Highlights from Notre Dame’s ACC Title Victory

#11 Notre Dame won its first-ever conference championship, beating #19 North Carolina 90-82 to claim the crown in the 2015 New York Life ACC Tournament. The Irish utilized a key 15-0 run to overcome a 9-point second-half deficit in the win. Jerian Grant led the team with 24 points and had 10 assists, earning him Tournament MVP honors. Fellow senior Pat Connaughton also contributed with 20 points and Zach Auguste had a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Marcus Paige led UNC with 24

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  1. What impressed me most all season is the positive confidence and cool demeanor of Coach Brey, as is translated through his team.They epitomize a confidence and tenacity that these wins, the most ever by an ND team in over 100 years, have already secured for them beyond any other in the history of the BB program.
    So often you see Brey’s calm when saying “It’s OK! It’s OK!” as the team returns during a timeout after the opponent has made a run.He believes, and more importantly, they believe. EVERY time NC would extend their lead, the true league MVP, Jerian Grant, would counter with a score by taking it in for a layup, or a precision pass to an open three, or forcing them to foul him as he drove to what would be a critical basket. Five guys average at least 9.5 points per game, and numerous times this season they’ve had five players score in double figures. Jerian Grant yesterday had to make 14 free throws to get his 24 points, and had at least 10 critical assists. He led the team in scoring, was second in the league in assists, and is the go-to-guy when a basket is needed.
    Connaughton hit every shot he took throughout the first ten minutes of the game. Anything can happen in the tourney, and nothing that happens can diminish in my mind the great season and the ACC championship they secured already. “Altho’ the odds be great or small”, the entire team and, especially Jerias Grant, after last year’s academic suspension, returns to “win over all” they faced in the elite 2015 ACC championship tourney.
    It’s all gravy after this! But with five guys who can shoot, and their two post players coming of age right now, ND moving further would not surprise! This team is for real!

    1. And, BTW, a notable PostScript.

      Duke and NC hadn’t lost back-to-back games in the state of NC to the same visiting opponent since 1993, until ND just did this weekend in Greensboro, NC !

      So much for a homer Carolina crowd denying ND its ACC championship-overcoming all the odds with two road wins by ten and eight point margins.

  2. Let’s not forget the Lady Irish won the ACC title last week as well (though that was not really a surprise). ND right now owns both men’s and women’s trophies in basketball.

    The lady Irish definitely are championship material, though it seems a foregone conclusion UConn will win another NC. The Irish are probably the only team that has an outside possibility of knocking them off.

    Unfortunate another team hasn’t taken UConn down. I think it decreases already low interest in women’s bb because everyone pretty much knows UConn owns women’s bb. It’s not UConn’s fault, but another team needs to come up to the plate. Hopefully is the Irish :).

    1. Right you are about another elite team the women’s NDBB program has produced. And indeed, as you said, If anyone can beat UConn this season, it’s NDWBB.
      What’s remarkable about this team is nearly every contributor returns next year, including the top seven or eight players. Cable, the one senior, has another year of eligibility due to her injury Freshman year.They did lose to UConn handily, but without our C’ Brianna Turner, and the loss to Miami was without our other post player Taya Reimer playing. With those two, they remain undefeated. They may be a year away, as three of their incoming Frosh are elite recruits, including one who just scored 55 in the WI HS state championship game!

  3. Impressive win–huge win in fact. One thing that impressed me was they never quit, never gave up. I’ve been a critic of Mike Brey in the past for being slow to adapt (though I always knew he was a great x’s and o’s guy). But he built a great team based on experience. ND is not interested in the one and done guys, so they don’t often get elite talent (though this year Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton are legitimate NBA level talent). So I always felt ND’s strength would be the fact that it had more experience and team chemistry than one and done schools. I think that showed loud and clear this year. NC went on a run to start the 2nd half. I was even giving up, thinking once NC went up like that it was probably all over.

    But the team and Mike Brey did not sweat it at all. One of the ESPN reporters even overheard Brey telling the team at the point that they were ok. No panic, not shock. And they went on a phenomenal 22-2 run. NC did not know what hit them. Unlike ND when they were down, you could see a look of shock on the NC players faces. They did not expect that. UNC tried climbing back into it, but with some smart defensive stops and a great passing game, ND never lost their poised (even when NC poured on the pressure in the last minute or so). They got the ball to Grant who is a great free throw shooter and game over.

    Now the question is, can they make a run in the tournament? I really believe they could beat anyone in the country, Kentucky included, on any given day. At the same time, I know they won’t be able to beat everyone in the tournament. I would love and will of course root for the NC, but I know that is highly unlikely given the level of talent and play they are going to have to face. But the way they are playing at all phases of the game right now, a sweet 16 should very much be achievable, and an elite 8 in the realm of possibility.

    Anything less than a sweet 16, though, will be a disappointment for me.

    1. If they keep shooting 3s like they did in this tournament and Grant stays out of foul trouble they can go a long way in the tournament.

      People keep waiting for this team to choke but so far they really haven’t.

      Of course you never know once you get into the NCAA tournament, lots of favored teams have been knocked out by teams not expected to make it through the 1st round.

      They don’t call it March Madness for nothing.

      Go Irish

      1. There were 1 or 2 iffy calls on Grant that could have gone either way. I thought Brey was going to stroke out after the one offensive interference call. The night before it was Zach Auguste in foul trouble, but overall, they did good last night avoiding needless fouls (esp. at the end–avoiding fouling NC when it counted most and even better, forcing NC to use up valuable clock before they were able to get a shot off).

        This year this team is actually fun to watch. I was biting my nails when NC went on its run, but in a span of about 2 minutes, ND turned a 9 pt deficit I believe into a 5 point lead. Then they never let up. If I had one complaint it’s that it seems ND comes out of halftime asleep on offense, then wakes up about 10 minutes later. That’s going to end up burning them at some point in the tournament.

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