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Don’t stop believin’

Greg Arbogast | Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I know the situation looks bleak. After a promising 10-2 start, Notre Dame basketball stumbled their way to becoming the greatest 1-8 team in Big East history.

It felt like I was having déjà vu every time I had the misfortune of watching the Irish in the last five minutes of a game. I mean, how many of you just knew that that prayer of a 3-pointer by Taquan Dean would somehow find its way to the bottom of the net at Louisville? Watching the reaction of the Notre Dame bench after that shot went in made you question not only whether this team could take anymore, but quite possibly the existence of a higher power as well.

There’s just something about this team though. Something about this team that hasn’t let me give up on them yet. Something about this team that makes me think that the seemingly unattainable idea of an NCAA tournament bid is still a tangible possibility.

Allow me to draw on the immortal wisdom of Bluto Blutarski when he says, “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?” No, it wasn’t over then, and it isn’t over now for the Irish and an NCAA tournament bid.

‘Why?’ you ask. Well, first and foremost, I’m a strong believer in the “You can only lose so many games where you walk back to your dorm wanting to cry” theory. Although this might be a little painful for some, here’s a recap of such moments from this school year: football, Michigan State and USC; basketball, Georgetown and Villanova. I mean, how much punishment can the sports gods possibly expect us to endure in one year?

That theory in mind, I come back to the idea that there’s just something about this team. A weak team would have rolled over and died after the Villanova game. The majority of teams would have packed it in after the West Virginia heartbreaker. Even a mentally tough team would have decided this just wasn’t their season after the Louisville loss.

If, however, the Irish had packed it in for the season already, like most teams would have in their situation, they would have come out against an undermanned Rutgers team and proved to a noticeably less than enthusiastic Leprechaun Legion that the team felt their season was over.

That’s just the thing, though. Chris Quinn and company don’t feel that this season is over. Whatever their reason – an undying spirit, a superior mental toughness, a possible subscription to the aforementioned “close game” theory – Notre Dame believes they can turn those heartbreaking losses into emotional wins in this season’s remaining games.

The Irish haven’t given up on this season, and until they do – if they do – we owe it to this year’s team not to give up on the season either.