March 25, 2009 // Notre Dame Basketball

Notre Dame NIT Final 4 Bound

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Notre Dame won it’s third straight NIT game on Wednesday night to advance the Final 4 of the NIT next week in New York.  The Irish held off a late Kentucky comeback attempt to win 77-67 in front of the first good sized crowd at the Joyce Center for the NIT and have earned a Final 4 matchup with Penn State on March 31.

Luke Harangody started off the game on a tear and finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds – his nation leading 24th 20-10 game of the season.  Kyle McAlarney, playing his last home game of his career, scored 15 points while Ryan Ayers used some hot three point shooting to score 14 points in his last home game as well.

Tyrone Nash made a case for a starting spot once again with a much better game than starter Zach Hillesland in fewer minutes.  Nash scored just 2 points, but chipped in 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block in just 18 minutes.  Hillesland meanwhile failed to score a single point (or even take a single field goal attempt) while adding just 2 rebounds and an assist in 24 minutes.  Nash gives the Irish much more athleticism and more production when he is on the floor yet continues to only be used off of the bench.

Jonathan Peoples continues to make a case for more playing time as well.  Peoples scored 6 points and picked up 2 steals in only 8 minutes on the court.  Peoples has played very well throughout the NIT and is looking like a very capable starting guard for next year’s team with Kyle McAlarney graduating.

The last time the Irish visited Madison Square Garden for the NIT Final 4 came in 2000 when first year head coach Matt Doherty took Notre Dame the final against Wake Forest.  Notre Dame lost the game and Doherty left South Bend after just one season to become the head coach at North Carolina.

Notre Dame can make the best of a bad situation next week with two more wins, but seeing the Irish handle Kentucky from start to finish only serves as a reminder of the potential this team had.  With Wednesday night’s victory, the Irish improved to 21-14 on the season.  Two more wins would give Notre Dame 23 which would be the 4th best season total under Mike Brey.  Unfortunately one more loss will also give Notre Dame the most single season losses under Brey as well.

Comments to this Article

  • bleednd82 commented on March 26th, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Irish looked good beating UK last night. I realize that JC on these boards didnt give the Irish much of a chance but Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuke pulled it through. He is just a monter. I see the Irish beating Penn St and then playing Baylor in the Championship. NIT banner is better than no banner at all.

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  • JC commented on March 26th, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Bleed,

    Just was quoting Brey and asking how to beat Kentucky, the answer was out shoot them. Kentucky’s defense was not as good as I thought it would be and ND played better offensively and may very well win the NIT; when they are hot they can beat anyone. Defense and boards are their only Achilles Heal for at least 14 games. That’s why we are watching the NIT.

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  • bleednd82 commented on March 26th, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    JC,
    I agree that expectations were very HIGH for this team. It was a let down but I try to be positive with what I have. Irish keep getting W’s and the season is extended. Anyways, UK couldnt handle Luke at all. I mean Patterson is HUGE and couldnt guard him. No one could. ND shot decent from 3 like you stated. Brey needs to be more positive with what he says. Ohh and I think our Achilles Heal is rebounding ohh and Zach Hillesland.

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  • JC commented on March 27th, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Nova just crushed Duke 77-54 by putting on a text book defensive clinic. The good news to this season would be the Big East might win the NCAA and NIT.

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  • bleednd82 commented on March 28th, 2009 at 10:52 am

    I agree. I think Pitt Louisville and UConn will be there in final 4. ND should win the NIT. Big East is proving why it is the best conf in college Bball. I mean it is just nutz how good the conf is.

    I’m going to NY if they get to championship game (which they should). Ive never been there. Pretty pumped. Any suggestions on where to eat? I mean like a nice place and then kinda like a good pizza place? I will be there for 3 days if they go to championship game.

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  • JC commented on March 28th, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Bleed,

    Ben Benson’s Steak House on 123 West 52nd Street or McCormick & Schimicks’s Seafood Restaurant 1285 Avenue of the Americas (two of my personal favorites). And if you’re into Sushi, I recommend HARU on 205 west 43rd st. Normally when I am in New York, I generally order carry-out pizza in the room based on what the hotel recommends. Have a safe and fun trip.

    [Reply]

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