Notre Dame Basketball Report: Irish Bubble Nearly Burst

Over an eight-day span, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish suffered a pair of painful defeats that were wrapped around their lone win during this stretch. That left Notre Dame with a 16-12 overall mark and 6-9 within the highly-competitive ACC, which leaves them clinging to hope.

Having watched their season take on water earlier due to a seven-game losing streak, Notre Dame needs to finish with two wins in their last three games to have even a shred of hope in that five-day tournament challenge. To start, that means beating Wake Forest and Pitt.

Notre Dame Basketball’s Week in Review

Last Monday, Notre Dame acquitted themselves for the first 34+ minutes of the contest. However, the problem is that 40-minute games are the norm, with the Tar Heels using that final stretch to emerge with an 83-66 victory.

Having stayed close up to that point, that final North Carolina surge began after Martinas Geben’s dunk with 5:43 to play sliced the Irish deficit to just four at 67-63. Unfortunately, the only points for Mike Brey’s squad over the rest of the contest came on Nikola Djogo’s three-pointer with just 1:06 left, ending a string of 13 unanswered points by the Tar Heels.

Facing Boston College for the second time in 12 days, it was the Irish that took advantage of a huge first half run to collect an 84-67 win. Matt Farrell delivered most of the damage during the opening 20 minutes by scoring 26 of the team’s 46 first-half points.

Leading by 16 heading into intermission, Notre Dame was able to match baskets with the Eagles after the break to gain the victory, though Boston College managed to whittle the margin down to nine points at one point. The key to the Irish win was sharp shooting all around, which delivered a 63 percent success rate from the field. That included their long-range shooting of 61 percent.

Returning home to face the Miami Hurricanes on Monday night, the Irish suffered costly breakdowns in the waning portions of each half that ended up costing them the game. Notre Dame watched the Hurricanes go on a 15-4 first-half run that gave Miami a 38-29 halftime advantage.

The Irish would charge back with a nine-minute, 27-12 run that gave them a 62-57 lead with 7:51 to go. Ultimately, that ended up leading to a bad flashback from one week earlier, this time with Miami taking the lead back by scoring 13 unanswered points. One final comeback bid got the deficit down to two points with 1:10 left, but the Canes came away with a 77-74 victory.

Notre Dame Standouts of the Week

Matt Farrell

Farrell’s three games began with his near double-double of nine points and nine rebounds against North Carolina. That seemingly impressive feat was marred by his horrific shooting touch from the field, connecting on just three of his 18 attempts. He bounced back with 37 points against Boston College, drilling 10 three-pointers on his 12 tries before putting up 16 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out six assists against Miami.

Martinas Geben

The man in the middle averaged six rebounds per game in the three contests and notched 49 points in the scoring column. He scored 18 points against the Tar Heels, hitting on all but one of his nine shots and grabbing seven boards. In the win over Boston College, he tallied 12 points and five rebounds and then contributed a 19-point, six-rebound effort in the Hurricanes clash.

T.J. Gibbs

A trio of double-digit efforts resulted in Gibbs scoring a combined 36 points in the team’s three games. His 10 points against North Carolina was primarily accomplished at the foul line, the result of his frigid shooting from the field that ended in a night of hitting just one of nine shots from the field. A 14-point performance in the win at Boston College then preceded an 11-point night in the loss to Miami.

Notre Dame Basketball’s Week Ahead

A dwindling number of games remaining doesn’t offer the Irish a lot of chances to move up in the conference standings. The first of those contests comes on Saturday afternoon when Notre Dame once again hits the road to take on Wake Forest. The first ACC matchup in 2014 between these two schools saw Wake win both games. However, since then, Notre Dame’s collected four straight wins, including last year’s seven-point victory.

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  1. Looks like Kylia and Christian had a date. Shouldn’t have ordered the Blue devil dessert, woulda kept it under a hundred bucks. But, they were sure living the high life. One of my nephews was hall monitor at ND when he was in law school. Oh my, was his mouth zippered shut! He who is without sin throw the first shillelagh. BTW, Marvin Bagley III probably won’t go one and done, He should still be dunking in high school. If the Irish could get a couple one and Doners We may get to the final four here in Minneapolis next year. We’ll dye the Mississippi green.

  2. Well, Kelly, your graven image for Duke has been “Certified” by the NCAA. Are you still worshipping at Duke’s shrine?

    Congratulations, Greg, you know how to pick ’em!!

    Stand up, take a bow!

    I’m just surprised that you didn’t add Kansas, Kentucky and those whited sepulchres at Michigan Statye to your “Low lifes that ND should pattern itself after.”

    I dunno, Greg, you may need to “up your game” if you’re going to be my go-to guy as defining the “lowest common denominator.”

    Perhaps you should run for the Board of Trustees, with a platform of replacing “God, Country, Notre Dame” with “Crooks, cheaters shoe companies and flesh peddlers.” I’ve checked around. It looks like you are just the man for the job!

    Again, stand up and take a bow! Let’s hear it for Greg and making ND more like Duke!!!

  3. Duranko, Now I know why such posters as SFR have such great disdain for you. After just posting a rather innocuous remark you came at me just like Oliver Cromwell did to the Irish with your Bible in one hand and sword swinging wildly at anyone who disagrees. You will give no quarter, not even overtime. You assume to be Lord Protector of this site. You, like Cromwell have a false sense of superiority.

    1. You meant Nolan Cromwell, right? He could really bring it, both at KU and as a Ram! This Oliver Cromwell?/??? Well, shucks that is way too high-falutin’ for a country boy like me!

      SFR? You mean the guy who ridicules the handicapped and ridicules Mike Tomlin on grounds, of, uh, personal preference? you mean a library clerk from FIU? Well, let me be pluperfectly clear.

      I would much, much more have Rob regard me as an enemy than as a respected colleague.

      I am HONORED that I am not a part of his “Us.” In the words of the great Samuel Goldwyn “Include me out.”

  4. HUNTER SPEARS is a big commit for the IRISH. Spears and Jacob Lacey are 4 star DL for the class so far, and they both talk like more of the D-LINEMAN from junior day are coming! GO IRISH!!!!

  5. Duranko, Duke wins, we lose, copy. Kobe and LeBron were on to it all and never entered those hallowed halls, but went right to court. Whenever I read Boranko, I fall asleep reading. Cheaper than melatonin. BT W, Coach K catching fast to the Wizard of Westwood. Looks like He is doing something right.

    1. ND won’t go that route. They expect their players to complete their degrees, FB, BB, doesn’t matter.

      Lately, though, you’ve started to see that experience pay off. Don’t underestimate the value of having juniors and seniors playing on your team that know Brey’s system in and out. This year is a bad year, mostly because key players have been injured. This is just one of those years where ND has a hex on it.

      But ND made it to two elite 8’s in a row. And they were one shot away from beating UK and possibly their first NC. Lately, this year notwithstanding, ND has been the cream of the crop of the ACC. I think next year they will be a force to reckon with.

    1. Sure, Greg, blow up Notre Dame’s mission for a win or two. Open the whore door. Why not invite John Calipari in as a consultant?. in the words of Joe Welch “Finally, sir, have you no sense of decency!”

      Everytime I want to find this board’s lowest common denominator, I just look at one of your posts.

  6. Anything short of an ACC Championship game at this point I think the Irish are out of the NCAA Tournament. If they have an eearly exit out of the ACC playoff, they may be out of the running for an NIT, depending on how their last 3 games go.

    All that being said, we could be setting up for a pretty good year next year. A lot of players who otherwise would not be playing this year have gotten valuable playing time.

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