Sunday, March 21, 2010


After four seasons, it is time to call it quits. What started as just a side project for my own satisfaction grew into a pretty respectable site with followers from around the world (seriously, Marco's holiday e-mails from Italy were the best). With time constraints adding up and an extended stay in Uganda planned for next spring, I simply can no longer count on providing the same kind of coverage that I have expected from myself over the past few years.

This really has been a tremendous ride and I would encourage anyone who is considering starting their own blog to jump into in wholeheartedly. At the beginning, this site was just something I started on a whim to kill some free time. 793 posts later, I can sign off with the firm knowledge that I have grown as a basketball fan and leave with no regrets.

For future reference, Rakes of Mallow is probably the most professional ND hoops blog out there. Be sure to check that out if you need a new place to read up on Irish basketball. Matt Mattare's blog is also a pretty good upstart. Of course, if you think you can do it better, the internet is always ready for someone new to enter the conversation.

And finally, thanks to everyone who has read and contributed to the blog over the past few years. This site would be pointless without your interaction. I hope you have enjoyed the ride as much as I have and I'm looking forward to continuing to cheer on the Irish in the future along with you.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Next Year

We lose the winningest senior class in program history, but a lot of talent returns to propel the program forward to a new decade under Mike Brey. Obviously Luke Harangody's contributions will be missed. Though his style this season left a lot to be desired, no one should underestimate the effect of losing a 20 point, 10 rebound guy. There will be a large leadership gap with Tory Jackson graduating and the program will need a new point guard for the first time in four years. Walk-on Tim Andree always worked his butt off in practice for almost no reward. Non-scholarship players put in all the time and effort and receive no credit. Thanks, Tim. Jonathan Peoples... nevermind.


Eric Atkins looks to start at the point as a freshman next season. He is a very talented guard from the Baltimore area. Given four-stars by Rivals (more than Tory Jackson as a high school senior), he seems to be as ready as anyone to take over his first year. Ben Hansbrough will be back and time will tell if he will match Atkins' style better than Jackson's. Though I do like to bash Peoples a lot, his experience as a backup guard who can play both positions will be missed. Look for Joey Brooks to get minutes off the bench at the 2 and for Hansbrough to slide over and play point from time to time. Freshman Alex Dragicevich or Jerian Grant may also see very limited action off the bench.


Scott Martin is the big question mark next season. He could play any frontcourt position or even shooting guard when the Irish go big. Think of him as a left-handed Abro. I think his role will start off as the sixth man off the bench, but should any of the starters falter he will be ready to fill in. Tim Abromaitis will return to play on the wing. Hopefully he can figure out whatever was dogging him at the end of the year to get back to his early season form. Adding Martin to the rotation may reduce Abro's minutes and keep him from getting dead legs down the stretch. Carleton Scott should get first crack at the 4 after he played so well at the end of the season. If he can develop better ball-handling skills to go with his athleticism and decent stroke, I see him as a potential breakout star. Ty Nash may be the weakest starter amongst the forwards, but his physical play and improving post game will be much needed. Jack Cooley will get time off the bench and could compete for a starting spot. Mike Broghammer and redshirt Tom Knight will most likely ride the pine all year.


PG- Atkins
SG- Hansbrough
SF- Abromaitis
PF- Scott
PF- Nash

Bench- Brooks
Bench- Martin
Bench- Cooley

Friday, March 19, 2010

Season Report Card

What an up-and-down year it's been. After an 11-2 nonconference record against the one of the easiest schedules in the country, the Irish caught some national headlines with a 70-68 home win against West Virginia. That one really was a shocker. Though it foreshadowed the great stretch run to come, there were a lot of frustrating results on the way. ND went 3-7 over its next ten games and placed itself well off the bubble with a 6-8 conference record. Luke Harangody was lost to a knee injury during this stretch and all seemed to be lost.

Starting with a home win against Pittsburgh, Coach Brey's decision to hit the brakes really saw some good results. Our "Burn" offense led to six straight wins over a few very talented opponents. All of a sudden, the Irish played themselves off of the bubble and into a six-seed in the NCAA Tournament, a result that exceeded my expectations at the beginning of the year. Another frustrating first round exit ended the season on a sour note, however, as the team couldn't buy a late basket against Old Dominion.

Coaching- (C+) The team's struggles led to my calling for Coach Brey's head in the middle of the season. Though I still do not believe that this coaching staff is the right one to take the program to the next level, they impressed by completely changing the offensive philosophy for the most inspiring late season turnaround I've seen in awhile. However, making the Tournament was the expectation this year. Another first round exit doesn't cut it.


Tory Jackson- (B) Not his best year statistically, but Tory showed off his leadership this season. The true heart and soul of the program, this season revolved around him. He will be greatly missed on the floor and in the locker room.

Ben Hansbrough- (B-) He impressed me this year. A more complete shooting guard than Kyle McAlarney, his style didn't always mesh with Jackson, but he provided an offensive threat from the shooting guard slot. On defense, he was one of our best on-ball defenders, but got lost frequently off-the-ball.

Jonathan Peoples- (D) A decent backup point guard who never should have sniffed a starting role. By the end of the year, his contributions were effectively nil.


Tim Abromaitis- (B+) Though he dropped off at the end, Abro had an excellent year. Until a skid over the last four games, he scored in double figures in all but three contests. Very impressive for a guy who redshirted last season and wasn't on the radar freshman year.

Carleton Scott (B) Growing from a guy who couldn't crack the starting lineup into our best rebounding threat with a pretty clutch stroke from three. He could be great next season.

Ty Nash (C+) Respectable season, but nothing flashy. Grew into a serviceable post threat, but was never able to put up big numbers. With Harangody out, it was Scott who carried the team on the glass.

Luke Harangody (C) One of the greatest players to ever put on a Notre Dame jersey, but used this season as an extended NBA tryout. His tendency to throw up bad three-pointers killed our offensive flow before his injury. Gets a decent grade due to his pure statistical greatness.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Old Dominion 51, Notre Dame 50

Irish let a nine-point lead slip away and fall in the first round with some bad shot selection against a second-half Monarch zone.

ND attempted three-pointers on nine of its last eleven possessions, making just one of them. With no offensive flow to speak of, Coach Brey's team allowed Old Dominion to slowly take control of the contest and end the game on an 11-5 run over the last six minutes (Luke Harangody's buzzer-beating layup not included). For the game, Notre Dame shot 24% from beyond the arc while attempting twice as many threes as ODU. The biggest culprits were Abromaitis (who has struggled for the last couple of weeks) and Jackson.

Defensively, the Irish played well enough to win the game. Really, it was the offensive letdown the cost the team a chance for a Tournament run. Old Dominion's zone cut down on any points inside down the stretch while Ty Nash and Luke Harangody played a very ineffective 40 minutes between the two of them.

Tory Jackson ended his career with 5 points and 5 rebounds. He also pitched in 4 assists and 3 steals. Unfortunately, he couldn't hit the broadside of a barn with his jumper. 2-11 from the field, 1-7 from long range. Falling in love with the three pointer just killed any chance at a late run to close out the game.

Ben Hansbrough did shoot pretty well, making seven of his eleven attempts from the field. He finished with 17 points. Add in 6 rebounds and 3 assists for the senior shooting guard. I expect he will be back next season, but you don't know for sure.

Tim Abromaitis finished off a very good season on an extended cold streak. 0-5 on his three pointers today. He chipped in for 3 rebounds, but has never seemed to get comfortable in the "Burn" offense.

Carleton Scott played a bit of Jekyll and Hyde today. 14 points, 10 assists, made a couple big threes, but was awfully disappointing with the ball in his hands. He turned the ball over 5 times, almost all in the first half. On defense, he finished with a pair of blocks and a steal.

Ty Nash played just 18 minutes with foul trouble. 1 point, 3 rebounds.

Off the bench, Luke Harangody finally got in the scorebook late. He did help out a lot on the offensive glass, but was unable to find any flow inside against the zone. Jack Cooley played six minutes while Nash and Gody were on the bench. Peoples got in the game for 3 minutes and didn't see action after a really dumb attempt to save the ball under the opponent's basket. He should have learned not to do that in middle school.

Just like that, the season has come to an end. For much of the game, the Irish looked pretty strong, but simply could not overcome their offensive woes at the end.

I'll do some season recap stuff over the next couple of days. Thanks for the hard work, seniors. It was good to get back in the Tournament after last season, but ultimately another disappointing result will end the year.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Start the Tourney

Arkansas-Pine Bluff/Winthrop grudgematch tonight. Winner takes on Duke.

Also, an announcement. After four years, I will be relinquishing control of the blog at the end of the season. It's been a great ride and I've enjoyed every minute of it, but time constraints have made me limit my posting this season. Next year, I will be out of the country for most of the Big East slate. While I would love to continue posting, I simply cannot continue to bring the same caliber of coverage that I hope you have come to expect from Black and Green.

My last post will be the Sunday after the Irish play their last game this season (if ND loses this weekend, I will finish up on March 21st). Until then, I promise to give you my best effort in the remaining posts and hope to continue going for as long as possible!