2009-2010 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Basketball Preview
After two straight seasons in the NCAA Tournament, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame (21- 15 overall, 8- 10 Big East) found themselves last season without a ticket to the Big Dance. Instead, they attended the NIT. After finishing ninth in the Big East, the Irish were eliminated in the NIT semifinals by Penn State 67- 59. This season, Mike Brey’s team should find their way back to March Madness.
Last year, the Irish placed 12th in scoring defense, allowing 70.7 PPG and 10th in field goal percentage, hitting 43% from the floor. The club’s rebounding margin was disappointing as it stood at just plus-0.8 (11th). The one area in which Notre Dame excelled was in three-point shots as they knocked down a conference best 40%. Still, the team’s scoring offense, which averaged 75.8 PPG, was ranked seventh.
Senior forward Luke Harangody (23.3 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 2.1 APG) is the beginning and end of this team. As Harangody goes so too do the Irish. As a sophomore, he was the Big East Player of the Year. He has the potential to win that honor again this season. Junior forward Tyrone Nash (3.0 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 0.7 APG) looks poised to have a breakout season. Sophomore forward Tim Abromaitis can hit from the perimeter or take it to the basket. Two incoming frosh, Jack Cooley and Mike Broghammer, should see action off the bench.
The Fighting Irish possess a fine playmaker and court-general in point guard Tory Jackson (10.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 4.9 APG). Jackson is a versatile player who can score, pass and rebound. Shooting guard Ben Hansbrough will play opposite Jackson in the backcourt. Hansbrough, a senior, should match up well against most Big East defenses. Another transfer, this time Scott Martin late of Purdue, offers an inside/outside game that’s tough to defend against. Finally, senior Jonathan Peoples (3.2 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 1.2 APG) is a steady force off the bench.
The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame were not happy about missing the NCAA Tournament last season. That may be motivation enough to get this club back to March Madness. Harangody, who is the best of the best in the conference, is not interested in another NIT bid. This team will finish somewhere around sixth in the Big East and make it back to the Big dance once again. This time they are most likely to go two and out.