Noie: Pondering past, present, future questions of Notre Dame men's basketball

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

Rarely does a college basketball season just end cleanly and concisely. There are questions. Always. Sometimes, a lot depending on how a team fared the previous six months and through the all-important postseason.

Following are (more than) a handful of lingering queries about the Notre Dame men’s basketball program, which finished 21-15 this season while battling injuries and ineffectiveness.

What if senior power forward Bonzie Colson doesn’t crack that bone in his left foot during the Dec. 29 practice?

What if Colson's recovery time was six weeks instead of eight?

What if the foot breaks again?

What if point guard Matt Farrell doesn’t push to come back quickly from a severely sprained left ankle that cost him two additional games (both losses) in late January after missing three?

What if Colson and Farrell both were healthy for conference contests (and losses) at Duke and at North Carolina?

What if the clean look from 3 doesn’t fall at the horn for Ball State guard Taylor Persens?

What if Austin Torres makes one of his two free throws with one second remaining in regulation of a tie game with Indiana?

What if the Irish figured out a way to make an eight-point lead with 2:01 remaining stand up against the Hoosiers?

What if the Irish players had decided to turn down the National Invitation Tournament?

What if somebody at Notre Dame starts to really wonder whether the annual Crossroads Classic is worth it?

What if Martinas Geben doesn’t make both free throws with 3.3 seconds remaining in regulation and Notre Dame down by one to Wichita State?

What if Notre Dame wins at then-No. 1 Virginia to close the regular season?

What if Notre Dame doesn’t rocket to No. 5 in the national polls in early December?

What if former Indiana guard James Blackmon Jr., chooses Door No. 2 and attends Notre Dame as a graduate transfer instead of chasing his NBA dream?

What if a graduate transfer shows serious interest in Notre Dame this offseason?

What if Notre Dame wasn’t handed the marquee matchup with Michigan State in the Big Ten/ACC challenge?

What if the stand-alone practice facility opened last summer instead of next?

What if former Notre Dame swingman Matt Ryan was a little more patient with the process?

What if this team could have connected on better than 44.3 percent of its field goal attempts? Better than 35.8 percent from 3?

What if prized freshman D.J. Harvey doesn’t have his left knee lock up while grabbing that defensive rebound against Louisville?

What if T.J. Gibbs’ floater/follow flip shot falls against North Carolina?

What if that players-only meeting in the PNC Arena locker room following an 18-point loss to North Carolina State on Feb. 3 doesn’t lead to five wins over the final eight games?

What if Mike Brey wasn’t the self-described loosest coach in America?

What if Rhode Island beats Davidson for the Atlantic 10 championship on Selection Sunday afternoon?

What if assistant coach Ryan Humphrey tutored Colson and Geben for all four of their seasons?

What if the August foreign tour of the Bahamas doesn’t produce the necessary/needed results?

What if Harvey doesn’t try to push past lingering knee pain that eventually led to microfracture surgery?

What if that surgery/rehab robs Harvey of his potential?

What if associate head coach Rod Balanis decides this offseason to chase the dream of being a head coach?

What if Pittsburgh was one of four league repeat opponents?

What if power forward Elijah Burns believes that his basketball future is best served as a graduate transfer elsewhere?

What if Burns stays and becomes next season’s career-year version of Geben?

What if sophomore guard Nikola Djogo carried over a sliver of the shot-making ability he showed in practice?

What if Farrell’s ridiculous, late-clock, end-of-game 3 doesn’t fall at Wake Forest?

What if Notre Dame isn’t handed the “A” league schedule by the Atlantic Coast Conference?

What if Notre Dame doesn’t lose six home games?

What if Notre Dame didn’t play so many games (seven of the first 11) away from home to start the season?

What if guard Rex Pflueger didn't suffer injuries to just about everywhere?

What if Notre Dame doesn’t erase that 21-point deficit with 15 minutes to play in the ACC tournament second-round game against Virginia Tech?

What if assistant coach/former Irish guard Ryan Ayers is the best 3-point shooter on the roster next season?

What if the Irish don’t play three Saturday-Monday swings in ACC play?

What if Brey filled the one remaining scholarship last fall with another wing player instead of awarding it to former walk-on Matt Gregory?

What if one of the incoming freshmen — Robby Carmody, Dane Goodwin or Nate Laszewski — had been on this year’s team?

What if the Notre Dame charter flight doesn’t sit on an airport runway for hours after the Feb. 17 win at Boston College trying to get home for the game less than 48 hours later against Miami?

What if Gibbs figures out a way to play against size?

What if the second round NIT game against Penn State is officiated differently?

What if Notre Dame doesn’t get six of its eight league wins against the bottom five teams in the final standings?

What if Geben didn’t make good on his promise to have such a solid senior season that he would leave with no regrets?

What if sophomore power forward John Mooney connected on those three free throws at North Carolina?

What if reconstructive right knee surgery rehab limits incoming freshman guard Prentiss Hubb next season?

What if Farrell and/or Geben would have taken the five-year plan?

What if LaLumiere junior power forward Isaiah Stewart isn’t a lock for Notre Dame?

What if Notre Dame hadn’t started seven different lineups during a nine-game ACC stretch that included seven losses?

What if Colson would have played a full senior season?

What if Connecticut transfer Juwan Durham doesn't have an instant power forward impact?

What if Brey decides that he’s done when the 10-year extension he signed in 2012 runs out after the 2021-22 season?

What if that three-year run of success (2015-17) is the best it gets for this program?

What if ...

tnoie@ndinsider.com

(574) 235-6153

Twitter: @tnoieNDI

Following an injury-filled 21-15 season, what's next for Rex Pflueger and the Notre Dame men's basketball team? (Tribune photo/MICHAEL CATERINA)