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Men’s Basketball

Staff Predictions: Men’s Basketball

, , and | Thursday, March 19, 2015

Manny De Jesus

Sports Writer

After going 15-17 a year ago, Notre Dame has turned things around in a major way. Led by Jerian Grant, the Irish finished second in the nation in offensive efficiency. While Grant looked like the lone star on the team at the start, Mike Brey established a starting five that created matchup problems for opponents at all positions on the court.

Pat Connaughton and Steve Vasturia are untouchable from long range, Demetrius Jackson has range and explosiveness, and Zach Auguste is a much more confident player than he was at the beginning of the year. And don’t forget about Bonzie Colson, who came out of nowhere to become a player the Irish can rely on.

When this team is on, they’re unbeatable. When they struggle, they can lose to anyone.

PREDICTION: Notre Dame loses to Kentucky in the Elite Eight.

Mike Monaco

Senior Sports Writer

The story has become all too familiar for Notre Dame in recent years.

A strong regular season. Often a nice conference tournament run.  But it seems like seasons always end early in the NCAA tournament.

So why should this year be different?

Mike Brey says he’s never been this confident about a team heading into the tournament. And with good reason.

The Irish offense keeps rolling, and Notre Dame’s defense shined in spurts in the ACC tournament. As long as shots keep falling and the intensity remains high, the Irish should be able to escape an upset.

The Sweet 16 is probable. The Elite Eight is possible.

And if Notre Dame gets hot … well, who knows.

PREDICTION: Notre Dame loses to Kentucky in the Elite Eight.

Brian Hartnett

Senior Sports Writer

This season, Notre Dame has reached heights not previously achieved by a Mike Brey-coached team.

Still, postseason play has long been Notre Dame’s kryptonite. There remains reason to doubt Notre Dame will even make it to the second weekend.

Despite the history, the Irish will make regional play. This team is too balanced for other teams to shut them down by keying in on one player, and its offensive efficiency and improving defense make it a tough matchup for many teams. Not included among those teams, however, is Kentucky, which possesses a combination of talent and height that is simply too much for Notre Dame.

PREDICTION: Notre Dame loses to Kentucky in the Elite Eight.

Zach Klonsinski

Sports Editor

What a difference a year makes.

After wallowing in mediocrity last season, this year’s squad suddenly finds itself as the school’s first-ever conference tournament champion and riding a huge wave of confidence heading into its tournament opener today.

The current version of the Irish should be too good to be ousted early. I think we’ll know in the first few minutes how far this team can go: if Notre Dame puts Northeastern away early, this team has Elite Eight or Final Four potential. If the Irish struggle, their stay will be short lived.

I like the team’s confidence, but I want to see how that manifests itself now that there may be some more pressure. If it shoots well, this team can beat anyone in the country. If.

PREDICTION: Notre Dame loses to Wichita State in the Sweet 16.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

About Manuel De Jesus

Manuel De Jesus is a junior from Chicago, Illinois. He is an American Studies major with a minor in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. He is currently covering ND Volleyball, Men's Soccer and Men's Basketball.

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About Mike Monaco

Senior Sports Writer Mike Monaco is a senior majoring in Film, Television and Theatre with a minor in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy as well as Business Economics. The O’Neill Hall native hails from the Boston area and is an aspiring play-by-play broadcaster.

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About Brian Hartnett

Brian Hartnett is a senior marketing major and journalism, ethics and democracy minor. The Carroll Hall resident hails from Clark, New Jersey and covers Notre Dame football, as well as other University topics.

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About Zach Klonsinski

A History graduate, Zach spent all four of his years on campus as a resident of Knott Hall. Hailing from Belgrade, Montana, he covered a wide variety of sports in his time at Notre Dame, including Football, Hockey, Men's Basketball, Men's Soccer, Women's Tennis, Fencing, Rowing, Women's Lacrosse and other events around campus. You can contact him in his post-graduation travels and job search at [email protected]

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