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Men’s Basketball: Notre Dame coach Mike Brey looking for consistency

Andrew Owens | Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fresh off of a 67-58 victory over top-ranked Syracuse in a raucous atmosphere at the Purcell Pavilion, concluding with students and players celebrating at midcourt, the Irish look to win their second consecutive game Wednesday at Seton Hall.

Notre Dame (12-8, 4-3 Big East) hits the road for the first half of a two-game road trip that will conclude Sunday at Connecticut. Senior guard Jordan Theodore and senior forward Herb Pope lead Seton Hall (15-4, 4-3), one of the league’s most improved teams, but the Pirates are riding a two-game losing streak heading into tonight’s game.

“They’re off to a great start,” Irish coach Mike Brey said. “I have a lot of respect for them. There’s nobody in the league playing better than Theodore and Pope, and they’re men. They’re going to want to beat us up, they’re going to want to play some zone, so can we control the tempo?”

Brey said the Irish not only have to confront a talented Big East team on the road, but also the mental roadblock of putting Saturday’s win over Syracuse behind them.

“When I woke up today, we were 4-3 in the league, we’re not 6-3, and that’s the cold hard reality of the celebration. [The victory] was a great win and it was awesome, but we’re 4-3 in the league,” he said. “We’re playing a team Wednesday that’s lost two in a row on the road and they’ve been really good at home.

“I think the challenge is going to be: How will you come out after what you did Saturday, for this team still finding itself? I think most teams, it doesn’t make them bad teams, would have a problem going out there Wednesday after Saturday. Can we [avoid doing that] and maybe show some special signs?”

Prior to the Pirates’ two-game skid, they won four consecutive Big East games.

“I look at Seton Hall being very due, coming back home after losing two in a row on the road, something that we just went through,” Brey said. “In this league you come home and get back on track, and they will be ready to roll.”

Notre Dame is 6-6 all-time at Seton Hall and are 16-7 overall against the Pirates since joining the Big East in 1995.

The Irish and Pirates will tip-off at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Contact Andrew Owens at [email protected]