Saturday, February 28, 2009

Irish fall at UConn

#2 UConn: 72
Notre Dame: 65

The Irish fought the entire game with heart and put forth everything they had.  That's all you can ask for, especially against the number 1 team in the country on the road.  Everyone out their hustled and rebounded.  You could tell the Irish really wanted this one.

In order to make the NCAA Tournament the Irish will need to win out, meaning a victory over ranked opponent Villanova.  Depending on who you ask, the Irish will either be in the NCAA tournament if they win out or on the bubble.  The selection committee needs to recognize that the Irish are now playing their best ball and that they gave the best team in the nation a run for their money on the road.  

Let's beat Nova.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Irish Comeback to Defeat Ruters

Notre Dame:  70
Rutgers:  65

Hope is still alive.  Notre Dame was down by double digits in the first half, but battled back to win a game that everyone considered a must-win for the team.  Mike Brey really motivated the team as well as the crowd to help get the victory.  I have never seen him so animated, you can tell he still wants this just as much as anyone.  The win for the Irish moves them to 16-11 overall and 7-8 in the Big East. Again, the win also keeps NCAA hopes alive.  

Harangody contributed 20 points and 15 rebounds, a typical game for the big guy.  Tory Jackson had 18 points with 4 assists, he really turned it on in the second half.  He was a big reason the Irish were able to comeback and win.  McAlarney also did his best and added 13 points.  Tyrone Nash also had a great game, getting big rebounds and put backs when the Irish looked like they had no answer to Rutgers.  Just work on the free throws. 

Rutger's freshmen Mike Rosario is going to be good, he contributed 20 points to his team's effort and will big a key guy for them over the next few seasons.

This win moves attention to Saturday, which is not a must win game for the Irish, but it is very important.  Most analysts are saying that the Irish need to win 2 out of their last 3 to be in tournament contention.  St. John's is a must win and that leaves UConn and Villanova left.  One of those games has to be won.  The Irish will obviously, fair better against Nova at home than the new #1 team in the nation on a hostile court,  but upsetting UConn would almost guarantee the Irish a spot in the tourney and take off the load of pressure that the Irish have on their shoulders. 

Saturday needs to be a fight and as Mike Brey would say, it needs to be interesting.  The Irish were counted out just a few weeks ago, now is not the time to backdown.   

Monday, February 23, 2009

Irish to Face Rutgers in a Must-Win Game

With their backs against the wall the Irish have performed well so far, now they face another test against the Scarlet Knights.  This is one of the easier games that the team has left but by no means is it a gimme.  Every game is a battle in the Big East and all effort needs to be focused on the game at hand.

I am tired of hearing fans talk about we need to win this many games or have this many loses.   The fact of the matter is that the Irish are back in the tournament discussion and are even predicted to get in today at a 10 seed at  What needs to be done is for the team to focus all their attention and effort against the current opponent.  Forget about the upcoming games and just focus and win the one at hand.

Rutgers has only won 1 Big East game this year and have a record of 10-17.  Their officially a "spoiler" team right now.  They will go all out and do their best to try to ruin any bubble teams chances.  Any team that loses to them now and is on the bubble likely won't make the tournament.   This is why teams like Rutgers, USF, DePaul, and St. John's are very dangerous at this point,  they catch you off guard while your thinking about the next game.
Get a win tomorrow.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Notre Dame defeats Providence

Notre Dame: 103
Providence: 84

Harangody had 18 points and 8 rebounds, he failed to get his 20th double-double of the year.  However, the real story is Ryan Ayers with 28, McAlarney 25 and Nash Peoples combined to contribute 21 bench points.  

This was a must win again and the Irish again won it with their backs against the wall.  The Irish are now 15-11 and 6-8 in the Big East.  Next game vs Rutgers is another must-win.

Friday, February 20, 2009

At Providence

NCAA hopes lie on the line. Do or die.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Look at the Big East Standings

Notre Dame is a similar position to upcoming opponent, West Virginia.  In order to win, the Irish will need to play their best ball.  The Irish have not proved they can win on the road yet, and now is the time to prove it.   West Virginia is very important, almost a must win situation.

Now a lot of people have been citing the fact that Notre Dame is dominant in the series vs the two teams, which is why they will win.  Just because the Irish have won 13 of the last 14 games against the Mountaineers does not make the next game any different.  

Monday, February 16, 2009

Irish handle South Florida

Notre Dame:     67
South Florida:  57

The game was a must-win and the Irish won it.  That's all that counts because the game was not that pretty,  The Irish had a terrible shooting performance,  but played strong defense and forced the Bulls to take contested shots.  The good thing about the game is that the Irish were able to beat an inferior team without playing good offense,  the bad thing is that if the Irish play like that vs West Virginia then they won't win.

Luke Harangody and Kyle McAlarney both had 19 points to carry the team.  However, in my opinion the story of the game was Tyrone Nash.  He had a career high 8 points and played very good defense and rebounded well.  Whenever the ball is loose it looks like he is the only player on Notre Dame that will do anything to get it and I think someone like that is what the team was missing over the 7 game losing streak.  

With the win the Irish improve to 14-10 and 5-7.  In order to gain a sure spot in the tournament I believe the Irish need to go 5-1 the rest of the way.  4-2 could do it, but it is real risky.  The Irish should consider West Virginia a must win on Wednesday and they need to come prepared to win.  WV is a hostile court to play on, but if the Irish come out like they did against Louisville, they can win it.  

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Today's Game is a Must-win

Despite, the win over Louisville on Thrursday, the Irish still remain on the outside of the bubble looking in.  But let's look at the big picture.  Notre Dame is 13-10 and 4-7 in conference play with 7 games left to go.  4 of the last 7 are home, those are all must win games.  The toughest opponent in those four games will be Villanova, but the Irish also play St. John's and Rutgers.  There are also 3 road games ahead as well.  The best case scenario here would be to go 2-1.  The games include at Connecticut, West Virginia and Providence.  They are all tough games, but UConn stands out as a game that is almost un-winnable

Here are the scenarios that I believe will get ND into the tourney:

1. Go 7-0 the rest of the way and finish 20-10 and 11-7 in conference.  Irish will get in easily.

2. Go 6-1 the rest of the way and finsih 19-11 with a 10-8 conference record.  Irish should get in.

3. Go 5-2, finish with a 18-12 record and a 9-9 conference record AND have a strong Big East Tournament performance.  Irish should get in.

4. Anything lower than 5-2 will result in a below .500 conference record and the only way into the tournament will be a BET win. 

Numbers 2 and 3 are highly possible,  1 would be great but it is not that realistic considering the game at UConn.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Notre Dame destroys #5 Louisville

Notre Dame:   90
#5 Louisville:  57

The 100th post of this blog sure is a good one.

"For everyone who has ever been counted out, but refused to be knocked out this one is for you."

Everyone has written off the Irish,  but today they showed there is still a lot of fight left in them.  A win tonight was crucial and proved that the Irish have not quit and that they are going on, going strong and going all the way.

The Irish ended their longest losing streak under Mike Brey ever tonight in dramatic fashion.  Louisville was one of the hottest teams in the nation, playing one of the coldest teams in the nation and boy did that change in a hurry.  Everyone on the Irish played well tonight including the slumping Hillesland and Ayers.

Luke Harangody had 32 points and finished with his 43rd career double-double.  A big night for Gody again.  Ayers had 19 points and really showed just how much potential he has.  Jackson had 14 and McAlarney 24.  Hillesland failed to reach double digits, but had a good game overall. 

This win means a lot.  If you had just watched the Irish for the frist time today, you would NEVER think that they could go on a 7 game losing streak, but none the less they did.  Whenever you lose 7 in a row, you lose a big chance of making the NCAA tournament.   The Irish need to keep this momentum going to beat South Florida and the other upcoming opponents.
It feels real good to win one. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Starting Line-up to Change Again

Coach Brey has stated today that he is still looking for the right mix of players to start the game.  Before the current 7 game losing streak, the Irish line-up looked like this:

PG Tory Jackson
SG Kyle McAlarney
F Ryan Ayers 
F Zach Hillesland
C Luke Harangody

Over the past 5 games, 4 different line-ups have been used to try the game.  McAlarney and Gody have never left the line-up which makes sense but if Brey wants to change up the line-up he needs to commit to it.  For example,  Jonathan Peoples started a couple games but still only played his usual 9-12 minutes.  It's not like just a different line-up will shake things up, you need changes in playing time.  This is what I think the line-up should be for Louisville tomorrow:

PG Jackson
SG McAlarney
F Tyrone Nash
F Luke Zeller
C Luke Harangody

Ayers and Hillesland have probably been the most disappointing players, over this very disappointing stretch.  Nash needs to start getting more time.  I'd also like to see the Irish go nine deep tomorrow.  Which means time from Nash and Scott aside from then usual 7.  What did they have to lose?  Sticking with our "reliable" players isn't very reliable right now.  

Notre Dame's hopes of the NCAA Tournament will be crushed if they lose tomorrow.  

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Final Stand


If the team loses on thursday to Louisville there is no more hope for the Irish to make the NCAA tournament as an at large bid.  The Irish are 12-10 and have zero momentum, just like any team that went from 12-3 to 12-10 would be.  This mid-season catastrophe has done everything but destroy the teams chances of making the tournament, which still hangs by a thread.  The Irish need to be tough and not let this losing streak ruin everything while they still can.

I believe that in order for the team to make the tournament, they will have to win all but 1 of their final games.  Ending the season with an 19-11 record should get the team in the tournament as maybe an 8, 9 or 10 seed, similar to Villanova last year.  An 18-12 record with a strong Big East performance could do it as well, but then the Irish would be a major bubble team probably leaning out. 

And their is still a chance that the Irish could win the Big East tournament.  If the tournament started today no way, but if the Irish can get hot and go into the post-season with some momentum, the team has the talent to do it.  

First thing is first,  the Irish absolutely need to win on Thursday vs Louisville.  That's about as much as a must win as you will ever see.