Notre Dame Fighting Irish: 25-9, 12-6 in the ACC
Head coach: Mike Brey (17th season)
Players to watch: Bonzie Colson (17.5 PPG, 10.2 RPG); V.J. Beachem (15.0 PPG, 37.6 3PT%); Matt Farrell (14.2 PPG, 5.5 APG, 41.3 3PT%)
Season recap: After starting the campaign 11-2 with close losses to Purdue and Villanova, Notre Dame was extremely streaky during ACC play. The Fighting Irish started off with five straight conference wins, then dropped five of six and finally rattled off a six-game winning streak before dropping their last contest of the season to earn themselves a No. 3 seed in the ACC tournament. Head coach Mike Brey's team made another nice run in the conference tournament, knocking off Virginia and Florida State before falling to Duke in the title game.
Notre Dame relies heavily on a quartet of veterans—junior forward Bonzie Colson, senior forward V.J. Beachem, junior guard Matt Farrell and senior guard Steve Vasturia—for scoring, as the four are the Fighting Irish’s only players averaging more than six points per game. At just 6-foot-5, Colson leads the ACC in rebounding and often plays as a versatile five in an undersized lineup that loves to space the floor and stretch the defense.
Coming off back-to-back Elite Eight appearances, Notre Dame has plenty of experience in big games and has the offense to execute well down the stretch. The Fighting Irish are an excellent free-throw shooting team, leading the nation at 79.9 percent.
How they make a run: Notre Dame's offense clicks as the trio of Farrell, Beachem and Vasturia get hot from deep, and the Fighting Irish put up points in bunches to make another deep NCAA tournament run.
How they falter: A bigger team pounds Notre Dame inside and on the glass, forcing Colson into foul trouble and inexperienced Fighting Irish big men into big minutes in an early-round upset for Brey's team.
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