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ND welcomes basketball season

Peter Leahy | Friday, November 19, 2004

For Notre Dame students discouraged by the performance of this year’s football team, watching basketball may present a remedy for that disenchantment.

This year’s team returns nine monogram winners including four starters who will play in tonight’s season opener in the Joyce Center against Harvard.

Junior Rob Hallman said football left him disappointed but was hopeful about the upcoming basketball season.

“I expect Notre Dame basketball to generate that winning feeling left void during the fall,” he said. “I think the basketball team’s success will largely depend on how Chris Thomas plays. I think this will be his year to shine.”

According to Hallman, the team would likely do well if it can get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out in 2003-04.

“Despite the parity in the Big East, I think we have a good shot of winning the Big East title and advancing far into the [tournament],” he said.

Freshman Mike Hatke credited the depth of this year’s team with his hopes for the season.

“There’s like 10 guys who could start,” he said.

Like Hallman, Hatke said he expected the team to compete for the Big East title and advance into the later rounds of the NCAA tournament.

“I think they have a legitimate shot to get to the Sweet 16. I think we should get to the Sweet 16,” he said. “If we really come together we could make the Final Four.”

Hatke said reaching the Sweet 16, rather than winning the Big East, would be the mark of a successful season this year.

“With all the talent we have, if we don’t get to the Sweet 16 it would be a disappointment,” Hatke said. “I think there’s too much talent not to get that far. We are easily one of the top 16 teams in the country.”

Sophomore Kristine Rosek shared Hatke’s excitement for the season.

“I’m pumped. I’m excited. I’m psyched,” she said.

Rosek said she likes going to the games.

“[I will attend] as many as I can because I’m a big nerd, and I have to study all the time,” she said.

But despite her excitement, Rosek said she felt guarded optimism about the upcoming season.

“I think we’ll get to the NCAA tournament, but I don’t think we’re gonna get to the Final Four or anything,” she said.

Sophomore Jenalle Slosar said she believed the team would play well, and though not a season-ticket holder – she plans to attend as many games as possible.

“If I have the chance to go see them I will,” she said.

Like Rosek, Slosar was cautious in her expectations for the team.

“I would expect them to do better than they did last year,” she said. “Quite possibly they could make the NCAA tournament.”