Get domestic, get packed, get returned out of metropolis and get this over. Less than 24 hours after the Notre Dame men’s basketball crew back from its very last normal-season road ride, the No. 15 seed Irish once more were in the air, headed for Charlotte, N.C., and Tuesday’s first-spherical recreation towards No. 10 Georgia Tech (about 2:30 p.M., ESPN) inside the Atlantic Coast Conference match. Before leaving the city, the Irish disregarded doing any media, a primary inside the 19 seasons beneath Mike Brey. No participant availability. No coach get admission to. No interviews. That Notre Dame went the no-remark direction sums up how everybody around the program feels approximately what’s been a depressing three months. End this. Now. No more speak of the Irish lack of ability to make pictures or close out near video games. No more celebrated remarks on what they want to get over the proverbial hump, about scaling a wall that they weren’t going to clear regardless of how commonly they satisfied themselves they might. No sound bites approximately the newbies being higher than, well, novices. No other speaking about if and when the guys who had been purported to be leaders would indeed be leaders after which why they weren’t.
No extra of Brey trying to put on a constructive/brave face. No excess of everything. Get via these subsequent 40 minutes against Georgia Tech, another root canal sans Novocain ready, and close all of it down. If Notre Dame advances to play No. 7 Louisville on Wednesday’s 2d spherical, swell. But does it be counted? The games that Notre Dame had to win, for its collective psyche, for its pleasure, for its future, have come and long past. Any achievement in Charlotte will be as empty as the Purcell Pavilion stands had been this iciness. If Tuesday indeed is the give up, cease it. Even the year-cease awards night in April has been scrapped. How do you supply an “empty the tank” award while the tank’s been empty for weeks? Let the Irish, presently thirteen-18 after surprising via a three-15 displaying within the ACC, revel in what’s left in their spring spoil before the maximum important offseason this system has ever confronted. Not lengthy in the past, March used to remember. Four years in the history, Notre Dame turned into at the ground of Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum is carrying championship hats and shirts and hauling home a big trophy after taking pictures the ACC match name. The Irish went to the NCAA event Elite Eight for the first of -immediately years. Maybe that’s as excellent as it receives. Since commencing convention play three-0 for the primary time in college records last season, Notre Dame is a brilliant 8-25 inside the ACC. It’s been the final scramble to maintain fulfillment, yet the Irish stay mired in mediocrity. How did this take place? How did this come to be the most un-Brey-like crew ever? There’s no longer sufficient time or column inches to dissect how this season went so sideways. There are snapshots. Like Notre Dame needing to flood the ground with shooters in a past due-game situation in opposition to Radford, simplest to have Brey neglect to sub in freshman Nate Laszewski before a three-point loss.
Like senior captain Elijah Burns quitting four games in, a pass that flustered what already turned into an unfocused locker room. Like senior captain Rex Pflueger crumpling alongside the baseline with season-ending knee harm inside the Dec. 15 win over No. Thirteen Purdue. On a day whilst the whole thing regarded love it become falling into the region, while the Irish looked at a capacity NCAA tournament crew, it all fell aside. Like the soul-stomping 27-point loss at domestic to No. 2 Virginia, then the equally deflating 22-factor loss to No. 5 Duke just over 48 hours later. Like the incapability to capitalize on seemingly confidence-boosting efforts towards Boston College (win) and the rematch at Virginia (loss) with lousy offerings towards Miami (Fla.) (loss) and Wake Forest (loss). Remember how February would give this crew a new existence? A more energizing recognition?
Notre Damereceived at Boston College to begin the month, then finished 1-eight. Yeah, that labored. Notre Dame became the precise elixir for what ailed other conference groups. Wake Forest gained one league street recreation. Guess where? Pittsburgh hadn’t won a league sport in fifty four days. Guess what team the Panthers beat to snap that streak? League groups should anticipate gambling Notre Dame to get proper. The Irish couldn’t win at domestic (2-7), couldn’t win on the street (1-eight), couldn’t beat a ranked league crew (0-eight), couldn’t beat anybody now not named Boston College (twice) or Georgia Tech (once) and never beat a group in the league’s top seven of the very last standings (zero-nine). Notre Dame misplaced the maximum league home video games (seven) in school history and had the most domestic losses (eight) due to the fact 1992-93. The Irish will finish with 19 losses, maximum considering the fact that 1990-91. That was the primary year of 10 with out an NCAA event bid. That become pre-ACC. Pre-Big East. That became a dark decade. These last few months were darker. Everything successfully ended Feb. 19 with that domestic loss to Wake Forest. The festering feeling walking out of Purcell Pavilion that night was that this team changed into spent. Their self assurance crippled. Their will wounded. They didn’t have lots c ofombat left. Doing the tough stuff was too tough. Entering the league tournament, the Irish have lost seven straight, 8 of 9 and 13 of 15. It’s been 30 days considering that they last won. It might be every other eight months earlier than they get any other hazard. In the approaching days, we’ll take a look at what Notre Dame needs to do to be higher and why subsequent season aligns as the ultimate prove-it season. For the players. For the top educate. For the program.