It's been too long since the last one, but following the football team's 33-3 loss to Georgia Tech on Saturday, we all need something to look forward to.
So what's new? The schedule is official (as of today). It looks like ND's 20 game home winning streak should not be in jeopardy until, well... January. This year's Syracuse-esque non-conference lineup pits the Irish against fierce rivals such as North Florida (coached by former Irish assistant Matt Kilcullen) and Youngstown State. The Paradise Jam should be interesting, with a possible rematch of Winthrop waiting in the wings, but the only concrete matchup there is Monmouth.
The eighteen game conference slate will prove to be plenty challenging. Unfortunately, without an opportunity for quality non-conference wins in 2007, making the '08 Tournament as an at-large will be somewhat difficult.
The Big East Basketball Report always does some good work. Check out that season preview for a good guide of this year's action.
Big East Schedule Rank- 6th
Historical Conference Record- 9th, 101-99
All-Time BET Record- 4-12
Tory Jackson- 8th Overall PG- "This year, McAlarney is back, but expect the PG position to be Jackson's as he adds more quickness to the Irish attack and to be paired with McAlarney at the guard position."
Kyle McAlarney- SG Player to Watch- "McAlarney is a tough competitor who is an excellent shooter and if Jackson can get in the lane, look for him to find a spot-up shooter like McAlarney ready to fire. The Irish offense is known to take advantage of that kind of skill set."
Honorable Mention Backcourt- "The Irish are definitely not the deepest group, but Tory Jackson and Kyle McAlarney will form a quality backcourt duo. I was impressed with the play of Jonathan Peoples as well last year as he and Jackson were both thrown into the fire when McAlarney was lost due to suspension just prior to conference play. "
Ryan Ayers- Wing Player to Watch- "Ayers is the best candidate and showed a little potential last season in a couple opportunities. He will be pushed to produce this year, as a junior, because it could be his last shot."
Rob Kurz- 1st (1a) Overall PF- "Despite battling injuries throughout the conference season, Rob Kurz still managed to put up 10 pts and 7 rebounds a contest in conference action. Kurz does everything well for Mike Brey's squad and his ability to go inside and out opens the middle for Luke Harangody. Kurz is an excellent passer underneath as well and, if he stays healthy, should be a very efficient player for the Irish this season. "
Luke Harangody- 6th Overall C- "Every other center on the list might have more upside for the next level, but here is one of the most fundamentally sound young post players I have seen come into the league in a LONG, LONG time. Harangody has the footwork down and when he develops position inside, he has an array of post moves to use with excellent touch that he is nearly automatic at getting to the line or dropping in a bucket. He uses his body very well to establish position and he aggressively chases down rebounds."
Good to see the high praise for Kurz. The rest of the starting lineup gets some credit as well (see the paragraph on Bamm-Bamm). I'll some more thoughts of my own for you as the season draws closer, but for now feel free to enjoy the great work done by NBEblogger and a bunch of other sites around the net.
'Til next time, I'll be watching Jimmy Claw and the rest of the football boys in action. Let's hope it gets better than it was Saturday.