Monday, December 12, 2011

Back-2-Back 4 Brey

Last night was an Irish love fest of sorts as Luke Harangody was named the Big East Player of the Year and Mike Brey was tabbed the Coach of the Year for the second straight season. Brey becomes only the third coach in league history to win BIG EAST Coach of the Year honors in consecutive seasons. The others were P.J. Carlesimo of Seton Hall (1988-99) and Lou Carnesecca of St. John’s (1985-86).

Picked ninth in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches Poll, the Irish finished tied for second place under Brey with a 14-4 conference record. Overall, Notre Dame is 24-6. Brey is in his eighth season as the Irish head coach and owns a 166-84 record.

What is more amazing is the fact that Brey is now the 6th All-Time Winningest Coach by percentage in Big East games with a .638 average. Three Hall of Fame coaches, John Thompson, Jim Calhoun, and Jim Boeheim, along with John Thompson III, and Jamie Dixon are ahead of Brey.

Brey also moved up the Big East record books in all-time conference wins with 83 victories. He is now in 8th place behind Thompson, Calhoun, Boeheim, Carlesimo, Carnesecca, and Steve Lappas. Not bad for a coach who supposedly can’t teach, motivate, or recruit. Brey has definitely hushed his critics and rightfully deserves everything that is coming his way. Obviously his peers think so.

The question now is whether Brey can make it the Triple Crown next season?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Crazy World of College Hoops

Last Saturday's contest with NIU, wasn't so much of a contest after the second media timeout. To say the Irish were hot, would be an understatement. ND shot 72 percent in the first half (the best shooting first half in the Mike Brey era) against NIU, en route to a 57-25 lead at halftime. The 108 points scored were the most under
Brey in a game that ended in regulation time. The game got so out of hand that the Huskie Coach Patton joked around saying that even the Notre Dame managers scored on his team. That would have been a laughing stock if it were true, since one of the managers is a female.

The win over Northern Illinois was the Irish’s 25th straight at the Joyce Center, a school record. The home winning streak is the second longest in the nation. Forward Luke Harangody helped in the win with 14 points and 12 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season. Forward Rob Kurz and guard Kyle McAlarney each scored 17 points.

For his output last week, Harangody made the Big East Honor Roll for the second time this season by averaging 16.5 points and 13.0 rebounds in their wins over Kansas State and NIU. Nationally, he is 39th in rebounds per game with a 9.2 average.

Harangody isn't the only Irish player in the Top 40 national statistics. Kyle McAlarney is 22nd in 3pt. FG percentage (49.2%) and 29th in 3pt. FG per game (3.3). He's also tops in the Big East in both of those categories.

As for the team as a whole, I was shocked to see that Irish didn't receive any votes in either one of the polls. Syracuse, f'ing Syracuse even received votes. The Orange just lost their second contest to a Atlantic 10 opponent (Rhode Island) at the Carrier Dome. I don't care that they currently have the eighth hardest schedule in the nation. What they do have is a 2-3 record versus opponents in the Top 100, and 4-0 against teams ranked 101-200. If the Cuse doesn't make the Tournament again this year, they definitely don't have any reason to bitch and whine; something Jim Boeheim does quite frequently.

Georgetown (5, 4), Marquette (10, 13), Pittsburgh (11, 9), Louisville (22, 20), and Villanova (23, 18), are currently ranked in both the AP and Coaches Polls, respectively. West Virginia is also receiving votes in the Coaches Poll, alongside the previously mentioned Syracuse squad.

Being in the fourth-best conference, according to the latest RPI rankings, the Big East has only one team, DePaul (2-3), with a losing record. Even though the conference had two big blows over the weekend, Syracuse losing at home Rhode Island and Louisville losing at home to Dayton, the Big East still holds strong in getting eight bids to the NCAA Tournament. Where do the Irish stand put in this mix?

Well looking at the recent RPI ratings, Notre Dame is currently the 11th best team in the conference. The rankings are a little misleading and here is why. Below, in order, is the RPI rankings for each Big East squad. Included in the rankings is the overall record, strength of SOS, record vs. 1-50 ranked RPI teams, record vs. 51-100, record vs. 101-200, record vs. 200, and highest RPI opponent win.

Big East Conference RPI Ratings
12. Marquette (5-1), 18 SOS, 0-1, 1-0, 3-0, 1-0 (59 Wisconsin)
13. Providence (6-3), 4 SOS, 2-2, 1-0, 2-1, 1-0 (10 Arkansas, 47 Boston College)
34. Syracuse (6-3), 8 SOS, 0-2, 2-1, 4-0, 0-0 (73 Siena)
38. Villanova (7-1), 122 SOS, 1-0, 1-1, 3-0, 2-0 (37 George Mason)
39. West Virginia (6-1), 96 SOS, 1-0, 1-1, 2-0, 2-0 (43 Winthrop)
40. Louisville (5-2), 24 SOS, 2-1, 0-1, 1-0, 2-0 (26 Miami, OH, 27 UNLV)
45. Pittsburgh (8-0), 216 SOS, 0-0, 2-0, 5-0, 1-0 (56 Duquesne)
51. Seton Hall (7-2), 128 SOS, 0-1, 1-0, 1-0, 5-1 (89 Virginia)
53. St. John's (4-1), 99 SOS, 0-1, 0-0, 2-0, 2-0 (122 Long Island)
63. Connecticut (6-2), 67 SOS, 0-2, 0-1, 4-0, 1-0 (79 Morgan State)
68. Notre Dame (7-2), 93 SOS, 0-1, 1-1, 4-0, 2-0 (86 Kansas State)
69. South Florida (7-3), 82 SOS, 0-1, 1-1, 4-1, 2-0 (52 Florida State)
84. Georgetown (7-0), 297 SOS, 0-0, 0-0, 4-0, 3-0 (139 Old Dominion, 150 Alabama)
145. Rutgers (6-3), 226 SOS, 0-0, 0-1, 2-2, 4-0 (149 North Dakota State)
220. DePaul (2-3), 164 SOS, 0-2, 0-0, 1-1, 1-0 (194 Northwestern)
285. Cincinnati (4-4), 295 SOS, 0-0, 0-1, 0-2, 4-1 (230 Fairfield)

So out of the non-conference wins, the Irish's victory over Kansas State will suffice for their tournament resume. If the Wildcats can finish strong, Notre Dame's numbers will increase, as well as, the Irish's conference wins.

It will be a little break for finals for the Irish, but they should shake off any rust when they return to the court on Dec. 22 against San Francisco. Here's to number 26 at the JACC!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Beano Says Irish Will Be Cooking in 08!

At least someone from ESPN likes us! College Football guru Beano Cook had his first offseason chat today on No he didn't go so boldly to predict three Heisman Trophies for Jimmy Clausen or Dayne Crist, rather he felt there are good things ahead for the Irish; maybe sooner than what others might think!

Here's what Beano had to say about Notre Dame during his chat:

Burr (NJ): Welcome back Beano! Are you excited to see what the Irish will do next year? Coaching changes, great recruiting classes from the past 2 years.... what do you think?

Beano Cook: (3:16 PM ET ) If Notre Dame beats Michigan, and that is possible, watch out. I feel the schedule is not that tough. The addition of Jon Tenuta as the defensive coach will help. Hey, they won't go 3-9 again. If I had to predict right now, I would say no worse than 9-3. Then again, last year I thought they would win nine games. In my opinion, it is incredible and hard to believe that Notre Dame would go 20 seasons without winning a national title. I don't want to hear about academics, it has nothing to do with Notre Dame's record at all.

Mike (Chicago): Beano, is Weis gone if he has another year like 2007?

Beano Cook: (3:18 PM ET ) It would be behoove him to have a better record. It is possible but I don't think so. He will not go 3-9 this season and he has learned that he cannot walk on water.

junior (madison west virginia): beno who do you think will be most improve team next year

Beano Cook: (3:31 PM ET ) Iowa. Miami-Florida. Notre Dame.

Beano has made some wild predictions in the past about Notre Dame, but somehow I feel he is due. You know the sun shines on a dog's ass someday. Maybe 2008 is his year to shine with accurate picks!

Smith Not Interested In Coming Back Home

Ohio State Athletic Director and Notre Dame Alumnus, Gene Smith has taken his name out of consideration for the vacant AD position.

"I have the utmost respect for Notre Dame and great admiration for the university and its athletics department, but I will not be a candidate for the job there," Smith said in a statement. "I am very happy being at The Ohio State University and am excited about its new leadership of the university. I am thrilled with the direction we are going in the department and am pleased and thankful for the support of President Gee and the administration."

Smith went on to say,
"I have not been contacted by Notre Dame," Smith said. "I am honored that many consider me to be a candidate, but I have no desire to leave Ohio State."

Looks like SMU's Orisini could be the front runner.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside Get The Irish Ready For the Long Haul

Everyone can now put it to rest, the Fighting Irish won a game on the road. In fact they won a league game on the road against a nationally ranked opponent. Notre Dame's 90-80 win over Villanova showed the Big East and the national media that the Irish can play some ball on both ends of the court.

Saturday, Mr. Outside, Kyle McAlarney light the Wildcats up for 30 points. By channeling in the power of "5", McAlarney made five 3-pt. baskets, five 2-pt. field goals, and five free throws, for his second 30 point effort of the season. Mr. Inside, Luke Harangody produced his ninth double-double of the season with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Despite being out rebounded by Villanova, the Irish never relinquished the lead after trailing 4-0 at the start of the contest.

Brey was masterful on Saturday as he not only tweaked the starting lineup by inserting Zach Hillesland for Ryan Ayers, but he installed the 1-2-2 defense to stifle Scottie Reynolds and the Wildcat offense. Ayers finally showed some glimpses of what type of player he can be by netting 10 points on 19 minutes of action. Hillesland helped the Irish on both ends with ball control and key defensive stops.

Senior Captain Rob Kurz got it going early with five quick points, en route to 12 points and four rebounds. Tory Jackson was masterful controlling the game from the get-go as he assisted on seven buckets and scored nine points.

Even though the Irish are on the outside looking in both the AP (30th) and ESPN/USAToday (T-27th) polls, Notre Dame is getting the right numbers needed for their NCAA resume. Gary Parrish of has Mike Brey's squad 16th in his weekly poll. At 14-4, and 4-2, in league play, the Irish are currently in sole possession of third place in the Big East. Also their current RPI rating has jumped up to 41.

Below are the current Big East standings with RPI rankings, records, and national poll rankings for all the conference teams:

Georgetown: 9 (RPI), 16-2, 6-1 (BE), 6 (AP) and 6 (ESPN/USAToday)
Louisville: 36 (RPI), 15-5, 5-2 (BE), NR (AP) and NR (ESPN/USAToday)
Notre Dame: 41 (RPI), 14-4, 4-2 (BE), 30 (AP) and T-27 (ESPN/USAToday)
Pittsburgh: 18 (RPI), 15-4, 4-3 (BE), 18 (AP) and 21 (ESPN/USAToday)
Marquette: 20 (RPI), 13-4, 4-3 (BE), 17 (AP) and 16 (ESPN/USAToday)
UConn: 23 (RPI), 14-5, 4-3 (BE), 27 (AP) and T-27 (ESPN/USAToday)
WVU: 32 (RPI), 14-5, 4-3 (BE), NR and NR
Seton Hall: 51 (RPI), 14-6, 4-3 (BE), NR and NR
DePaul: 118 (RPI), 9-10, 4-3 (BE), NR and NR
Syracuse: 40 (RPI), 14-7, 4-4 (BE), NR and NR
Cincinnati: 112 (RPI), 9-11, 4-4 (BE), NR and NR
Providence: 50 (RPI), 12-7, 3-4 (BE), NR and NR
Villanova: 61 (RPI), 13-5, 3-4 (BE), NR and NR
Rutgers: 162 (RPI), 10-11, 2-6 (BE), NR and NR
S. Florida: 122 (RPI), 10-10, 1-6 (BE), NR and NR
St. John's: 150 (RPI), 7-11, 1-6 (BE), NR and NR

Personal accolades are also in store for Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside as well. Luke Harangody was one of 30 players named to the John Wooden Award Midseason list. In fact, Harangody is one of three Big East players (Georgetown's Roy Hibbert and Pittsburgh's Sam Young) to be mentioned on the list. Meanwhile, Kyle McAlarney was named the Big East's Player of the Week for the first time in his career. It's a shame that this is first POW honor, because he deserved it after his 32 point explosion against UConn. Anyway, both players are definitely setting themselves up for post season league honors!

The Big East and media pundits take notice, Notre Dame is for real.

Tenuta Finds Home With Irish

The Irish defense is going to be stacked, that's for sure! Not only will Notre Dame have some of the top high school recruits signing with the Irish come next week, but it was just announced that former Georgia Tech Defensive Coordinator, John Tenuta, will be joining the coaching staff. Tenuta will be replacing Bill Lewis' vacated, who has decided to call it quits. In fact, he will be taking over the linebackers and will be an assistant Defensive Coordinator.

No word yet of whether Brian Polian has been dismissed from the coaching staff. Defensive Coordinator, Corwin Brown will be coaching the defensive backs. A former defensive back himself, Brown will only help which was a much improved unit last season. No more will you see defensive backs not look back for the ball!

Don't panic about the coaching change being so close to National Signing Day because the Irish coaching staff let all the recruits know of the change. So far it is a positive because none of the current 22 have wavered their decisions. In fact this will be a good thing for recruiting, because of Tenuta's tenacious defense.

Tenuta had some of the most explosive and blitz-happy defenses in the country while at Georgia Tech. Irish fans had first hand knowledge of what his style and defense was capable of. Tenuta will bring a lot of knowledge and added wealth to what has been a progressing defense under Corwin Brown.

The Yellow Jacket defense ranked 20th overall in Total Defense (330 yards per game), 21st in Scoring Defense (20.8 pts. per game), and 1st in the land in sacks (3.69 per game).

Notre Dame will get better with the recruits they are bringing in, and now they have the coaches on the defensive side to get them at the top of their game.

As always, GO IRISH!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Final Countdown.....or is it?

There is some Irish glee, as we sign 23! Faxes flooded the GUG complex this morning as National Signing Day finally has arrived. From the first two letters hand delivered (Sean Cwynar and Trevor Robinson are already on campus), to the last one sent in by Steve Filer, Notre Dame is looking to secure the best recruiting class in the nation. But the Irish's ranking could definitely go over the top with another possible commitment later today.

California running back Milton Knox will be making his attentions be known in front of a national audience around 4 pm PST. Knox will choose from UCLA, Florida, and the Irish.

Here is the order of when the Letters of Intent were faxed in:

Sean Cwynar
Trevor Robinson
Mike Golic Jr.
Jamoris Slaughter
Robert Blanton
Michael Floyd
David Posluszny
Dan McCarthy
Kyle Rudolph
John Goodman
Deion Walker
Lane Clelland
Brandon Newman
Braxston Cave
Darius Fleming
Kapron Lewis-Moore
Jonas Gray
Hafis Williams
Ethan Johnson
Anthony McDonald
Joseph Fauria
Dayne Crist
Steve Filer

Irish fans alike were waiting patiently to get word when each signed, while some fretted that some might not commit to Notre Dame. Rumors of Deion Walker having second thoughts were squelched real early as he confirmed his allegiance with the Irish. Kapron Lewis-Moore was the surprise recruit Jason Sapp posted about this past weekend, while Milton Knox is the possible West Coast decommit pickup.

Adding Knox will be the icing on the cake for the Irish staff, as this group will now and forever be linked to bringing back Notre Dame's national dominance!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

1, 2, 3....You're Out!

If anyone stayed up late Saturday night, early Sunday morning to watch the Hawaii - Washington game got to enjoy an instant classic. This seemed all too familiar to us Irish fans, indeed! Not only did the Huskies lose the game in epic Tyrone Losingham fashion, but he might have lost himself another head coaching position.

The fate of coach Willingham could be in question after the team blew a halftime lead for the fourth time this season — and in this case, a 21-point lead in the second quarter. That wasn't something Willingham wanted to address afterward. He delivered a cold stare at the ESPN reporter who asked if he was confident he would return in 2008. Athletic director Todd Turner said last week he had "no doubt" in his mind Willingham would return next season. But UW president Mark Emmert is also surveying the situation and he has been more noncommittal, though he hasn't also offered anything publicly to indicate he's making a change.

If this glorious event does happen, I wonder what all the pundits will have to say about Notre Dame, or better yet, the University of Washington? Will they call them racists? Will Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton come to Coach Willingham's rescue again? Who knows. All I know is that this just proves that Willingham can't coach anywhere at the major Division I level.

Throw out all the comparisons between Charlie Weis and Ty Losingham. Not only is it pointless and idiotic, it doesn't come close. Willingham has had several head coaching gigs at Stanford, Notre Dame, and now Washington, with minimal success. Coach Weis has had three years at the helm at ND and has brought the Irish to 2 BCS bowls, whether you agree or not about their inclusion.

Washington wants to turn the corner and restore a once proud football tradition. That will only happen when they get rid of Losingham. They have a replacement just a few miles away from campus in Jim Mora, Jr. The timing is right if the Washington Administration pulls the trigger. Time will tell though.

One more note of interest. Washington didn't leave Hawaii until this morning to go back to Seattle. I wonder if Ty brought his golf clubs with him????? I guess some things will never change!

NOTE: Click on the Title for an article from the Seattle Times about Coach Willingham

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bench Puts the "Fight" Back in the Irish

When the Irish needed a whole team effort, it didn't know it would get this type of spark the bench provided Saturday against Marquette. The 27 points, including 8-of-9 FT's, 10 rebounds, and 2 turnover output, throughout the combined 49 minutes gave Coach Brey and Irish fans more confidence for meaningful minutes.

Luke Zellar led the bench players with 11 points. Zellar played with so much intensity against the Eagles, that he had forced his way to four rebounds and one thunderous dunk in the first half. Ryan Ayers and Jonathan Peoples had nine and seven points, respectively.

The 27 bench points were the fourth highest output on the season for the Irish. Notre Dame had 45 points against Northern Illinois, 30 against Brown, and 29 versus Long Island earlier this season. For the season, Brey's bench has been averaging 17.3 points a night. In conference play, the Irish are just below average at 16.2 points per night, however, during the current five game winning streak, Notre Dame is averaging 17.4. Coach Brey's decision to move Ayers from his starting position ha definitely paid off.

Below is the point production of the Irish bench so far this season:

Long Island - 29 points
Monmouth - 24 points
Baylor - 11 points
Georgia Tech - 12 points
Youngstown St. - 16 points
Colgate - 25 points
E. Michigan - 11 points
Kansas St. - 8 points
N. Illinois - 45 points
San Francisco - 11 points
Brown - 30 points
North Florida - 13 points
West Virginia - 5 points
Connecticut - 2 points
Marquette - 10 points
Cincinnati - 16 points
Georgetown - 25 points
Villanova - 12 points
Providence - 10 points
DePaul - 17 points
Seton Hall - 21 points
Marquette - 27 points

The bench will be needed more than ever in this next stretch of five games, which could possibly determine not only conference standings, but first round byes in the Big East Tournament. Also the Irish will be playing for the important seeding in next month's NCAA Tournament. I don't want to get too ahead of myself but Notre Dame is playing itself into a possible 3 seed. If things turn out like my new predictions, (24-6, 14-4) to finish the regular season, I believe they will not fall below a # 4 national seed!

We shall see in the coming weeks if that prediction holds true or not. But one thing is for sure, if the Irish bench keeps putting up big numbers; good things will happen!

More on Meyer

Preliminary talks with Urban Meyer's agent went according to plan yesterday, as every Notre Dame fan from the Irish nation had their own opiniion about the future of Coach Charlie Weis and the direction of the program. The bait has been dangled to Meyer and his "boss", wife Shelly. Everyone in the media and around the UF program have said that to get to Urban is to get to his wife. An interesting bit of information the past two weeks out of Atlanta, might turn in the favor of the Irish.

Nicki Meyer, the Meyer's oldest daughter, is a freshman on the Georgia Tech Volleyball team, has been contemplating transferring schools. Whom might you ask is at the top of the list for possible schools? You've got it Irish fans, Notre Dame. Nicki has only seen action in four games from her Libero/Defensive Specialist position, and wants more considerable playing time. Meyer has also mentioned that she would like to be closer to family and friends as another reason for leaving the Yellow Jackets.

So what does this all mean in the scope of landing Meyer? Shelly Meyer is big into family and would love the idea of having her children close by. Nicki snubbed UF last year, and has no interest of playing for the Gators. Daughter Gigi, a junior at Buchholtz High School has been Notre Dame's Volleyball camps the past several years, and has been a future target for Debbie Brown's Irish squad.

This added bonus could be the key to landing Urban Meyer back to South Bend!