Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Notre Dame Fighting Irish - #4 Big East college basketball power rankings

Published on December 31, 2012 by Scott Shirley   ·   No Comments

Notre Dame

Coach: Mike Brey (12 seasons at Notre Dame 260-132) Overall 359-184, 17 years

2011-12: Record 22-12 overall, 13-5 in Big East (3rd)

Starters Returning (5) Eric Atkins, Scott Martin, Jerian Grant, Pat Connaughton, Jake Cooley

Preseason Tournament: Coaches vs. Cancer

Top Non-Conference Games: vs. Purdue, vs. Kentucky

Transfer Out:Alex Dragicevich (Boston College)

Sat Out: Garrick Sherman (Michigan State)

Not much was expected out of the Irish last season, especially after injuries, but once again Mike Brey did a great coaching job. Over the last two season the Irish are 27-9 in the Big East, but this could be their last year in the conference, as they are headed to the ACC in the future. There is plenty of hype around the Irish mostly because they basically return everyone off last year’s roster including all 5 starters. Brey also brings in a very good recruiting class. The next step for the Irish is to advance deep in the NCAA Tournament.

The strength of the Irish will be in the backcourt with two players that rarely leave the floor . At point guard will be Eric Atkins (12.1 ppg), his running mate will be Jerian Grant (12.3 ppg). Both players are very similar. Both can handle point guard duties, the two combined to average 9 assists per game last season. Both are very good three point shooters and defenders. Grant also can attack the rim more while Atkins has excellent leadership qualities. At the 3rd guard spot will be Pat Connaughton (7ppg). Connaughton had a great freshman season last year after starting because of injuries. He is an effective rebounder and he made the 3rd most threes on the team. The top option off the bench here will be Joey Brooks (3.2 ppg). Besides Brooks depth is a major concern here the only really player here is Patrick Crowley.

Leading the Irish in the frontcourt will be center Jake Cooley (12.5 ppg). He was named the Big East’s Most Improved Player last season. He came close to averaging a double double last season but look for him to accomplish that this season. Cooley is really tough around the basket; he shot 63 % from the field last year. Joining him in the frontcourt is Scott Martin (9.5 ppg), who was granted a 6th year by the NCAA. He is a very versatile scorer; he can shot the three and score around the paint. He has guard like skills playing around the basket. The top option off the bench will Michigan State transfer Garrick Sherman. He started 20 games at MSU. He might start some games especially against bigger teams. The Irish would than shift Martin to small forward. The Irish have plenty of depth here thanks to three highly touted freshmen in Cameron Biedscheid, Zach Auguste, and Austin Burgett. Veterans Tom Knight (2.9 ppg) and Mike Broghammer(1.7 ppg) add more depth.

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