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Men’s Basketball: Irish look to reverse road woes

Bill Brink | Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Win two, lose two.

That has defined Notre Dame’s successes and failures of late. The Irish followed two straight losses with two wins at home, only to lose two more on the road.

The Irish (17-9, 6-7 Big East) travel to Louisville tonight to face the Cardinals (16-9, 7-5), further testing Notre Dame’s ability to win a conference game on the road.

The injury to senior forward Luke Harangody won’t help. Harangody suffered a bone bruise to his right knee in a loss to Seton Hall last week and did not play Sunday in a 69-68 loss to St. John’s.

“He rode the bike yesterday, he’ll shoot a little bit today,” Irish coach Mike Brey said.

Obviously, he’ll make the trip and you’ve got to see how he reacts to the bicycle today and reacts to actually some movement, shooting drills today and tomorrow, to see where he’s at. That’s kind of where we’re at, we’re kind of day-to-day.”

Brey said despite the sub-.500 conference record he was confident in his team’s performance and the future of the team looked bright.

“I’m very happy with how we do business,” Brey said. “Certainly we’d love to win more Big East games and more NCAA Tournaments, but I’d take my track record.

“Peek ahead, I’m excited about young players in our program. I’m excited about some the guards we have coming, Scott Martin coming back.”

Martin was lost for the season when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in preseason practice.

Louisville has won three of its last four games, including a 66-60 win on the road at No. 5 Syracuse Sunday. The Cardinals also beat Connecticut at home on Feb. 1.

Sophomore forward Samardo Samuels leads the team in scoring with 15.3 points per game and in rebounding with 7.4 a contest. Senior guard Edgar Sosa follows with 13 points per game.

The Irish perimeter shooting, however, has a chance to take advantage of the Cardinals, who allow opponents to shoot 34 percent from 3-point range. Junior forward Tim Abromaitis shoots 49 percent from 3-point range and senior guard Ben Hansbrough hits 46 percent of his 3s.

Without Harangody and his 24.1 points per game, the Irish struggled against St. John’s Sunday. Abromaitis scored 14 points and the Irish hit nine 3-pointers and shot well from field goal range and from the foul line, but only put up 43 shots and could not keep up with the Red Storm.

Their current record has the Irish on the fringe of making the NCAA Tournament.

“Fighting into top half of this league is the world we’re in now,” Brey said. “That’s our charge, to fight to stay in the top half and make your run from there.”

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. on ESPN.