Although I rarely post about Notre Dame basketball, the implosion of the ND football program and my Hoosier basketball program have left me floundering.
So, I've decided to jump on the Notre Dame basketball bandwagon this year, as Mike Brey has quietly built a Tier 1 basketball team over the past few years. Also, since I live in South Bend, I get to see far more Irish basketball than I do IU basketball and ND football combined, so I am slowly falling in love with this program.
And tonight, the Irish play arguably their biggest game since they reached the Final Four in 1978.
They tip-off against the Tarheels of North Carolina at 10 p.m. ET in the finals of the Maui Invitational. (I'm leaving work before then, whether I get these cases filed or not, and watching it at the downtown Buffalo Wild Wings)
This is a golden opportunity for the Irish, who can, in one fell swoop, establish themselves as not only the team to beat in the Big East, but also a national contender for the national championship. When seedings come out in March, there is no bigger "good win" than beating the consensus #1 team in the land.
Hansbrough has been bothered by a bum ankle, and his conditioning is not up to par as a result. Look for Harangody to try to establish himself in the paint as a result. These teams match up well strength-on-strength, but the Tarheels are a deeper team. The Irish need to play balls to the wall for the entire game, and they can pull out a victory.
Not that you need any additional motivation when you tip-off against the #1 team in the land, but if I were Coach Brey, I would remind these players of what the Tarheels did to our football team just a couple weeks ago.
Payback's a bitch.
Go Irish! Beat the Tarheels!
Notre Dame 104