With only 6 games left to go in the men’s basketball regular season, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish find themselves ranked No. 10 in the country by the AP Top 25. The Irish possess a 21-4 record, good for second in the ACC. Mike Brey and his squad have defeated the likes of Michigan State, University of North Carolina, and Duke to crown several other crushing victories. With only 6 games remaining in the regular season (at the time of publication), the Fighting Irish are looking to close out their already fantastic regular season with a strong finish.
The remainder of Notre Dame’s regular season schedule includes only one top 25 team in the Louisville Cardinals, who the Fighting Irish will play in Louisville on March 4. The remaining games consist of a home and away duel with Clemson, an away trip to Boston College, and home games against Wake Forest and Syracuse, who recently gained national attention for proactively withdrawing from all post-season play this year.
“I believe the Irish have a great opportunity to close out the season strong,” senior Mike Nolan told the Rover. “As long as we continue playing as strong as we have been all season, I think we have a great chance of having at least a 25 win season.”
A successful end to the regular season will be primarily driven by the team’s offensive prowess. On the offensive side of the ball, Notre Dame has one of the best teams in the country, ranking 10th in the nation in points per game (80.0) and second in the nation in field goal percentage (.515).
“It definitely seems like we’ve been shooting a lot better this year than we have been in years past,” junior Henry Hillstrom commented to the Rover. “The four guard approach has really been working out thus far and has really helped drive this team towards success.”
The Irish starting lineup unconventionally features three guards (Grant, Vasturia, and Jackson), one forward (Auguste), and one dual-positioned guard who can also play up front as a forward (Connaughton). This strategy lends itself to creating a multitude of open three-point shot opportunities. As a result, the Irish are 11th in the nation in three-pointers made (221) and 18th in three-point shooting percentage (.401). While other teams in the top 25 shoot comparable percentages (No. 8 Kansas, for example, shoots .402 on 3-pointers), no other team in the top 25 comes close to taking as many three-pointers as the Fighting Irish.
The biggest remaining challenge will be the match-up against Louisville, which boasts one of the best defenses in the country, allowing only 58.5 points per game—good for 18th in the nation in points allowed. Louisville should prove to be a significant test for the Fighting Irish.
With the ability to turn up the heat on any offense they play, watch for the Fighting Irish to make a powerful push to close out the season and turn up the heat even more in the postseason.
Kyle Mulholland is a senior residing off-campus and studying computer science and economics. He strongly advises wearing coats, boots, and a scarf to keep warm during the cold winter season. Contact Kyle at email@example.com.