Notre Dame Basketball Report: 0-3 Week Has Irish Playing for the Future

Three more losses to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish’s won-loss ledger last week now puts them under .500 for the year with an overall mark of 13-15 and an ACC mark of 3-12. That overall record is especially notable since it marks only the second time during Mike Brey’s lengthy tenure that the team has had a losing overall record.

That previous time came five seasons ago, when the team had its only other losing season in Brey’s 19 years at the helm. That’s not a good omen for the final three games of the regular season, with some stiff challenges still remaining and what would be an arduous road in the conference tourney.

Notre Dame Basketball’s Week in Review

Last Tuesday night, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons faced the Irish and came away with a 75-68 victory. A cold spell in the final 3:43 before intermission saw the Irish miss their last five field goal attempts and take a slim 36-35 lead into halftime. Each team continued to trade leads after the break, with a 23-10 Wake run indicative of Notre Dame’s inability to put the ball in the basket. The Irish did make one final surge to tie the game at 66, but a 9-2 run in the final three minutes by the Demon Deacons sealed the defeat.

Hoping to get some payback against Virginia Tech was the plan going into Saturday’s game, but that concept fell apart early. That’s because four turnovers and making just one of their first 10 shots from the field put the Irish in a hole. That meant that they spent the rest of the game making a comeback that proved futile.

Holding a 49-27 advantage in that area, Tech’s 18 boards on the offensive glass matched the Notre Dame output on the defensive side of that category. That proved to be deadly in the second half, when second-chance opportunities allowed the Hokies to hold off a last-ditch bid by the Irish.

In Tallahassee on Monday night, the Irish and Florida State Seminoles traded leads for most of the first six minutes. Notre Dame then put together a 22-11 run to take a 27-17 advantage with 6:21 left before intermission. That jolt woke up the Seminoles, who began a 16-6 run to tie the game at 33 at the half.

Coming out strong after the break, the Irish began a 12-4 run in the first four minutes to take an eight-point lead. They’d hold that advantage until the final seven minutes, but stayed close enough to still maintain hopes of an upset. That didn’t come to pass and the Seminoles came away with the 68-62 victory.

Notre Dame Standout Players

TJ Gibbs

Gibbs led the Irish on the week in scoring with 45 points, tossing in 23 in the loss to Wake Forest before tacking on 18 more against Virginia Tech. However, his two performances were distinctly different as he scored the bulk of his points in the first contest during the first half and hit on eight of his 12 shots from the the field. That touch deserted him against the Hokies as he made just five of his 17 attempts. His offense was again stymied at Florida State with just four points, though he did manage to hand out five assists and pick up four of Notre Dame’s 10 steals in the contest.

John Mooney

Mooney came close to three more double-doubles, but ended up only picking up one for the week. In the game against Wake, his 16 points were aided by a pair of three-pointers, with nine boards and a pair of assists also part of his night. In the Tech contest, he contributed 12 points and managed to corral 10 rebounds, the latter being an area where Notre Dame struggled all afternoon. Foul trouble at Florida State limited his effectiveness in the first half, but he did finish with 14 points, eight boards and three steals.

D.J. Harvey

The offensive woes for the Irish on the week were such that Harvey made this group despite barely breaking double-figures in the last of the three games. His nine points against the Demon Deacons were followed by seven points and four rebounds in the loss to the Hokies, with the guard hitting just six of his 17 shots from the field. He did manage to pace the Irish offense against Florida State with 18 points and also grabbed a pair of rebounds.

Notre Dame Basketball’s Week Ahead

On Sunday afternoon, a matchup against the Louisville Cardinals is on the agenda, with the Irish having dropped their last two meetings in this conference tilt. Last year’s defeat was especially agonizing, coming in an 82-79 double overtime loss.

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  1. The same problems keep coming back again and again. These lengthy cold spells where they couldn’t hit the basket if it were 3 feet in diameter. And yesterday against Louisville they had trouble at the FT line, something they’re usually pretty good at.

    I’m growing increasingly concerned that some of these problems will start to leak into next year. I’m not seeing much in the way of improvement overall. At times it looks like the team could care less and just wants to go home.

    As for the rest of this year, they’re best hope is to make a run in the ACC playoffs….though honestly I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they lose their first game. Outside of a deep playoff run I don’t see any post-season after that. The NCAA Tournament is definitely out. I don’t see anyway short of winning the ACC (queue laughter) of that happening. And at this point I don’t see the NIT as being a possibility either.

    Mike Brey needs to take this team during the off season and do some soul searching, perhaps like they did prior to the 2014 season when they had their great run and an Elite 8 appearance.

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