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Could the Irish run again

Notre Dame opens play in the Big East men's basketball tournament at 7 p.m. today against Seton Hall.

And after the Pirates' 109-106, defensively-devoid victory over Providence on Tuesday don't be surprised if the Irish return to their fast-paced, high-scoring ways at points tonight.

"We certainly can go in our spurts," Irish coach Mike Brey said. "We still want to run. We are good in transition."

Truthfully, the Irish (21-10) can run, but they will likely stay with what won them the last four games - a slowdown offense - as they try to pay back Seton Hall (19-11) for a 90-87 loss Feb. 11.

"We certainly feel good about where we are at," Brey said. "To finish seventh in this league is a heck of thing and to earn a bye and play on Wednesday, I congratulated them on that.

"Seton Hall is really talented, and they are winning and playing well. We had a hard time dealing with them in New Jersey."

This game will likely seal an NCAA tournament at-large berth for either team, but Brey said the Irish are only focusing on winning the Big East tournament.

"For our senior class, they were a Russell Carter jump shot away from playing in the championship game, Brey said. "I said, 'Tell the young, you seniors, what it is like playing on Friday night in the semis.' We've gotten there twice. It is an unbelievable atmosphere to get to that point.

"Now, we've never been to Saturday. I said, 'Boy, I wonder what that would be like.' "

The Journal Gazette's Assistant Sports Editor Tony Krausz covers The University of Notre Dame. Krausz, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a native of St. Louis, has been assistant sports editor since October 2005. Prior to joining the JG, he worked at two papers in Mississippi covering high school and college athletics.