Who Are These Guys?

Notre Dame’s stunning 99-85 win over number five Alabama has Notre Dame basketball fans believing again. Notre Dame finally looks like a team rather than a one man band. Posters share their view from The Pit:

tbsb
Three things you may not have noticed.
1. I have seldom seen a team after a win, even a great one; leave the court at the end as enthusiastically as this one did at halftime. The cameras had probably cut away, but they were shouting and gesturing as if 49-49 broke an 88 game win streak. I will make no comments about the students (2000 of whom didn’t show for the last game) storming the court, because this team deserved and demanded it with their enthusiasm. I viewed the rush as a well-deserved tribute to the team’s enthusiasm. I don’t know how good we can be, but I know one thing: this team loves basketball and each other and it is contagious. If you ever see a sentence this year both with “ND basketball” and “laid-back” in it, you will also find the word “not”! The Thomas-Francis emotionless era is over. This year will be fun!
2. ZH played great defense. I don’t think Davidson scored a point or got an assist when ZH was in the second half. He (Davidson will be a first round pick, but when it counted, ZH (and others) took him out of the game.
3. I said earlier that the season would depend on Jackson. I didn’t think though that he could improve as quickly as he has. It’s like watching The Blob get bigger frame by frame. He couldn’t guard Steele in the first half; in the second he could. Is he the fastest ever at ND. No, he’s third behind David Rivers (before the auto accident) and Dice Martin. And way ahead of whoever’s in fourth.
Also, sometimes in the early season you get an apparent upset over a team that’s overrated. Make no mistake about it; Alabama is a very good team. Maybe not Final 4, but certainly Sweet 16 caliber and probably top 10. They came at you from every position. Last year they came in over-confident and we surprised them; this year they came in looking for revenge. They didn’t loose the game; we took it from them.
Finally Brey has a team that he and he alone recruited. It plays the way he wants to play. The future looks bright (as long as he keeps a long bench).

Scoop80
This team is vastly better than I thought it would be. It’s complete, it’s balanced, it takes care of the ball, it runs the floor, and it has the guts of a burglar. The 86-87 team remains my favorite in the over 35 years I’ve followed the program b/c it so vastly exceeded expectations. I don’t want to drink too much koolaid, but this team could become another such favorite.

The 3 big early wins made a huge difference in the #5 seed 4 years ago. These 2 big early wins could should make a significant difference now. This team, at present, is playing for seed as much as it’s playing to qualify.

BTW, tonight’s unis are the same ones that were worn at home in the Final 4 year. I personally wish that they didn’t take the names off, but I’m glad that there were no green socks. Digger did his work by helping Muffet w/ the 1-3-1, he didn’t need to be a fashion consultant here.

CJC
As an avowed skeptic ….. we are witnessing something extremely unusual in my opinion.

The list of coaches who refused to make changes and went down in flames is very long.

The list of coaches who made stupid changes out of desperation and went down in flames is comparably long.

Brey gets all the credit in the world for increasing emphasis on defense. I’ll even give a pass on rebounding — we’ve been rebounding hard in previous games, but Alabama had some very tough rebounders. I don’t think it was lack of effort on our part ….

So Brey gets all the credit in the world for increasing emphasis on rebounding, tonight’s stats notwithstanding.

He also gets all the credit in the world for using more players, especially at crunch time.

It’s not very often that a leopard changes its spots like this.

Again, congratulations to Mike Brey.

Naughman
Carter was astonishing in most everything he did.

McAlarney was great — do we actually have a guard with a mid-range game?

Kurz was a real warrior, bloody gash and all.

Big mea culpa for Colin Falls. He looked a lot more assertive than I’ve ever seen him.

And how about Harangody beating Bammer the length of the floor, not once but twice? Fantastic.

These guys didn’t do everything perfect and they got worked badly on the offensive glass, but they made adjustments (notice how those easy backdoor baskets went away) and kept scrapping. Is this really the same team I watched last year? How the hell is that possible?

What a fun, fun game. Great night. Good for Brey. Good for every one of those guys.

Ty Webb
Is having big men who know what the hell to do with the ball when they get it. Whether that be dribble, pass, make a post move, etc.

With Francis, you had a guy who couldn’t pass well, dribble well, even make a smooth post move well.

Shoot, you now have Rob Kurz driving on other teams’ big men and Harangody dribbling the entire length of the court for lay ups. We haven’t had players like this since Murphy IMO.

Fisher08
While on a HUGE emotional high.

1. Tory Jackson/Russel Carter could not stop smiling throughout the entire second half. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a Brey team play with emotion and look like they’re having fun. AMAZING.

2. The team really wanted us to rush the court. No complaining. Colin Falls and K-Mac were basically guiding us to the floor

3. RC played out of his mind tonight. If he (and everyone) can be that hot all the time, we can beat anyone in the Big East.

4. Still concerned about boxing out or the lack thereof. That being said…..

5. BEST GAME I’VE BEEN TO IN 3 YEARS Way way way better than BC Frosh year. All I could think final minutes was “Oh God, not again…” Then we got 352532 steals in a row. And won.

Awesome Awesome Awesome. Best ND sports event of the year, hands down.

ronbo
is so clearly better than the last several because the offense can be initiated from more than just Brey’s designated go to star (Thomas/Quinn)-although these players were excellent- it led to too much standing around and waiting for them to initiate.

Now we have Zach who can pull it off the glass and drive it all the way down without having to hand the ball to the point and walk up the court.

We have Kurz and Luke H who can handle it if they need to and initiate a break if it is available.

Carter can initiate with his ability to drive and we have 2 point guards that can get it going.

So, out of our 8 guys getting minutes- six can initiate offense. Last year we really only had Quinn and to a lesser extent Carter.

Being involved in the offense, running the court when available, and moving without the ball in halfcourt- also translates to more active play on the defensive end because we are actually looking to score off of our defense.

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