Not Done Yet: Notre Dame Mounts Crazy Comeback in ACC Tourney

For a long stretch of time on Wednesday night, it looked like the Irish were headed straight to the NIT.  Needing at least a win tonight and possibly another to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament, the Irish found themselves down 21 points with 15 minutes left against the 7th seeded Hokies of Virginia Tech.  The Irish would come to life, however, by mounting a furious comeback that ended with the Irish advancing and living to play another day.

Notre Dame couldn’t buy a bucket over the first 25 minutes of action, but then all of a sudden, the threes starting falling.  Before you knew it, the lead was under 10.  As the Irish chipped away at the lead, it was a Bonzie Colson desperation three that banked off the glass that cut the Hokie lead to four that signified that this team was not done yet.

Colson started really slow in his 4th game back from injury and looked winded in the first half already.  Notre Dame’s senior star, however, came to life along with the the rest of the Irish.

Before Colson’s heave though, Matt Farrell turned the game around during a stoppage in play. After an offensive foul was called on Chris Clarke, Farrell took the ball right out of his hands as Clarke argued.  Clark took exception to that and shoved Farrell resulting in a technical foul.  Farrell nailed both free throws and then TJ Gibbs ended up hitting another pair of free throws on the ensuing possession for a four point swing.

Farrell led the Irish with 22 points while Colson chipped in a modest – by his standards – 12.  Plueger added 14 and Gibbs 13 as the Irish nearly had all five of their starters in double figures.  Martinas Geben feel just two points short with an 8 point, 5 rebound night.

A loss would have all but eliminated the Irish from NCAA Tournament consideration, but the win has ESPN giving them a 72% chance at making it to the big dance.  There is still work to be done however as Joel Lunardi still has the Irish as one of the last four teams out.

Second seeded Duke awaits Notre Dame in Brooklyn.  The Irish and Blue Devils tip off at 7:00 PM on ESPN2.  Duke handed Notre Dame it’s 7th straight loss during the Irish’s 7 game skid while Colson was out.  The loss was a low point in the season as the Duke faithful chanted NIT to the Irish as Duke pulled away in the end.

A win tomorrow night would all but guarantee Notre Dame a trip to the NCAA’s.  It’ll be the third game in three nights for the Irish, but if they play anything close to how they played over the final 15 minutes tonight, they might just be playing a 4th in 4 days on Friday.

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  1. Wouldn’t it look better to have 24 wins instead of 20. But, as usual, $$$ wins out every time. ND a perfect fit for NIT Championship this time, should they dare.

    1. I agree with MrP. Players don’t play to get into the NIT. They want the Big Dance. There is no comparison to going to the tournament. Nobody cares about the NIT. It’s barely a step above no postseason at all. I can’t even tell you who won the NIT last year off the top of my head.

      But it’s likely a moot point. After their performance against Duke, their NCAA chances are probably on life support, if not flatlined at this point.

  2. Buzz Williams is going to be glad to see Farrell graduate. He has been the Hokie killer the last two years. First he had that huge steal last year when VT tried to conserve time by rolling the ball up the floor and now the huge Technical Foul this year.

    I look for Duke to come out with pressure early trying to take away ND’s legs but if we can weather the storm we have Bonzie Colson – our Duke killer- on a mission. GO IRISH!

  3. Damian, RayJay, like your fanaticism. But, let’s be realistic. I’d much rather see the Irish alive and well in NIT than get x’d out on everyone’s 64 cards after opener. You know they will be pitted up against one of the seeded teams out of the gate. A Blow out certainly wouldn’t help things. With the 20 wins and Notre Dame selling name they are assured placement in NCAA. Total fantasy that they will win game one. All year they have been up and down.

    1. NCAA Tournament, regardless of getting knocked out in the first round is better than the NIT. Every high school/college kid wants their chance to play in the NCAA tournament not the NIT. From a recruiting stand point that would be a YUGE dissapointment

  4. What an incredible turnaround. When they were down 21 with 15 minutes to go, I pretty much left them for dead. Up to that point they looked listless and VT was in control. It was like a cloud being lifted. All of a sudden they relearned how to make shots again and make stops. That 8 minute mark with the technical foul was a real turning point in the game. From that point on ND took control. It took them until the final 2 minutes to take the lead once and for all. Just goes to show never count out the Irish.

    And the excellent FT shooting really pays off. When a team is down against the Irish in the final minute, fouling them is frankly a waste of time, they are that good at the line. All it does is make the other team lose by more points.

    We’ll get to see how good they really are against Duke now. I’d love to send Duke packing. I’d love to see Pfleuger put up a bunch of points. That ‘airball’ chant Duke fans were shouting at their last game was really becoming tiresome. It’s be great for ND to beat Duke and Ffleuger to be the lead scorer for that contest just so we can say ‘IN YOUR FACE’

    Go Irish!

  5. It would be great to get in NCAA, but, would be #16 seed vs. # 1 seed, one and done, prestige. Would rather see Irish go NIT route and get that Championship, exposure.

    1. First of all they would not be a 16 seed, it does not work that way. Also, if they were a 16 seed and lost it would still be better than the NIT. Why do you think the fans from Duke were yelling NIT last time. The NIT is a joke now. No one cares. Plus, this team on a good night can beat anyone if the shots are falling. No team stands out this year. That is not to say one of the better teams cannot get hot and play to their potential, it just means that if they do not, every team in the field is beatable.

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