First off I would like to say that I am disappointed that Mike Brey, the ND head coach, does not wear turtlenecks anymore. It was a tremendous fashion trend during its time and the button down and sports coat just isn’t cutting it for me when watching ND games this year. Anyhow, the Irish have surprisingly reloaded after losing Demetrius Jackson and Jerian Grant two straight years. Matt Farrell came out of no where to become the point guard and has done a very good job knocking down shots and distributing. Notre Dame’s only loss to a team outside the top 15 on KenPom is on the road versus Georgia Tech which is not a bad loss. Notre Dame is very underrated as an Elite 8 team last year with most of their key players back.
People forget that the Irish went to the Elite 8 last year before eventually falling to red hot North Carolina. Demetrius Jackson and Zach Auguste have graduated but the rest of the rotation is back. The Irish have also seen huge improvements from everyone including matchup nightmare Bonzie Colson. This team is battle tested both in the NCAA Tournament and in the brutal ACC conference and that will go a long way to making another deep run this year.
Weakness: Hero Ball
I have watched a ton of Notre Dame basketball this year and my one concern with them is not playing through the flow of the offense. Mike Brey is a tremendous offensive coach who also sees his teams near the top of offensive efficiency rankings. Bonzie Colson is seemingly unstoppable and shooters Steve Vasturia and VJ Beachem compliment him very well. The only time this team seems to struggle is when they play hero ball. Matt Farrell is a great player and has been the key to the success of the Irish this year but I am not sure he should be pulling up from deep with 25 seconds left on the shot clock. Farrell has made some of those shots to result in late game heroics but that shouldn’t be needed. If Farrell can get the ball in the paint to Colson or to a wide open shooter the Irish will not need any luck to beat good teams.