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2019-20 Notre Dame men's basketball preview

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Overall record: 14-19, 3-15 in the ACC

Head coach: Mike Brey

Tenure at Notre Dame: 20th season

Career coaching record: 516-273

Home court: Edmund P. Joyce Center

Starters: G Prentiss Hubb, G T.J. Gibbs, G Dane Goodwin, F Juwan Durham, F John Mooney

Bench: G Rex Pflueger, F Nate Laszewski, G Nikola Djogo, G Robby Carmody, F Chris Doherty

Overview: The Fighting Irish opened up last season with wins in six of their first seven games before falling to Oklahoma and UCLA, respectively. Notre Dame, however, bounced back with a victory against Purdue, who took the eventual national champion Virginia to overtime in the Elite Eight. Mike Brey’s team won out the rest of the nonconference season. But the ACC slate wasn’t as kind to the Fighting Irish, as they opened up conference play with a 1-6 record entering a meeting with Duke. The Blue Devils earned the 83-61 road victory while Notre Dame ended up defeating Boston College twice and Georgia Tech once as its only three regular season victories after the calendar turned over. Notre Dame defeated Georgia Tech in the first round of the ACC tournament before falling to Louisville in the next round to finish with a 14-19 overall record.

Last December, guard Rex Pflueger tore his ACL and was out for the year after only 10 games. He likely will not be ready to play at the start of the season, but the redshirt senior guard will bring 57 starts to an experienced Fighting Irish returning core that will look to return Notre Dame to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2017. Meanwhile, T.J. Gibbs and preseason All-ACC first team honoree John Mooney averaged 13.4 and 14.1 points, respectively, a year ago and will lead  Notre Dame in Pflueger's absence. 

Without D.J. Harvey, who transferred to Vanderbilt, the team will look slightly different, but Brey will use his experience to turn the Fighting Irish around the way he’s done so since he arrived in South Bend, Ind., in 2000.

One thing that needs to go right: Pflueger returns when he is healthy to bolster the scoring output along with seniors Mooney and Gibbs, and Notre Dame dances come March.

One thing that could go wrong: The loss of D.J. Harvey’s 10.7 points and 4.2 rebounds coupled with Pflueger's inability to return before the start of ACC play could hinder the team's attempt to return to the postseason.

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