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Men’s Basketball: Post-Harangody era begins

Mike Gotimer | Monday, November 1, 2010

After graduating a class that made three trips to the NCAA Tournament in four seasons, Notre Dame begins the post-Harangody era tonight with an exhibition game against Marian.

The Irish, who were picked to finish 7th in the Big East, enter the 2010-11 season without receiving votes in either the AP or USA Today polls. The Irish have a number of questions to answer this season following the departures of All-American forward-center Luke Harangody and point guard Tory Jackson.

Notre Dame ended last season with a disappointing 51-50 loss to Old Dominion in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Merely making the tournament, however, was a huge accomplishment for the Irish, who appeared to have little chance of making the big dance after Harangody sustained a knee injury in a 90-87 loss to Seton Hall on Feb. 11th, the first of three straight Irish losses. The normally up-tempo Irish, however, revived their season when they started running a slower half-court set that led to consecutive upsets over No. 16 Pittsburgh and No. 13 Georgetown. The Irish powered their way to the Big East Tournament quarterfinals all but sealed a Notre Dame invitation to the NCAA Tournament.

Notre Dame’s top returning scorer is fifth-year forward Tim Abromitis, who averaged 16.1 points per game and shot 42.9 percent three-point range. Fellow senior Ben Hansbrough also posted 12 points per game for the Irish last season. Notre Dame also hopes to get a boost from senior guard Scott Martin, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL after transferring from Purdue after the 2007-08 season.

While Notre Dame will rely on key returning seniors for a successful season, a number of new faces must step in to replace the production of Harangody and Jackson. Freshman guard Eric Atkins is expected to replace Jackson at point guard in the early going and continue a line of immediate impact Irish freshmen at the position that includes the likes of Jackson and former point guard Chris Thomas. The combination of sophomore forwards Jack Cooley and Mike Broghammer will seek to replace the scoring and rebounding voids left by Harangody’s departure.

These new faces for the Irish will look to build chemistry with the older seniors in tonight’s game against the Knights, a Division III squad from Indianapolis that plays in the NAIA. The Irish and Knights will tip-off at the Purcell Pavilion at 7:30 PM.