Another early tourney exit has Notre Dame looking ahead to ACC
By LaMond Pope 648-3090 or email@example.com March 23, 2013 11:24PM
Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey watches the second half of a second-round game against Iowa State at the NCAA college basketball tournament on Friday, March 22, 2013, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/Al Behrman) ORG XMIT: OHAB167
Updated: April 25, 2013 7:27AM
Dayton, Ohio — It won’t ease the pain of a second straight second round exit, but Notre Dame will attempt to move on from its tournament loss by focusing on its move to the ACC.
“The history of our program has not been good in this thing, I’m aware of that,” Irish coach Mike Brey said after Friday’s 76-58 loss to Iowa State. “We strive to do better in it. I still feel we have some pretty good momentum. We have good players coming back.
“It’s funny, what will take my mind off the NCAA tournament will be trying to figure out who we are in the ACC. And that’s probably a good thing.”
Notre Dame officially joins the ACC this summer.
“We had this earning a bid out of the Big East down to a science,” Brey said. “We haven’t advanced (in the tournament), that’s a whole other issue. How do we earn a bid out of the ACC? That’s going to be the interesting thing next year.”
Notre Dame’s philosophy for its nonconference scheduling will change.
“If you look at the strength of the Big East, we’ve always been able to play our way in (to the tournament) through the strength of the Big East. The ACC has not had that power,” Brey said.
Georgia Tech and Boston College are the known repeat conference opponents. The Irish could learn the other two in about a month.
“You may not have as many shots at good wins as you had in the Big East, so what do you do with your non-league? Those are all things we’ve been talking about as a staff, and I think we really got to think about it,” Brey said. “That will be a neat new challenge. That will kind of get you motivated and thinking differently here quickly after we decompress a little bit.”
Notre Dame has plenty of time to think about all that after turning the ball over 17 times — 14 in the first half — Friday. Notre Dame came into the game averaging 11.1 turnovers.
“All season, it felt like we had a team this year that could make a deep run in March, and I really believed that,” guard Jerian Grant said. “We picked the worst day to have our worst game.”
Three of Notre Dame’s top scorers from this season, including Grant, are eligible to return next year.
“There’s a lot to work with,” Brey said. “… I love what we have coming back. I’ll say this, I like that I’m going into a new league with this team, and older guys, as we try to figure out how to earn a bid out of the ACC.”