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Irish Insights


State of Notre Dame men's basketball

With Notre Dame's chance of reaching the NCAA tournament dwindling after Sunday's 69-68 loss to St. John's, coach Mike Brey was asked about the state of his program during Tuesday's teleconference.

Brey said he thinks the Irish have been consistent and wanted the last 10 years to be looked at against the 10 seasons before he arrived.

"I told somebody the other day, the decade before I got here, how many times was the fan base thinking about 'bracketology' and their resume being analyzed? Once," Brey said. "Nine out of 10 years, we've always been in the mix playing for the thing."

Notre Dame has reached the NCAA tournament five times under Brey and played in the NIT four times. Brey is 195-100 with the Irish.

John McLeod was 106-124 from 1991-92 to 1998-99, and Matt Doherty was 22-15 in his one season before leaving for North Carolina.

"I'm very happy with how we do business," Brey said. "Certainly, we'd love to win more Big East games and be in more NCAA tournaments. I'll take my track record up against … where were you?

"As the league has changed, a phrase that I saw when I was in Kuwait, a military phrase was 'Adjust and overcome.' That is kind of where you are having to be with this."

More from Brey's teleconference

On talking to his team about what it will take to reach the NCAA tournament: "Every now and then, I stepped back and talked about the big picture. They hear so much. There is so much talk out there. One of things I told them (Monday), after I got on them for throwing the ball all over the place, we played 13 games against the top 100 in the RPI and we are 7-6. You are within striking distance, but you got to win some games. It kind of gave them a state of the union; I thought I had to given where we are at. You got opportunities, but you got to get some of them.

"There are some power in our numbers that keep you within striking distance. I don't want them thinking all is lost or we are off the board. But we got work to do. You can strike from where we are at."

On putting a number on what it will take to reach the NCAA: "I think it is crazy to do that. To put a number on it. I just tried to let them know the power of what is on our schedule, and there are opportunities there. You don't necessarily have to run the table, but you got to get a couple.

"When we were 3-3 that was the last time I talked about it. I projected us out, and said worse case maybe we are 9-9. I'm always sensitive to what they are hearing. Who is telling them what. I will tell you what the deal is. Now I'm really not going to touch it in the short term."

On playing for a final time in Louisville's Freedom Hall, where Notre Dame is 11-33 all-time, on Wednesday. Freedom Hall will close after this season as the Cardinals move into a new downtown arena next season: "We've played there a lot there. We've not won any since I've been here. That place hasn't been great for us. It is a great basketball venue. It is a great fanbase. There is not a tougher place to play. But boy, do they do basketball down there.

"We've had thrillers in there. When I walk off the floor there, you walk through fans. When I walk through fans at other places, I hear some incredible stuff. The Louisville fans are like, 'Heck of a job coach.' Of course, they beat us every time too.

"It's a hoops crazy place. You get excited to play, our guys have always been very ready to play and competed their backsides off.

"We are frustrated we didn't come out of there … you feel you should have had at least one of those. We'll get a real confident team and fan base, after what happened Sunday." (Louisville defeated then-No. 2 Syracuse on Sunday.)