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Notre Dame Fighting Irish men's basketball 2018-19 season preview

Notre Dame

2017-18 record: 21-15, 8-10 in the ACC 

Head coach: Mike Brey 

Tenure at Xavier: 19th season 

Career coaching record: 502-252

Home court: Edmund P. Joyce Center 

Starters: G Rex Pflueger, G Prentiss Hubb, G T.J. Gibbs, F Elijah Burns, F John Mooney 

Bench: G Robby Carmody, G/F Dane Goodwin, F Chris Doherty, F Nate Laszewski 

Overview: After narrowly missing the NCAA tournament last year with a 21-15 record, Notre Dame basketball will be looking to make some significant changes this year. The Fighting Irish had a rough patch of luck last year, with seniors Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell missing significant time late in the season to foot and ankle injuries, respectively. Then-freshman D.J. Harvey also missed the last portion of the 2017-18 season to a knee injury, but recently made his triumphant return to the court after an intense recovery process, and coaching staff say he is back in fighting shape.

Head coach Mike Brey has built a career on keeping his teams old. Now, in his 19th season at the school, it appears that he may have to step outside of his comfort zone and rely more heavily on his younger players. With Colson and Farrell, both All-ACC players when healthy, and Martinas Geben, also a significant contributor, graduating last year, Notre Dame’s freshmen, four of whom are Top 100 recruits, will have to step up. The Fighting Irish still have a strong core of experienced players, with juniors John Mooney, Elijah Burns and T.J. Gibbs expected to have big seasons. With five freshmen on the roster, this is the youngest rotation Brey has ever had, and it will be up to freshmen Prentiss Hubb, Nate Laszewski, Chris Doherty, Dane Goodwin and Robby Carmody, to put up some big numbers in order for the Fighting Irish to break back into the NCAA tournament.

One thing that needs to go right: Mooney and Burns are able to replace Colson's interior presence and space the floor for the Irish's sharpshooting guards to go to work. 

One thing that could go wrong: Inexperience haunts Notre Dame in a deep ACC and the Irish continue to tumble down the conference standings.

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