personally I disagree with this rule and I am very much hoping it is shot down.  Physical play is always all in good fun.  

So what does this all mean for the Irish who were 7th in the country in 3 point percentage and what does it mean for all the other teams.  Personally  I don't think it will have much affect on players that shoot the 3 for there main offense.  Kyle McAlarney, I am sure won't have a problem adjusting.  I just think big men who shoot 3s will feel the effect.  Luke Zeller will have a harder time finding his 3 pointers.  He loves to shoot them but it is hard for a big guy to get out of the paint to throw up a 3 without risking losing the rebound, and the extra foot back could make a big difference.  

So we will see how the committee rules, but don't get your hopes up for the rule to be rejected.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Irish Highlights: Year in Review

A terrific YouTube video showing some amazing highlights for the 2007-2008 season.  It seems to me that Notre Dame basketball is finally getting recognized .



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Ben Hansbrough Transfers to Notre Dame


Ben Hansbrough, brother of Tyler Hansbrough, has transferred to Notre Dame.  In his freshmen season he quickly became known as the "Hardest Working Man in College Basketball" and now he will be able to bring that level of integrity to the Irish.  He will certainly be a great addition to the Irish back court, but he will have to wait out a year because of NCAA rules. 

Ben averaged 11 points and 3 assists per game last season in his sophomore year, as well as help the Bulldogs  win first round in the NCAA tournament and almost knock off the #1 seed Memphis. Once he starts playing he will have 2 years of eligibility for the Irish

What I find interesting is that North Carolina and Notre Dame will both have Hansbroughs and Zellers on their teams.  As you know, Luke Zeller plays on the Irish and his younger brother Tyler Zeller has been recruited and signed by NC even after aggressive recruiting by the Irish and his brother.  Tyler is one of the nations top prospects.  And now the Irish will have Tyler Hansbrough's brother  Ben.  Maybe the teams can schedule a game and have one big family reunion. 

Scott Martin from Purdue has also decided to transfer.  He is looking at Valparaiso or Notre Dame.   He was shown around the campus of Notre Dame by former AAU teammate, Luke Harangody.  He has yet to make a decision, he would be a great pick-up. 

Monday, May 12, 2008

Good Recruiting Class?

Don't count on it. In fact the real question is if there will be even a recruiting class, as of now Notre Dame has not offered a scholarship to anyone yet.  It seems that the Irish are confident with the team they have now and that last years freshmen who saw no action will be able to step it up.  I don't see how you could lack confidence when your team did way better than expected finishing in the top 20 and when your only losing one player. 

Expect to see a lot more minutes from the kids who sat the bench last year.  The Irish may have the same team, but they will look a lot different considering how four players, who didn't really get a chance last year, are now expected to get a considerable amount of time.

I would like to see a new big man down low, which I believe is the only area that needs to be improved. If the Irish had one more dominant post player then they would be nearly unstoppable. However, it will be interesting to see how Tyrone Nash and Charleton Scott will fill in the 4 and 5 slots. Maybe one of them can be that dominant player.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hillary Wins Indiana!


First of all this article may seem a little bit out of place to the regular readers of this blog, but this is probably the first time here for most of the readers.  This is the Notre Dame Basketball blog, but today I want the Notre Dame fans and the rest of the residents of Indiana to consider who they are voting for in this upcoming primary. 
 
I believe that this election is very important like most young Americans, yet I differ with most of them on which candidate I am supporting.  My support goes out to Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama.  It seems to me that everyone is supporting Barack Obama without even looking at the facts.  They just can't get enough of the big powerful speeches, the huge rallies, and the many calls for change yet they don't look for the specifics.  Not every Obama supporter thinks like this, but a lot do.  I also know that being young and a supporter of Obama is the cool thing to do and that being a supporter of Hillary Clinton is choosing the uncool candidate.  I think the cool thing to do is to support the candidate who you think is best for the job and  who you believe in, and that is Hillary Clinton.

Hillary and Obama do not differ on most, if any, of the issues.  They basically are almost the same candidate.  As much as the someone wants to argue, they pretty much agree on everything.  I do think Hillary has the slightly better economic and healthcare plans and that Obama may have an edge on immigration, but they are not large enough reasons to pick one over the other.  

The reason I pick Hillary over Obama is experience.  Obama has been a senator for less than 3 years. Hillary has been a senator for 7. Hillary had to deal with tough decisions while the First Lady in the White House. Obama hasn't.  Hillary has been to over 80 countries.  Obama hasn't. Hillary is experienced with other world leaders.  Obama isn't.  I know that Hillary can handle these things. Maybe Obama can, maybe he can't.  I don't know for sure, no one can know for sure.  

Her experience also makes her the more electable candidate.  I know I would hate to see McCain in office and I believe Hillary is the only candidate who can beat him.  All the essential states that are battlegrounds for the republicans and the democrats Hillary has won. New York, Ohio, California, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Florida and Michigan.  Hillary does overwhelmingly better in blue collar workers than Obama and they are crucial for a democratic victory in November.
  Sure, Obama has won more states.  But a big portion of his wins were in the South, thanks to the African American vote and republicans outnumber African Americans in the South so he won't be able to carry those states.

Hillary's double digit victory in the key state of Pennsylvania has already cut the lead in NC down to single digits and will certainly help her in Indiana.  While she says "Hoosiers for Hillary," I think it should be every college and everyone for Hillary in Indiana.  I want a democrat to get into office once again who has the experience to handle the job, and that candidate is Hillary Clinton.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Award after Award for Luke Harangody


Luke Harangody played better than anyone expected him too this year.  His freshmen season however did show that he was not just the ordinary player, but still no one expected that he would dominate the Big East like he did.  Harangody led the conference in both rebounds, and points per game and he is only one of two players to have done so. 

Here are the awards Luke Harangody has earned this season:
-Big East Player of the Year
-All Big East First Team
-USBWA Second Team All American (United States Basketball Writers Association)
-USBWA District V Player of the Year
-Second Team All American (Sports Illustrated) 
-District 10 First Team (USBWA)
-State Farm First Team All American
-10 Man Wooden All American Team
-Wooden Award Finalist

I think it is great that Harangody can pile it up all these personal awards.  I just hope he will carry the Irish to the greatest award of all, the NCAA Championship.

-stuart-

Thursday, March 27, 2008

2008-2009: The Team


With the end of this season the only left to do is to look forward to next.  The Irish will only lose one player, Rob Kurz.  Rob Kurz mostly provided leadership, rather than a dominant player as many senior leaders are. He contributed just as much as someone who scores 20 points a game and gets 10 rebounds.  His leadership and his knowledge of the basketball court will be something that will indeed be missed.

My projected starting line-up for next season:

PG Tory Jackson
SG Kyle McAlarney
SF Zach Hillesland
PF Luke Zeller
C Luke Harangody.
6 man: Ryan Ayers

My biggest concern for next season is not that guard play.  Tory Jackson plays great at the point while McAlarney and Ayers will be able to knock down the threes.  My biggest concern is the front court.  Luke Harangody will be beastly once again next year, but the power forward is wide open.  Luke Zeller will be a senior so I can see how he would be given the spot.  However, he cannot score down low, or well at least he hasn't yet, and I don't think he is physical enough to bang down low with the rest of the league.  I can see one of the freshman stepping into his role, Tyrone Nash or Charleton Scott. If this happens though, I can't see it happening in the beginning of the year.  I don't think any of the freshman, who have not even played more than 2 minutes in a game, would be ready to step into the starting role on a Big East team.

I think Notre Dame needs to spend time this off season trying to recruit a solid down low player.  Harangody is just too short to play center.  Notre Dame needs a a real center in order to be a real big threat.  Someone over 6-8 and who actually scores on the post not from deep.

I do not see how Ty Proffit and Tim Abromaitus are going to fit in to the line-up, unless the Irish cut playing time from some of the normal starters.  The way things are looking now the Irish will be keeping their 8 man line-up. 

Overall I believe the Irish will be better next year.  Harangody will have another great year and McAlarney, Ayers, Hillesland, and Zeller will all have great senior years.  Next year is the year.  The Irish are bringing their best team yet for 09 and should make even more noise than they did this year.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Irish Women: Sweet 16

If I were to have been told one Irish basketball team would make the sweet 16 this year then I would assume the men.  Yet, the Irish women have proven me wrong and made it to the Sweet 16. 

The next game doesn't look like an easy game for them, maybe not even winnable.  The Irish will be playing the always dominant Tennessee Lady Vols.  Women's basketball is never as competitive as the men's and Tennessee is on a whole different level than Notre Dame.  Who knows though maybe we will have a big upset on our hands, and at least it will be something else for me to watch. With the Irish out and my bracket dead wrong I mine as well watch this, at least while it is close.

-stuart-

Monday, March 24, 2008

2007-2008 Season Recap.


Despite Notre Dame's early second round exit in the NCAA Tournament, the Irish had an overall successful season.  It looks like the Irish are improving.  Each season it keeps getting better and better and with almost everyone returning, the Irish don't show any signs of stopping the improvement.  

25: A major benchmark happened this year.  The Irish reached 25 total wins.  That is the highest amount of wins for any Irish team under Mike Brey.  A great number and a number that should set a target for next years squad. 

The Streak: After a long hard season filled with tough games and Big East battles the Irish home court win streak is still alive.  The streak now stands at 37 games, only one behind the school record which I guarantee will be broken next year.  The streak is the second longest active streak at the moment behind only BYU.

Irish finish 2nd in Big East: The Irish second place finish is the best in recent years.  An amazing unity among the team, along with great coaching and great playing led the team to prove the preseason Big East polls wrong.

Player of the Year and Coach of the Year: When the Player of the Year and the Coach of the Year for a conference are on the same team, you know the team is good.  Luke Harangody had a terrific season. Already reaching the 1,000 point mark as a sophomore, and leading the Big East in both rebounds and points per game he was the easy choice for the Big East Player of the Year.  And Mike Brey has done it again.  Two years in a row Coach Brey has been named the Big East Coach of the Year.  Leading a team picked to finish 9th in the Big East to a second place finish is simply amazing in such a competitive conference. 

Irish finish with best National Rank since 2004:  The Irish finished the season ranked 14th nationally.  That is the best since the 2004-2005 Sweet Sixteen team.  The Irish were not even recognized in the preseason polls, but were able to work there way up and prove themselves as an elite team in the nation.

Second Tournament birth in 2 years: The second birth for the Irish was achieved through an at large bid.  The Irish entered the tournament as a 5 seed and lost in the second round to the 4 seed Washington State, after beating the Cinderella George Mason first round.  Two years ago the Irish were an NIT team, last year they lost first round, and this year they made it to the second.  Signs of an improvement and hopefully the Irish will keep it up next season. 

1,000: Thankfully for Rob Kurz the Irish made the post-season.  After the regular season the Irish senior had accumulated 999 total points throughout his career. That would have been a terrible number to end your career on.  In the post-season he was able to get over the 1,000 point number and had his name put on a list with very good company. 

Irish join 1600 win club: While there is no official club the Irish have joined in the ranks with some of the greatest programs in the country such as Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina.  The Irish are one of only 12 teams to reach this mark. 

1st in Assists, 5th in 3pt Shooting: I never expected the Irish to finish in 1st place with in the assist category.  The most unselfish team in basketball also ranks 5th in 3pt shooting.  I can see this easier because of all the players who can shoot on the team.  Two great achievements.

I'm sure you could find a lot more little things the Irish have done, but I have pretty much summed up all the major things that made the Irish so successful this year.  A great season that should no way be considered any kind of disappointment. 

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Notre Dame falls to Washington State, 61-41

It's all over.  It always hurts to lose, but you just have to look forward and that is a long forward.  Washington State came out so much more prepared than Notre Dame.  Notre Dame was shut down in every way.  They couldn't shoot 3s without being contested, Harangody was completely shut down regardless of how many rebounds he got, and the Irish defense was terrible.

The way the Irish played they deserved to lose. 41 points. 

Congratulation Rob Kurz for scoring 1,000 points in your career.  He will be missed.

-stuart-


Friday, March 21, 2008

Irish get 25

No Irish team under Mike Brey has ever gotten 25 wins, until now.  The Irish have shown how much they, and the program have grown.  The Irish have 25 wins and will look to make it 26 tomorrow against Washington State. 

-stuart-

Notre Dame advances over George Mason, 68-50


It feels great.  It's great.  After last years loss in the first round a win over a good team feels amazing.  The Irish really came out to play.  Compared to the way they played the first round of the Big East Tournament and how they played last night was amazing.  

The game was never close.  The Irish controlled the pace well, they made George Mason play the way they wanted to.  Harangody scored 18 points and had 14 rebounds. Mike Brey had told Harangody after the Marquette game that he doesn't need to play like he is under pressure.  Just go out and play.  And it worked. Luke had a much better game than his last outing and he seemed more composed. 

McAlarney had his average game. 15 points and four assists.  His average game may be alot better than others but just a solid game from McAlarney.  Kurz had 6, two threes. Hillesland and Jackson also contributed 6 points. Ryan Ayers had a big game. 12 points. It is great to see him scoring double digits. 

With the first round out of the way, the Irish can now look ahead.  Washington State will be the next opponent.  The 4 seed in the tournament, but in my opinion the weakest of the fours.  I think that if the Irish played as well as they did today they will overtake Washington State and be on their way to the Sweet 16. 

-stuart-

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

Notre Dame vs George Mason


The first round match-up for the Irish will be the George Mason Patriots.  The game will be played on Thursday at roughly 8:00pm. 
When you think of the name George Mason one thing comes to mind.  The unbelievable run to the final four.  Not many people thought the Patriots would win one game never mind make a trip to the final four.  I think in the national bracket challenge, like 3 people had the right final four.  The Irish can't be intimidated by this, and must not focus on what happened in the past.

And what also happened in the past was a first round loss to Winthrop in last years tournament.  The Irish need to use that loss as a motivator to get by there first round opponent. Coming off a disappointing loss in the Big East tournament the Irish need to come out and play hard in order to win.  This is now what matters.  In my opinion this is the best Irish basketball team in recent years.

The Irish have one huge advantage over George Mason.  Three point shooting.  The Irish are 5th in the country making 41% of their three point shots.  George Mason doesn't make the top 100 list.  The dominance of Harangody down low has caused reason to forget just how well the Irish can shoot the ball.  When you think about it, I would be confident with everyone on the Notre Dame team shooting the 3, even the bigs. Zeller and Kurz consistently make 3s and even Harangody has added the jumper to his game. 

Harangody is also far better than the big men of George Mason.  The Big East Player of the Year should look to have a big game against George Mason.

The bottom line is that if Notre Dame can just play like they normally play then the game will be theirs. 

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Selection Sunday


After months of playing the NCAA Tournament is finally here.  You can forget who won the conferences and who won the conference tournaments because this is what matters.  The Irish get a 5 seed.  I was thinking a 4 but 5 is good, pretty much the same position.  Notre Dame will be taking on the 12 seed George Mason.  We all remember what George Mason did not too long ago but hopefully it will be a one time time thing.  More interesting is that they will take on the winner of Washington State vs Winthrop.  I would love another Winthrop game. The Irish find themselves in the East Regional where the number 1 seed is North Carolina.  I would also love a Harangody-Hansborough match-up. 

Now here is the rest of the bracket from CBS:
www.sportsline.com/collegebasketball/mayhem/brackets/viewable_men


Big East Tourney Recap


Well I am back from the Big East and I don't think anyone could have predicted what went on this year.  What a year, too bad for the Irish, but it was entertaining.

The First round of games concluded with no upsets what so ever. And then in the quarterfinals Georgetown won their first game by beating Villanova.  The tournament was looking very predictable. Then the second quarterfinal came between UConn and West Virginia. I am from Connecticut so everyone I was with was for the Huskies.  However, West Virginia then knocked out UConn.  Joe Alexander played amazing for WV scoring 32 points and single handily brought down the Huskies.  Once nightfall came the upsets kept coming, Pitt over Louisville and yes, Marquette over the Irish. Pitt plays amazing in NY and many thought Louisville was going to win it all, yet the Panthers had other ideas. 

Let me just say this, Marquette played amazing.  They looked better than any team the Irish played all year in the game.  Jerome McNeal was great and the whole team had no flaws.  They were proving why the had such a high rank earlier in the season with this big win.  The Irish played decent.  You could tell Harangody was under pressure being the Player of the Year for the conference and he was forcing it.  Other than that the Irish played well, it just wasn't enough for the tremendous game Marquette had. 

Then the semis came along.  I was not very into the games, Notre Dame lost, UConn lost and there was no one to root for.  Georgetown won beating West Virginia who played no where near as well as they did against UConn.  Then Pitt beat Marquette keeping their streak going.  Marquette also played terrible compared to their last game.

And in the finals, it was Pittsburgh. Upsetting the number 9 team in the country and 1 seed in the tournament. Pitt played great throughout the whole week and if the Irish could not win it, I would have preferred someone other than Georgetown.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Marquette

Tonight is a big night for the Irish. Stuart's lucky and is at the Big East tournament to see them play tonight. Unfortunatly for the Irish they are going to be playing Marquette. Tonight everyone on the Irish need to step up their game if the want to move onto the semi finals tomarro. We want a big game from Harangody and Kmac tonight also. We need to get inside and be unselfish like we have been all year and look for the open player to take the shot(prefferably Luke under the boards). That's the way we will win, no turn overs and stupid shots, none of that helps us, so we have to watch Peoples tonight. If the Irish give it all they've got tonight, I think we can pul through with the win.
-Josh-

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Big East Player of the Year


The 2007-2008 Big East Player of the year award goes to Luke Harangody.  I really was not that surprised to learn this, I mean come on people have been saying for the last month or so now, but it is still really exciting.

Harangody finished Big East play averaging 23.3 points and over a 11 rebounds per game.  He is just the second player in Big East history to lead the league in scoring and rebounding. He had 3 in conference 30 or more point performances, including a 40 point game in a losing effort to Louisville.

You cannot just look at Harangody's stats though.  You have to have seen him play.  He is always giving a 100% the whole time.  Half his points and rebounds come from hustle points.  He sprints down the court before the defense and scores on countless occasions.  I can't even remember how many times I have seen Harangody grab defensive rebound, outlet it, sprint down the court, get the offensive rebound, and put it back up to score.

When you look at Harangody's stats and his hustle there is no way you can say that someone else deserves this award more than he does.

Big East Coach of the Year


Mike Brey for the second year straight wins Big East Coach of the Year honors. He deserved just as much, if not more than he did last year.

He led the team to 24-6 record overall, a second place finish in the conference with their best ever conference record and finished the regular season ranked 14 in the country.  Thats not bad when in the preseason your team wasn't ranked and were picked to finish in the bottom half of the Big East.

The Irish should be thankful that they have such a great coach. Congrats to Mike Brey.

-stuart-

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wednesday Predicitions

There are four games to be played tomorrow and I though I would have some fun by trying to predict them:

Game 1 Syracuse vs Villanova
Both teams are trying desperately to get to the NCAA and their hopes maybe riding on a victory in this game.  I am going to have to pick Nova.  Their experience will lead them past Syracuse, whose leading scorers are freshmen. 

Game 2 West Virginia vs Providence
I am going to have to pick West Virginia, Providence has had a tough year and I don't think it is about to get any better.  However, the one team Providence has had success against is Connecticut and if they win this game that is who they would be playing.  It would be very exciting to see Providence play UConn again after beating them twice already.

Game 3 Pittsburgh vs Cincinnati 
Pittsburgh all the way here.  The Bearcat's last loss to UConn by 48 suggests that the last thing they have is momentum and confidence going into this contest.

Game 4 Seton Hall vs Marquette
As much as I want Seton Hall to win this game my mind tells me Marquette. Marquette is simply too much for Seton Hall to handle when they are playing at their best.  I will be heavily rooting for Seton Hall, because I would not want to have to play Marquette if I were the Irish.

Monday, March 10, 2008

McAlarney, Harangody named on Big East First Team


The two Irish players to get honored after a great Big East showing were Kyle McAlarney and Luke Harangody.  Both were named to the Big East first team.  I feel Rob Kurz should have been mentioned on the Second Team.  He is the most consistent player in the conference by far, and should have been shown some respect in his final season.

The Irish also moved up to their highest ranking of the year. Notre Dame appeared in both the AP and Coaches polls at 14, right ahead of UConn and right behind Louisville.  

Congrats to Kyle McAlarney and Luke Harangody on an outstanding season. 

-stuart-

Notre Dame to play in Maui in 08


While I anxiously wait for the Big East Tournament another piece of news has come across my mind, the Maui Invitational Tournament.  The Irish are set to play in it next season, which is awesome.  The Maui is one of the most prestigious regular season tournaments, with the toughest teams in the nation competing in it. 
 
I personally think this is great news because it will give a chance for the Irish to prove themselves early.  Usually the Notre Dame non-conference games are stacked with easy wins and I have no reason to believe next season will be any different, except for the Maui.  This will give the Irish a chance before conference play starts to show that they deserve to be ranked. 

-stuart-

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Big East Championship Bracket Announced



So the Irish are likely to get a tough game for their first game.  The Irish split even with Marquette this season, yet the loss was huge.  I will definitely be rooting for Seton Hall. The Irish will have the longest rest of any team, not playing until late Thursday night. That could either be real good or real bad. The Irish have a tough but winnable path to the championship game. 

I am really excited to go to these games and I'm sure there will big upsets based on how evenly matched the top 9 teams are. Hopefully the Irish go all the way.

-stuart-

Notre Dame beats South Florida, 67-60


Notre Dame finished strong in their win over South Florida to end the season. Harangody scored 21 and had 9 rebounds. Kurz and Hillesland scored double figures too, with 14, and 10. The Irish almost let this one slip away, yet were able to get the win.  And it was a vital win.  You may think Oh well it's South Florida, but this win did a lot for the Irish. And here's what:

Clinched a 3 seed in the Big East Tournament.  With still one more day of Big East games to be played the Irish can rest comfortably. No matter what UConn, or anyone else behind the Irish, does today they will still be behind the Irish in the loss column. The Irish finished tied for second in the regular season standings. However, Louisville got the 2 seed because of their head to head record with the Irish. 

With the win Notre Dame finished with their best Big East Record in school history. 14-4, tied for second place.  When a team is picked to finish 9th or 11th in the preseason polls and then finishes in second, you know something is right.  Mike Brey should be Big East Coach of  the Year yet again this year.  More than likely Jim Calhoun and the Huskies will get it though, thanks to their great season turn around. 

The Irish now have the momentum.  You don't want to have say look at our wins back in December. You want to say look at our wins now.  The Irish finished strong winning 3 in a row, including 2 away games, to end the season.  They are looking like one of the elite teams in the country and are in great position to win the Big East, as well as go far in the NCAA.

-stuart-

Friday, March 7, 2008

Irish to play South Florida

The Irish will try for the best overall record and best conference record in recent years with a win over South Florida tomorrow.  A win would also enable the Irish to clinch a 3 seed in the Big East tournament. I can't stress enough how much easier the path for a 3 seed to win the tournament is than a 4 seed.  A win saturday will give the Irish momentum going into the tournament as well improve their resume for NCAA.

As well as the Irish playing on saturday, Connecticut, Louisville and Georgetown will all play their last regular season games.

-stuart-

Thursday, March 6, 2008

UConn Falls to Providence 85, 76

That's right UConn loses to Providence.  Now all Notre Dame will have to do is win on saturday and they will have the 3 seed.  No matter how this weekend plays out Notre Dame will come out with a bye heading into the tourney, this loss however opens new opportunities for the Irish

-stuart-

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Irish defeat St. Johns


The Irish beat St. John's last night 68-55.  Notre Dame is now the first team in the history of the Big East conference to go two full seasons without losing a game at home.  The streak is now at 37, the second longest active streak, and will remain that way for at least another 250 days.   

Harangody scored 20 for the Irish and only had 6 rebounds.  There is two reasons for the lack of rebounds.  One, it was very evenly spread with everyone getting rebounds and two, the Irish defense was so good. Even the Red Storm head coach commented on how strong the Irish defense was. 

Kurz had 15 and ended his career in the Joyce Center with another consistent performance.  Contributed 15  points in the win.  A great way to end it all. No doubt about it, Kurz will be missed next year and someone new will have to step into that leadership role.

McAlarney had 13 points.  A Solid effort considering how tightly guarded he was all game. 

This game win was important and so will a win over South Florida. The Irish want the best record they can get before Selection Sunday comes along.  I am thinking a 4 seed right now.  However, we could see this seed either drop or higher based on how the Irish do in the Big East Tournament.  Speaking of the Big East here is the standings now:

Georgetown 14-3
Louisville  14-3
Notre Dame 13-4
UConn 12-4

I am concerned about UConn because if they tie Notre Dame they will get the higher seed in the Big East.  And its always better to be the 3 seed because then you would probably see the 2 seed instead of being the 4 and seeing the 1.  However, I really would not want to see either Georgetown or Louisville.  Saturday is the Big East title game, Louisville vs Georgetown and then it will be decided what team will play who in the Big East. 

-stuart- 



-stuart-

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Senior Night

Tomorrow will be the last time that Rob Kurz plays at the Joyce Center.  This will also be the last time this year for Irish. The Joyce Center has been great for the Irish over the last couple years. A Current 36 game winning streak is on the line against St. Johns.  But come on, its St. Johns.

-stuart-

Monday, March 3, 2008

TOP 25 Update

The Irish moved down two spots this week with their loss at Louisville.  The Irish are ranked 19 in both polls now. 

The Irish are still tied for 3rd in the Big East Race which now looks like this:

Georgetown 14-3
Louisville 14-3
Notre Dame 12-4
Connecticut 12-4

-stuart-

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Notre Dame tops DePaul, 98-91

The Irish defeated the DePaul Blue Demons in the 98th meeting between the two schools this afternoon. The Irish were lead by Luke Harangody who had 21 points and Rob Kurz with 21.

After a slow start for Kurz, he managed to score 21 and help the Irish hold off the late surge by the Demons.  Harangody had 23 points and 9 rebounds.  It has been tough for Harangody to get as many boards with Tory Jackson rebounding so much lately.  He had 6 tonight. 

McAlarney and Zeller both contributed 13 points.  Zeller had a big tonight for himself, scoring in double figures.  Ayers, Hillesland, and Jackson all had 9 points in the game. 

Going in the second half it seemed like the Irish were on their way to a blow out, but DePaul fought back but still came up short.  This was  a great win for the Irish, it proves the Irish do deserved to still be a ranked team. The game secured a first round bye for the Irish in the Big East Tournament.  Now their are only 2 games left for the Irish in the regular season but I believe they will make some noise this year in the post season

-stuart-

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Irish to play DePaul Sunday

Coming off a loss, the Irish will look to rebound against the DePaul Blue Demons. DePaul is overall 5-10 in the conference.  The Irish do have the better record, but that doesn't mean it will be an easy win.  Almost every game is competitive when teams are trying to get that higher seed and when teams are just fighting to get to New York.  

The Huskies and Hoyas both won narrowly today, so nothing really changed in the top 4 standings.  Louisville and Georgetown with 3 losses and Notre Dame and the Huskies with 4. Notre Dame and the UConn both have 'easy' games left but that doesn't really mean anything.  Louisville does play Georgetown again so  most likely we will have a sure champion in the Big East.

The Irish will go for a school record 12 conference wins tomorrow and if they play well they will get it.

-stuart-

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Too little to late, Notre Dame falls to Louisville, 90-85

The Irish played terrible in the first half.  Simple as that.  Louisville played intense, loud and aggressive on defense.  They applied full-court pressure which the Irish couldn't handle.  Notre Dame reminded me of the team 2 years  ago playing the way they did tonight, not the team that beat Syracuse and Pitt with confidence. 

The second half was an improvement I guess.  The Irish played like they were nationally ranked in the second but that was not enough.  The Irish needed to play like that in the first half for the game to even be close. Every ranked opponent in the Big East, the Irish have lost to on the road.  You could look at that two ways.  One well the only games they lost were really tough ones or two they can't beat tough opponents.  Notre Dame still hasn't proved they could beat the tough teams on the road and tonight was there last chance. This game might have an affect on how high the Irish are seeded in the NCAA Tournament.

The only bright spot for the Irish was Harangody who finished with 40! A career high and  another double-double for the big guy. McAlarney, Kurz and Jackson all struggled. The late comeback was miraculous, but it was just too little too late.

If everything clicked like it did in the final 5 minutes of the game for the whole thing then we knows what would have happened.  The good news is that the Irish have an easy final 3 games so if it plays out right the Irish will finish the season with a little bit of a streak.

-stuart-

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Irish will face a big test tomorrow

The last big game for the Irish is arguably the biggest.  The #17 Irish, who have won all but 3 games in the last 3 months are up against the red-hot #13 Louisville Cardinals.  This will be the toughest game so far for the Irish.  There are many things at stake in this game.

One is the Big East Race.  Currently the only teams with 3 losses are Georgetown, Notre Dame, and Louisville.  Whatever happens in the game between the Irish and the Cardinals, only one team will come out still having 3 losses.  That will be deciding on who gets a chance to surpass Georgetown for the regular season title as well as being a 2 seed over a 3 in the           tournament. 

This game could also potentially show that Notre Dame is in fact an elite team in the country.  The two biggest road tests so far (at Georgetown and at Marquette) have been terrible losses.  Although the Irish were able to knock off ranked opponent Villanova on the road, Villanova has now proven to be over ranked.  A win for the Irish tomorrow would say, The Irish really can beat tough opponents on the road and should be a higher rank as well as a higher seed in the NCAA Tournament.

If everyone plays like they have been then I believe Notre Dame has the best shot at winning this game.  If Jackson keeps scoring and playing as well as he has, If McAlarney finds his shot early in the game, If Kurz keeps up his consistent contributions, And if Harangody plays the like the Player of the Year like he has been then the Irish will win.  It's pretty simple the Irish have to have a good game.  A couples games this year they didn't play at their 'A' game and still managed to pull out the victory, this game however won't be like that.  Everything has to click like it has been and the Irish should come out on top.

-stuart-

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

McAlarney gets Big East Player of Week.

Congrats to McAlarney for being chosen Player of the Week after two great games.  Hopefully he can keep it up against Louisville... the Irish will need it

-stuart-

Monday, February 25, 2008

TOP 25 Update

The Irish, respectively move up four spots in this weeks polls.  Notre Dame, now ranked 17 in both the AP poll and the ESPN poll, will look to improve with wins over Louisville and DePaul. 

The Big East now looks like this:

1. Georgetown 12-3
2. Louisville 12-3
3. Notre Dame 11-3
4. UConn         10-4