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Basketball notebook: Irish regroup

Notre Dame coach Mike Brey is happy to be home.

Brey can think of no better way for his basketball team to bounce back from a pair of losses than being back in Purcell Pavilion.

"I think it's always good for us when we've struggled or lost on the road to come back home and get practice reps on our floor and get the Wilson balls back in our hands and play a little bit," Brey said during a teleconference Wednesday. "I think it's important for our group today and tomorrow in practice to play and get into a rhythm playing. … Certainly, winning a game at home, to set up for New York City (in the Big East tournament). We've always been able to come back and win at home."

The No. 20 Irish (20-9, 12-5) suffered their first losses since Jan. 16 when they dropped games to St. John's on Saturday and No. 11 Georgetown on Monday.

Notre Dame can still earn a double-bye for the Big East tournament by defeating Providence (15-15, 4-13) at home Friday.

Brey said the Friars are dangerous, and a perfect example came Tuesday night when Providence erased a 14-point deficit in the second half to pull out a 72-70 victory over Connecticut.

"They have scoring guys. They have really good offensive guys," Brey said of Providence. "(Vincent) Council, first of all, controls the whole thing. He's playing as well as any point guard in the league. He just happens to be on a team that hasn't won a lot of games. Then they got some young guys who can put some numbers up. Those two guys last night, (Bryce) Cotton and (LaDontae) Hinton, they are probably going to be all-rookie team guys.

"I think their best position is to be down. They certainly have nothing to lose overall, given where they are and their record. When they are down, they are even more fearless. So when they fire, man, they fire with even more confidence. That stretch (Tuesday) night, that barrage, scares me."

Senior Night

Brey said Friday night could break new ground for the program as the Irish close their regular-season home schedule.

Seniors Tim Abromaitis and Scott Martin will be honored before the game with a chance that either one could return next season.

"Maybe we are going to have one or two guys who have the first back-to-back Senior Day," Brey said.

But the coach is also aware that this could be the last chance to honor either one of the captains.

Brey said he believes Martin has a better chance of being granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, and Friday night will be more of a thank you to Abromaitis.

Abromaitis played in two games this season before tearing his ACL. The two-time Big East scholar athlete of the year earned his degree in 2010 and completed Notre Dame's accelerated MBA program last year.

"I kind of look at it as a night for Tim to really honor him for all he has done for our basketball program," Brey said. "It's been a tough year for him, but I think we've hurt more for him than he's hurt for himself as we've gotten going and he hasn't been part of it. I kind of look at it as Tim's night."

Abromaitis will be in uniform Friday, but Brey said the forward will not play.

As for Martin, Brey hopes to know this month whether the guard will return to the Irish next season.

"I'm hoping by mid-March," Brey said. "That's my feeling the way this thing is preceding."

Broghammer's future

Notre Dame forward Mike Broghammer has dealt with knee tendonitis throughout his college career. The 6-foot-9 junior has been limited to 127 minutes in 22 games this season, and Brey said he will discuss Broghammer's future in the offseason.

"I think in the spring what Mike and I have to talk about is is it worth it to keep going physically on those knees?" Brey said. "He's very much on the same page that maybe it isn't. One of the things we will discuss is does he get a medical waiver, where he would graduate next year, be around the program, certainly couldn't practice or play and then we would get use of that scholarship.

"We've talked about it a little throughout the year. We really need to sit down with him and his family in the spring. As frustrated as Mike is, he's also very, very realistic that about the body has broken down a couple of times."

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