Friday, March 31, 2006


VERBAL COMMITMENT ALERT: Joe Harden (F), St, St. Mary's (CA).

Articles from the Lodi News-Sentinel (Harden Picks Irish) and the South Bend Tribune (Tough Cali Kid Joins Brey's Irish) report that Joe Harden has verbally committed to Notre Dame. Harden is expected to sign his letter of intent on April 12 and visit Notre Dame the weekend of April 22.

Projected 2006-2007 Roster
Seniors: Colin Falls (WG), Russell Carter (SG)
Juniors: Robert Kurz (F)
Sophomores: Ryan Ayers (F/G), Kyle McAlarney (G), Zack Hillesland (F), Luke Zeller (BF/C)
Freshmen: Luke Harangody (BF), Tory Jackson (PG), Jonathan Peoples (G), Joe Harden (WF)

Link to previous Notre Dame recruiting reports: February 1, 2006, sept 21 report, July 21 Report.

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With the addition of Joe Harden the Irish add a wing/shooter who is also not afraid to stick his nose into the battle for the basketball on the court. Harden is the 4th Irish commitment, joining fellow spring time addition Jonathan Peoples and November signees Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson as Irish newcomers for the 2006-2007 season.

With Colin Falls, Russell Carter, Randy Ayers and Zack Hillesland on the roster ahead of him, it is unclear what kind of impact Harden will be looked at for next season. The 6'7 205 lb wing could use a little extra weight and some time to adjust to the speed and physical nature of the Big East, so a redshirt is not out of the question, as the South Bend Tribune article suggests, but Harden will bring his intense style and work hard to earn early playing time.

For me, I am still waiting for the Irish to land some post help. Harangody was a nice start, but I still believe they need someone to battle at the rim in the Big East and provide some sort of shot blocking presence. This past year, the Irish struggled athletically inside and out and their post offense, defense and rebounding always left something to be desired and now have to replace Chris Quinn, Torin Francis and Rick Cornett. Recruits like Jackson and Peoples should help add athleticism to their backcourt and Harangody is a physical specimen, but will they look to add some rebounding and interior defense? Luke Zeller and Rob Kurz are likely to improve, but they will have their hands full next year battling stronger and more atheltic front lines every night in the Big East.

Notre Dame and Mike Brey are in a very critical time in their program. The new Big East is setting the bar in recruiting and on the court with their 16-team set-up. The Irish seem to be slipping a little more behind the leaders in terms of adding the quality talent and physical ability to compete at the high end of the Big East. The Irish have 2 scholarships left, I still think they need to add someone to make an impact inside, otherwise, next year will be much like this past season, but, more of the losses might not be as close.

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Notre Dame vs Georgetown

March 8, 2006

I do not think there has even been a better 12-seed in ANY conference tournament better than the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. When your conference has Notre Dame seeded 12 and Louisville seeded 11, you know you are watching something special.

Today, Notre Dame tries to put their season behind them and start anew against Georgetown, who needs to put the awful taste of their regular season-ending loss at South Florida. Georgetown should be watching this game from their hotel, not playing in it. They will need to put that out of their mind, quickly!

Here are the pregame stories and previews from around the internet:

Irish Eye Their Shot (Journal Gazette)
Irish Know All About Must Wins (Chicago Sun-Times)
Hot Seat? Brey a cool Customer (Chicago Tribune)
To Defend Hoyas, Irish Need Patience (South Bend Tribune)

To read our preview and see our game prediction, click read more below and don't forget to leave your prediction in the comments section!


Georgetown and Notre Dame meet for the 2nd time this year. In their first meeting, Notre Dame forced overtime with an improbable 4-pt play by Colin Falls in the waning seconds to force OT, but the Hoyas emerged victorious in double OT.

Notre Dame came up with two straight wins to qualify for the Big East Tournament in the last week, so they have been facing pressure for a couple weeks now. They have won five of their last seven games to get here. All season long, close losses have been the trademark of their season.

Georgetown was 8-2 at one point in conference play but stumbled down the stretch, losing four of their last six, but none more head scratching than their loss to South Florida on Saturday night, costing the Hoyas a 1st round bye.

Georgetown starts an imposing frontline with Roy Hibbert, Brandon Bowman and Jeff Green. The Irish will likely counter with a small line-up that includes 4-guards at times: Chris Quinn, Kyle McAlarney, Russell Carter and Colin Falls along with Torin Francis inside. Georgetown might be bigger, but they are ahletic as well and can go into a match-up zone to cover their shooters and still not be subject to a mis-match. Notre Dame will probably have to go a little bigger with Rob Kurz and Rick Cornett off the bench. Niether team is tremendously deep, but fatigue will not be much of a problem tonigh, that will come into play for the winner tomorrow.

Georgetown is just a 3-pt favorite, but look for a fired-up effort from the Hoyas coming off the humiliating loss at South Florida. Defense and rebounding wins in the Garden, Georgetown is head and shoulders above ND in those departments. The Irish 3-pt shooting will keep them within striking distance, but in the end, too much Georgetown size and some timely shooting wins this one.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Georgetown 74 Notre Dame 66

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Friday, March 03, 2006


March 4, 2006

To me, this is the game of the day! With three wins in their last four games, out of nowhere, DePaul has played their way back into the mix. Thursday night's riveting 108-69 blowout of Syracuse should give the Blue Demon offense a little jolt of confidence as the head to Notre Dame to meet the Irish. Although the Blue Demons do not control their own destiny, like the Irish, they still have a shot with a win at getting to NYC. Notre Dame also needs this game and it is much simpler of a scenario for them: Win and your in!

To read our preview and see our game prediction, click read more below and don't forget to leave your prediction in the comments section!


The scenario for DePaul is not too complicated, they need to win and hope Rutgers beats St. John's in Alumni Hall on the St. John's campus. So, in a conference where the road team is successful just under 37% of the time, that might be a lot to ask for to get two road wins in their favor on the home team's Senior Day. However, anything can happen, and if Depaul can score 108 pts in one game, well, I think it is proof that anything CAN and WILL happen when you play the game.

DePaul knows what they need to do. They can go small with Notre Dame and win the battle of athleticism at nearly every position. The question with DePaul is always will they make the right decisions with the ball and make their shots. On Thursday, they did just that and smashed the Orange. It was a performance so much out of line with what we have seen from DePaul in conference play you almost wondered if it was really them on the floor. Now, they have to get re-focused and understand that Notre Dame is going to be a pretty charged up team as well.

It will be Senior Day and the Irish fans will come out to sendoff Chris Quinn, Torin Francis and Rick Cornett in fashion. It has been a frustrating season for Notre Dame with many close losses, home and away, but these kids have never quit. Early in conferenc play, DePaul raced out to a huge lead early on and the Irish made a game of it before falling by six point in the end. The Irish will look to be ready from the get-go in this one.

I really like how DePaul matches up here. I think Wilson Chandler and Sammy Mejia should be able to use their match-ups and have good games. I think they have the personnel to defend Colin Falls on the perimeter and take him out of the game. Will they execute it? That remains to be seen.

However, I like Notre Dame in this situation. They will feed off the emotion of the crowd and with a bid to the conference tournament on the line and Senior Day for three very popular seniors, I see them being at their best. They looked very loose and comfortable Wednesday against Providence, however, that was not the case last Saturday in a loss to Marquette, when the weight of the situation seemd to hit them hard. That is concerning with all the emotion involved with Senior Day and the pressure to make the conference tournament, that worries me, but they are an experienced team determined to erase some bad memories from the season. It could all start here...

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Notre Dame 70 DePaul 68

Chris Quinn gets one to go HIS way...

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Notre Dame @ Providence

March 1, 2006

The calendar flips from February to March and we begin the month which what is very close to a play-in game for the Big East tournament. Obviously, there are many different scenarios that could still play out in the end, but a win tonight over Notre Dame would give the Friars six conference wins and guarantee them finishing higher than the Irish, DePaul (who they beat 2x) and South Florida in the conference standings. They also could end up in a 4-way tie for the final spot at six wins with St. John's, Louisville and Rutgers if they all end up with six wins, if that is the case, Providence still looks to be in good shape with the complicated tie-breaker scenarios.

It looks like the magic number is six to get into the conference tournament. Notre Dame, with two games left, sits at four. They play at Providence tonight and host DePaul this weekend in the final home game for Chris Quinn, Torin Francis and Rick Cornett. However, if the Irish lose tonight, I have yet to find a scenario that would give them an edge in tie-breakers with 5 conference wins. So, it is do or die time for the Irish.

Here are the pregame previews and stories linked from around the internet:

Like McDermott, Friars Keep Battling (South Bend Tribune)
Long-Shot Irish Aren't in Charge (Journal Gazette)
PC vs ND Scouting Report (Providence Journal)
Desperate Measures Needed by Friars (Providence Journal)
Coaches, Fans Reward Cornett's Commitment

For our preview and prediction on the game, click below!


Senior night in Providence for the Friars lone-senior, Donnie McGrath, should bring in a fired up crowd, especially with a Big East Tournament bid on the line for Tim Welsh's young squad. McGrath and Herbert Hill are the only upperclassmen on their depleted roster which will also include sophomores Charles Burch and Randall Hanke and freshmen Geoff McDermott, Sharaud Curry, Weyinmi Efejuku and Jonathan Kale in their 8-man rotation.

The Irish counter with a much more experienced rotation with seniors Chris Quinn, Torin Francis and Rick Cornett as well as juniors Colin Falls and Russel Carter, sophomore Rob Kurz and freshmen Kyle McAlarney getting most of the playing time and a few minutes for frosh Luke Zeller. The Irish have been going to a 4-guard look more often in an effort to get their best players on the floor. Although the look is not as athletic or defensively active as the style used by Villanova, the Irish are able to spread the floor and hit 3-pt shots and create a lane for Carter to slash to the basket. It might be the look they go with tonight against Providence.

Providence is a small-ish team, but the do have some athletes with McDermott, Hill and Burch along the front line and Hanke is no slouch getting out and running the floor. Curry is a quick penetrating guard that has really come on strong and McGrath is still a sniper from the perimeter. In their initial meeting, the Irish played bombs away from the perimeter against the PC zone as Falls, Quinn and McAlarney combined to go 13-19 from 3-pt range and score 67 points. The Friars MUST defend the perimeter better on their home court and control the boards if the Irish go small.

Notre Dame enters the game as a 1-point favorite. When the season began, I felt Notre Dame was an NCAA Tournament bubble team, not a conference tournament bubble team. Their painful amount of close losses have been well-documented, however, their loss to Marquette last Saturday was probably the toughest to take. Experienced teams should not have this much trouble winning games down the stretch.

Providence has five conference wins, but they have come against USF, St. John's, Rutgers and DePaul twice. Notre Dame's wins have not been against much better, but they have faced a tougher slate of games and did win on the road against Seton Hall.

It will be a charged up atmosphere, for one night, I think the Friars step up their game enough and send Donnie McGrath off the Dunkin Donuts floor as a winner.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Providence 75 Notre Dame 72

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