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.


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.


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


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

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Kyle McAlarney leads charge past Syracuse

The Irish improved to 21-5 overall and 11-3 in the conference with their win over Syracuse today.  With the win the Irish are alone in third place in the conference for the first time since before their loss to Connecticut.  

Along with improving their conference record the Irish also improved the Joyce Center winning streak to 36 games.  We all know Memphis lost to Tennessee, and they had the first highest home winning streak.  So now the Irish are second in longest  active home winning streaks behind only BYU who has one 45 games straight. 

Well, on to the game today which was a great win for the Irish.
  Kyle McAlarney played exceptionally well.  He shot 9-11 from the 3 point line including 3 ridiculously deep ones.  9 3s is the best by any Notre Dame player before.  The previous holder was Colin Falls with eight 3s.  Kyle McAlarney looked unstoppable all game shooting over the Syracuse zone, and when the defense came out, he just shot from deeper.  By the end of the game the crowd was yelling SHOOT right when Kyle brought the ball over half court.  McAlarney finished with 30 points, 2 short of his career high.  

Kurz has 15 points for the Irish, and continues to just go out their and do his thing.  After a few early turnovers he settled down and put in a very important contribution to the team.  In the second half he got elbowed right above his eye.  He went into the locker room and got stitches then came out and played again.  Just showing how tough he is, and how physical the Big East Conference is. 

Jackson played well, yet not as amazing as his last few.  Don't get me wrong because he had a terrific game with 10 points and a couple of great assists.  Ryan Ayers also put up double figures with another 10 points.  As for Harangody, if he were any other center in the league he would of had a great game, however he is not.  His numbers were below his usual (14 points and 14 rebounds).  Still a double-double.

A great win for the Irish and that need to get prepared for their next game at Louisville.  Louisville is currently in second in the conference, with one more win over the Irish.  That game will be a decisive one in deciding how the final Big East rankings will look like.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Notre Dame to face Syracuse, Huskies Lose!

The Big East Race now looks like this with Uconn's latest loss to Nova.

Georgetown- 12-3
Louisville- 11-3
Notre Dame- 10-3
Uconn- 10-4

The Irish will face Syracuse and Louisville will play at Pitt tommorow.  The Irish just need to keep winning now to secure a third place finish and hopefully the other teams with 3 losses will lose a few down the stretch.  A Game to keep your eye on will Notre Dame at Louisville next week.

Until then, GO IRISH


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Irish keep pace with win over Pitt

Notre Dame 82
Pittsburgh 70

The Irish find themselves once again tied in the loss column and with Connecticut in the Big East race. With the number of games left running low the race is starting to get really interesting.  The Irish just need to keep winning like they have been.  

The win this evening did not come easily.  The Panthers showed the Irish that they were here to play, asserting themselves to a 5 point lead at half and a double digit lead midway through the first half.  However, the Irish stormed back and locked down Pitt.  Pitt did not make a field goal for the last 6 and half minutes of the game.  The Irish tied the game on a McAlarney 3 and then Luke Harangody stole it next possession and finished with a hard dunk to take the lead for good.

Jackson had yet another unbelievable game.  Finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds. 13 rebounds?! As you may recall I went crazy over his 8 rebounds at Rutgers, but 13?  How does a 5'10" kid manage to get that many rebounds.  How would you feel as big man on the opposing team when the shortest kid on the court out rebounds you.  And 16 points is great for Jackson too.  Jackson is looking unstoppable out there.  He's boosting with confidence and is out hustling everyone. 

Luke Harangody reminded everyone why he should be the candidate for Big East Player of the Year. 23 points and 12 points.  After an off performance at Rutgers he came ready to play today, and was back to his usual self.  He has nights like this almost every night and in my mind absolutely the player of the year for the conference.  

McAlarney was cold in the first half missing his first 5 shots.  However, in the second half he began to feel it.  He hit three 3 pointers in the second half including a crucial one to tie the game.  Finishing with 15 points, gave an overall good game despite a poor shooting night percentage wise. 

Kurz also played well.  He scored 7 of the first 13 Irish points and finished with 14 and contributed 5 rebounds.  

The Irish will play Syracuse on Sunday for their next game.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Irish ready for Pittsburgh

The Irish will play Pittsburgh tomorrow at home in South Bend.  Now when I hear this I think well an unranked team vs the Irish who have not lost in South Bend since two years ago.  However, the win won't be that easy for the Irish.

Pittsburgh has been in and out of the Top 25 and a team that might be on the bubble for an NCAA tournament bid.  A big win such as one at Notre Dame, would be a huge win to go on their resume for the tournament.

But I'm sure the Irish will find a way to win.  They always do.


Monday, February 18, 2008


The Irish manage to stay in the Top 25 despite losing to Connecticut last week.  The Irish come in at 21 in both polls.  The Big East is beginning to seem like the it will come right down to the final game before any team is crowned number one.  The Top 4 teams are tied in the loss column:

Georgetown: 11-3
Louisville: 10-3
Notre Dame 9-3
Connecticut 9-3

Louisville plays tonight vs Syracuse.  Hopefully Syracuse carries the momentum from their last upset victory vs Georgetown to this game tonight.  It would great if Notre Dame moved back into second place.

The Irish, as well as the other teams should feel comfortable with their position.  The 5th place team is 2 games behind Notre Dame and Connecticut.  It wouldn't be too much of an assumption to say that these four teams could be the teams that get that ever so crucial bye in the first round of the conference tournament.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Irish edge Rutgers, 71-68

The Irish were able to hold off Rutgers down the stretch, which lead to 71-68 victory.  The first half was controlled by the Irish who had a lead of 12 at one point, and an 8 point lead at the half.  However, Rutgers battled back and got the crowd in the game and took a 3 point lead midway through the second half.  The game came down to a late 11-0 run by the Irish which consisted of two 3s from Kurz and  McAlarney. 

Jackson lead the charge for the Irish with career numbers in 3 categories. 17 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds.  8 rebounds?! Jackson who is listed at 5-11 (yeah right), matched the rebounding numbers of Luke Harangody.  Jackson really saved the game for the Irish.  Without this completely unexpected performance by the guard, the Irish might have settled for a loss to the worst team in the conference.  This game shows Jackson's true potential.  By the time Jackson becomes a senior he will be having games like this every time he steps on the court.

Luke Harangody was successfully shut down this game by Rutgers. Harangody finished with 10 points and 8 rebounds.  After getting into early foul trouble on a couple of tick-tack fouls, he really didn't play well.  However, the team picked him up this game.  This  proves even when Harangody doesn't have his usual 20 points and 12 rebounds that the Irish can still find a way to win.  

Kyle McAlarney loves playing back at home.  The Staten Island native was only 20 minutes away from his hometown and he put on a show for his fans.  Nailing two early 3s with ease, and finishing with 16 points you can really tell that Kyle likes to perform in the spotlight. Hopefully he brings this intensity to Manhatten for the Big East Tournament.

This win should prove that the Irish belong in the polls despite that close loss to Connecticut on the road, which the Irish suffered earlier this week. The Irish play again Thursday, in a Top 25 match-up at the Joyce Center with Pittsburgh.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Irish look to bounce back against Rutgers

The Irish who are currently 4th in the conference, but are tied in the loss column with the rest of the teams.  After Georgetown's loss the top 4 Big East standings look like this.
1. Georgetown- 10-3
2. Louisville- 10-3
3. Connecticut- 9-3
4. Notre Dame-  8-3

As long as the Irish keep winning they will be able to make a run for first in the Big East.  Sunday's contest should prove successful for the Irish.  Rutgers is obviously struggling this year at 2-11 in conference play.  The RAC is a tough place to play, however I find it hard to imagine how a crowd can be that pumped up with the team so far behind.  

The Irish should come out hungry.  The last loss will still be fresh on their minds and it will fuel their momentum. 

Key to the Game- Harangody.  Get it to the big man and the Irish should get the win.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Big East Standings 2/15

Here are the new Big East Standings, The Irish still in position for a first round bye in the NCAA tournament:

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

Notre Dame plays Rutgers next so hopefully that will be a win.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Irish fall to Connecticut 84-78

First of all let me say that this was an amazing basketball game.  I  sat 2 rows behind the Irish bench and could hear almost everything Coach Brey was saying.  I learned the Brey calls Peoples, "JP." The game was intense from start to finish.

Well on to the bad news.  After winning 5 games in a row since the last Irish loss to Marquette, the Irish were unable to overtake Connecticut in the final minutes of the game.  The home crowd for the Huskies was roaring and played a big role in their victory, just like how Irish fans played a huge role for the Irish victory in South Bend.  After watching both of those games I still cannot figure out who is the better team.  Both games were decided by 6 points.  Put both teams on a neutral court and you'll have one hell of a game. As a matter of fact, that might just happen this year in New York.  The loss puts the Irish tied into 3rd place in the Big East with the Huskies (both teams 8-3).  

Harangody- Luke had an amazing game, a career game.  32 points a career high as well as 16 rebounds.  Harangody made Thabeet look silly tonight with moves that caught him off balance, however Thabeet did have a few blocks.  Luke played like the Big East Player of the year, which he should be.  His effort though was just not enough. 

Jackson- Tory also played great, chipping in 11 points which included two 3 pointers.  He amazed me when he made his first two 3s of the night back to back.  Turned it over very little, and an overall great game. 

McAlarney- McAlarney posted 12 points including 8 in the second half.  He played well, but was tightly guarded all game.

All the other players had decent games as well.  However, the presence of Thabeet down low changed a lot of shots that normally should be easy lay ups. 

Overall the Irish played great.  The loss just came to two things; Hasheem's presence down low and the roaring home crowd.  Both of this factors played a huge roll down the stretch.  The Irish will play Rutgers on Sunday and that will be the game where the Irish will get this loss out of their systems.



This will be the first Notre Dame basketball game I will be attending this year.  If you read before I live in Connecticut and the Irish are playing...Connecticut. 

Hopefully the Irish win tonight, nothing would be better than everyone in Gampel Pavilion to be heartbroken.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Irish face Huskies in Storrs

The red-hot #20 Irish who have won 16 out of their last 18 will face the #17 Huskies who are also on a streak of their own tomorrow night.

Connecticut has only lost 3 conference games so far this season, yet one of them was at the hands of Notre Dame.  In the last match-up the Irish jumped out to an early lead, and lead all the way until late in the second half when UConn surged back to take the lead.  Ultimately however, two threes from Kurz and McAlarney gave the Irish the victory. The Irish were lead by Kyle McAlarney who posted a career high 32 points. Harangody chipped in 14 and 10 rebounds, however he was only 5-23 from the field.  The Huskies 7'3" center Hasheem Thabeet really made it tough for Luke down low.

Keys to the Game

Don't rely on Harangody. Last game Luke had very difficult game against Hasheem Thabeet.  He was being blocked left and right.  That's understandable when the other center is nearly 7 inches taller than you.  This game, however look for Harangody to kick it out and feed the cutters more, rather than to make a move.

Set the Pace. Connecticut is on a 6 game winning streak, at home, now ranked, and hungry for revenge.  The Irish need to play their game not how Connecticut wants to force them to play.  The Irish need to set the pace, play their game and stay composed.  If the Irish do this they should come out on top.

Players need to step up. Lets face it, KMac isn't going to score 32 points again.  I'm not saying he can't do it, it's just not likely.  And Harangody isn't gonna score 25 down low either.  Everyone needs to contribute and have a balanced attack.

Let's hope the Irish can pull this out.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Notre Dame: Where Amazing Happens

I found this video on YouTube and figured that it had to be here.  Amazing video for an amazing team. Thanks ckohorst for making it.



Like Stuart I don't live anywhere near ND, and I'm not planning to in the future.

 The honest truth is that I have no idea why I am a fan of Notre Dame. I guess the way to explain it would be to say it is what it is. Does any one really know why they are a fan of the teams they like to watch? Maybe your parents brought you up that way, still why did you choose to listen to them. I feel that ND has a lot of potential for the future, no I have not been a fan for very long, but I can tell you we have some amazing players on the team right now and they are great to watch. The team really inspires me though. Always lacking respect no one expects the  Notre Dame basketball team to amount to anything.  But this year will prove the critics that Notre Dame isn't just a football school.

They may have some close calls and extremely nervewracking games, but that is what makes you want to be a fan, the hope that someday your team will amount to being better than everyone elses, to win a title and throw it into everyones face that thought they couldn't do it. That is what being a fan is about and thats why ND makes it so exciting to be one. I mean really, is it that fun to watch a team like the Memphis Tigers kill everyone? What would be exciting is to have someone beat them.


The Team

This post is to give you a brief run down of the Notre Dame 07-08 squad.  It seems like I need to give a little background information before jumping right into things, yet if you are here you should already know about the this.  None the less, here it is:

Rob Kurz Sr. 6'9"
Rob Kurz is the only Senior on the Notre Dame squad.  Averages 12.8 points per game and 8 rebounds per game.  No doubt about it the most consistent player on Notre Dame.  Every game he goes out there and does what does.  He has the ability to step out and shoot the 3. Which is key because it draws the defense out and opens the post for Harangody.  He is the most experienced player on the court for the Irish and rarely makes mistakes.

Kyle McAlarney Jr. 6'0"
Kyle McAlarney plays a mixture of 1 and 2 guard for the Irish.  He Averages 15.2 points per game.  He is an excellent 3 pointer shooter, around 45% from deep.  He also has the ability to put the ball on the floor and take it to the hoop which some shooters have trouble with.  Rarely turns the ball over, excellent ball handler.

Ryan Ayers Jr. 6'7"
Ryan Ayers plays the 3 guard or small forward  on the Irish.  Has started for the majority of season however lost his spot to Zach Hillesland.  Another excellent 3 point shooter, but not much to show for it averaging 8 points a game.  If he shoots a little more and becomes more assertive with the ball he will become great.

Zach Hillesland Jr. 6'9"
Hillesland is the starting small forward for the Irish averaging 5 points a game.  He is always energetic and fired up when on the floor.  Can take it to the hoop, not a big 3 point threat.  Very athletic and a very good ball handler for his size.

Luke Zeller Jr. 6'10"
Luke Zeller is the backup big man for the Irish averaging 5 points per game.  He is another 3 point threat for theBold Irish.  A similar player to Kurz. He should fit in Kurz' position next year.  Needs to improve scoring in post.

Luke Harangody So. 6'8"
No words can describe how big Luke Harangody is to the Irish.  When he is in the game it changes Notre Dame's style of play to low post from 3 point orientated.  Has master the mid range jumper as well as a jump hook he can do just about over everyone.  Luke averages just over 20 points a game as well as 10.2 rebounds.  

Tory Jackson So. 5'11"
The point guard for the Irish.  Dishes the ball very well and can take it to the hoop.  The only area of improvement is his shooting. If Jackson becomes a 3 point threat he will be very tough to defend.

Jonathan Peoples So. 6'3"
Oh Jonathan Peoples.  I have been a critic of him for a while now.  I really think Brey should try one of the Freshman over him and see how that goes.  Well I guess  he does his role well though.  He is a utility guard who gives people well deserved breaks. And he may not score much , but he doesn't ruin the game either. 

Tyrone Nash, Charleton Scott, Ty Proffit, Tim Abromaitis, Tom Kopko  Fr.
The freshmen on Notre Dame don't get much playing time. However, they are all promising from what I see and should continue Notre Dame's recent success.


TOP 25 Update

After two impressive wins this week, (the blowout at Seton Hall and the win vs #16 Marquette) the Irish have moved a mere 2 spots up this week.  In my opinion the Irish should have went up more.  They proved they could play like a ranked team this week, but got no respect in the polls.  
However, the ESPN/USA today poll showed a little more respect by listing the Irish in the 18th slot right behind Connecticut.  

In other Irish news Luke Harangody has been named once again to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll.  For the fourth time this season Harangody has been named to the list.  Averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds this week he deserves it.  But then again it seems like Harangody averages that every week which would make him a runner for the Honor Roll every week.



Well let me first start off by saying that I don't live in Indiana. I live in the suburbs of northern Connecticut. I'm also not very Irish, maybe 10%. But for some reason I find myself being an Irish fan. And for all you fans out there you can say that its not because of Notre Dame's amazing basketball success.

Being very young I don't really know about much history of the basketball program. However i have lived through some pretty exciting years as a Notre Dame basketball fan. I can remember the days of Matt Carroll and Chris Thomas and the trip to the sweet sixteen. I also remember the not so good days, such as heartbreaking last season of Chris Quinn's Irish career where the team always seemed to lose in overtime, and the disappointing loss to Winthrop in the first round of last years NCAA tournament.

I was thinking about starting a blog for sometime and I realized that I just couldn't wait till next year to do so. So let me inform on how Notre Dame has been doing so far this year:

The Irish started the year off 2-2 with two losses in the Paradise Jam Tournament. But after that the Irish went on then went on an 8 game winning streak to go into Conference play at 10-2. The Irish so far are an impressive 8-2 in the most competitive conference in my opinion. The Irish have also broke into the Top 25 polls at number 22. Here is a look at the Big East standings today:

1. Georgetown 9-2 .818 19-3 .864
2. Notre Dame 8-2 .800 18-4 .818
3. Louisville 8-3 .727 18-6 .750
4. Connecticut 7-3 .700 18-5 .783
Pittsburgh 6-4 .600 18-5 .783
Marquette 6-5 .545 16-6 .727
Syracuse 6-5 .545 16-8 .667
Cincinnati 6-5 .545 11-12 .478
West Virginia 5-5 .500 16-7 .696
Seton Hall 5-6 .455 15-9 .625
DePaul 5-6 .455 10-13 .435
Villanova 4-6 .400 14-8 .636
Providence 4-7 .364 13-10 .565
St. John's 4-7 .364 10-12 .455
Rutgers 2-10 .167 10-15 .400
USF 1-10 .091 10-14 .400

Thinking back to the title of this post I realized that I didn't answer it.  That's because there is no real answer.  I don't know why I am a Notre Dame fan, I just am.