Notre Dame enters tonight's game against Cincinnati in Purcell Pavilion as desperate as a team can be with half of the conference schedule remaining.
The Irish (15-7, 4-5 Big East) have lost four of their last five games and are on a two-game slide after losing road games to Villanova and Rutgers, which hadn't won a conference game until knocking off Notre Dame 74-73 Saturday.
Irish coach Mike Brey called a morning practice Tuesday to try and shake his team out of its funk.
While that move will likely get some credit if Notre Dame wins tonight, the Irish are aided more by playing at home.
Notre Dame, which only played two road games in non-conference play, is 1-4 on the road in Big East play.
While playing in Purcell will help against Cincinnati (14-7, 5-4), the Irish will need to focus on rebounding against the Bearcats.
In Notre Dame's 60-58 loss at Cincinnati on Jan. 16, the Bearcats had a 50-31 rebounding edge, and Yancy Gates sealed the victory with a putback with 2 seconds to play. The Irish gave up 18 offensive rebounds in the loss.
With their backs against the wall, the Irish should be able to find a way to defeat the Bearcats. But it will be a close victory.