ND prepares for National Invitational Tournament
Molly Murphy | Friday, February 26, 2016
This weekend Notre Dame will head to Tucson, Arizona to compete in the National Invitational Tournament. With three freshman in the starting five, Irish head coach James Kubinski is looking to build off of the young team’s success from its previous matches, especially Notre Dame’s strong showing at its last competition, the Yestingsmeier Match Play in Dade City, Florida at the beginning of February.
“We’re looking to use the momentum gained from winning two of three in Florida our last time out and continue to apply the lessons learned up to this point,” Kubinski said.
Kubinski noted the unfamiliar terrain will be difficult for the team, but he is confident in his team’s preparation for the match and its ability to adapt and perform.
“The environment, playing in Arizona, is fairly unique for us. Our team hasn’t played at [University of Arizona] in a few years,” Kubinski said.
The team was able to familiarize themselves with the unusual conditions on a trip to Arizona last weekend, however, and Kubinski believes the advance scouting will make a difference for his players.
“Getting out to Arizona for practice last weekend was beneficial, seeing how the ball flies and how the mountains and valleys influence putts,” Kubinski said. “Our guys should now have a jump on making the necessary adjustments.”
This tournament is the beginning of an important part of the season for the Irish; Kubinski said the next several weeks will be critical for the Irish.
“We’re kicking off a great stretch of our season this week in Tucson,” Kubinski said, “Over the next three weeks, we will play several more head-to-heads than we did all [of the] fall season. This opportunity is not lost on our team. It all starts this week with [the University of Arizona’s] event.”
Despite an unfamiliar environment and the pressure of improving, Kubinski feels the depth of his team will be a significant weapon in Tucson and in the weeks to come.
“What makes us a team to watch in the weeks and months ahead is that we can get significant contributions from our entire starting lineup,” Kubinski said, “Without a senior starter, our juniors will provide some leadership but, really, all five have the ability to contribute in a big way. We will rely on our preparation and the momentum we started at the match play in Florida to keep moving forward in a good way. “
The National Invitational Tournament will begin Sunday and continue through to Tuesday as the Irish continue their season in Arizona.