Notre Dame Fighting Irish
2019-20 record: 20-12, 10-10 in the ACC
Head coach: Mike Brey
Tenure at Notre Dame: 21st season
Career coaching record: 536-285
Home court: Edmund P. Joyce Center
Starters: G Prentiss Hubb, G Dane Goodwin, G Cormac Ryan, F Nate Laszewski, F Juwan Durham
Bench: G Tony Sanders Jr., G Nikola Djogo, G Robby Carmody, F Elijah Taylor, F Matt Zona
Overview: Over the last six years, Notre Dame basketball has been a rollercoaster: the program fell quickly following consecutive Elite Eight appearances, posting just three wins in ACC play in 2018-19 and a far more respectable .500 record in conference play last season. Last year, with the team on the verge of returning to the Big Dance, the season came to an abrupt halt, leaving the Fighting Irish mired in uncertainty as three key starters moved on in T.J. Gibbs, Rex Pflueger, and John Mooney.
As such, junior point guard Prentiss Hubb and graduate student rim protector Juwan Durham are left as the only holdovers from last year’s starting lineup. Hubb – last year’s team leader in MPG and APG – will undeniably take on an even larger role, as head coach Mike Brey will look to put the ball in the rising star’s hands in a lineup full of promising shooters. Juniors Robby Carmody, Nate Laszewski, and Stanford transfer Ryan Cormac all have the potential to become lethal sharpshooters from beyond the arc as part of a two-man game with Hubb.
On the other hand, Durham’s elite rim protection should give life to an otherwise weak defense. While the team generally lacks defensive-minded playmakers and perimeter defenders, Brey’s scheme—which involves a healthy dose of zone—should keep opponents from running up the score on Notre Dame.
Overall, Notre Dame projects towards the middle of the ACC this year, with much of the team’s success dependent on Hubb’s offensive prowess and Durham’s ability to keep the defense afloat. The Fighting Irish, however, are extremely well-coached: in a season as unique as this one, it certainly would not be a surprise to see Brey and company exceed expectations and earn a few trademark wins along the way.
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Team ceiling: Hubb blossoms in his first full year as the floor general, leading a dynamic offense that stays afloat in ACC play. This leads to the team’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 2017.
Team floor: Notre Dame’s shooters struggle to find the bottom of the net, leaving Hubb with too much on his shoulders as opposing offenses torch the team’s leaky defense. The Irish remain competitive, but the strength of the ACC ultimately overwhelms a program that is left with more questions than answers at season’s end.