Chat Transcript: The past, the present and the future of Notre Dame hoops

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ND Insider

Following is the transcript of the latest (Feb. 20, 2020) Notre Dame men's basketball chat:

Tom Noie: Welcome to the February edition of the Notre Dame hoops chat. Only five regular-season games remain for the Irish (16-10; 7-8 ACC). There's still some work to be done for Notre Dame to get into NCAA tournament range, but at least this year there's hope. To join today's discussion, be sure to include your name and hometown. And with that, you know the drill...let's light this chat candle!

Nathan - Las Vegas: Hey Tom, man what a rollercoaster of a season. The team clearly has talent, but the depth is rhe biggest issue in my humble opinion. I was hoping you could touch on some recruiting/transfer stuff. Any 2020 names out there to keep track of? Ive heard Devin Carter’s name, and now it looks like they are definitely in on William Jeffress (2021 top 50 kid reclassying). Anything you can share on those guys + others? Any names you hearing about in the transfer portal? Thanks!

Tom Noie: Nathan: Have heard Devin Carter's name, have not heard William Jeffress from Erie, Pa. He's listed as a power forward, but the Irish already have two power forwards coming in summer with Eljiah Taylor and Matt Zona. They're still open to adding just about anybody for next season - rising senior, traditional transfer, grad transfer. There's plenty of space on the roster, which means they're going to add someone. Little early on the transfer portal. Notre Dame is monitoring that, but that's an area they don't do a deep dive into until after the season.

Ed Zagorski, Dallas, Tx: Given what has happened to this point of the year, it has been an inconsistent season with some coching challenges, some players who have underperformed at times, and the continuation of a really short bench with only eight scholarship players. The elephant in the room is a highly respected coach with recent success. Is it time for a new voice or for Mike Brey to do a Kelly-like program reset?

Tom Noie: Ed: Fair question to ponder, but probably one that will be the focus once this season plays out. How does it all end? Do the Irish run the table the rest of the regular season and win a game or two in Greensboro? Do they lose one of next week's two league road games against Boston College or Wake Forest? I get people want/expect/hope for change, but it's odd to project what might happen when this season's still going. At the very least, something does need to change, whether it's philosophy, staff, roster additions, IF and that might be a pretty big if, Mike Brey decides he's still got the juice for season No. 21 at Notre Dame.

Mike Stacey: After a long stretch of games within a short time period, how will coach Brey balance giving the guys some rest and keeping them sharp for their next game?

Tom Noie: Mike: Four games in nine days, including three on the road, took a toll. Mike Brey admitted late Monday after the home win over North Carolina that his team was exhausted. They looked like it. The Irish likely took all of Tuesday and Wednesday off. They'll be back at practice Thursday for three days of prep for Miami (Fla.). That starts another challenging stretch of three games in seven days - two of them away from home. Welcome to February in the ACC!

Richard Hertz: What are the academ criteria that Brey‘s recruits must meet that almost every other Major D1 program doesnt have,like UNC, which prevents him from sigining that big time recruit?

Tom Noie: Richard: Student-athletes at Notre Dame are treated as students first and second and often third. Want to attend Notre Dame? Play a sport? You're going to have to follow the academic road map like any other freshman. No breaks. Of the Top 100 basketball prospects every year, there might be 10 who have the grades to get into Notre Dame. Of those 10, you might be lucky if you can get four or five who actually are interested in being a student-athlete. It doesn't compare to a lot of the teams in the ACC, including Duke. And Carolina. And Louisville. You want to go to Notre Dame means you want the true college experience. There's no hiding in the classroom there. It's hard, and something too few kids really want to do.

Mark Kruz from Mishawaka: Tom is there any rhyme or reason to Prentiss Hubb's madness on why he plays so well in the 2nd half of games compared to the 1st half?? Could it be that he plays much better with a sense of urgency when they are behind? Seems like in the 1st half of games ND plays thru Mooney and Durham to get them going to play inside out.

Tom Noie: Mark: No rhyme or reason to the first-second half swings or the home-road swings. Seems like when the game gets tight, or on the road, something switches on for Prentiss. He carried them through one stretch Monday when they were down 15. Like, it's time to go. You want to think that he's deferring to the seniors early, letting Gibbs and Mooney and Pflueger set the tone, but Hubb's not wired like that. He's the kind of kid where confidence isn't an issue. The Irish need that swagger early - maybe they don't lose by 34 at Duke if he's got it. Then again, maybe they do, but at least he doesn't give off the vibe that he's coasting early.

ND Fan: Following the 2016 4-8 football season, Brian Kelly re-evaluated everything about the program and made several adjustments to lead to 3 straight 10+ win seasons. What's the likelihood that Swarbrick makes Brey do a similar re-evaluation this offseason about his coaching, recruiting, assistant coaches, etc?

Tom Noie: Here's the thing with that thinking - I don't know if Jack Swarbrick has to say anything to Mike Brey. I think Brey knows that something has to change in the offseason, as mentioned earlier, whether that's staff or the addition of more potential contributors or just a better focus to get it all back on track. Any conversation Swarbrick might have with Brey won't be a surprise to the head coach. The tone likely would be along the lines of, yep, 100 percent correct. We have to be better. Here's how....

Lee from Lancaster, SC: Prentiss Hubb is one of those unique players whose play on the court keeps both teams in the game. At times he dazzles you with a great pass, a nifty move, or a spectacular 3 point shot and then later makes a silly turnover or takes several ill-advised shots. However, I think he will be one of the best guards in the ACC his senior year. Do you agree?

Tom Noie: Lee: Totally. He still has his moments, but what he was able to do last year - after missing his entire senior year of high school with a knee injury - was pretty much forgotten in the disaster of 3-15. He was really solid, and has been at times this year. He just has to understand that the edge that he plays with can't fade in and out. It has to be a 40-minute focus. He's not afraid to fail, and that's big.

Lee from Lancaster, SC: Please help me understand the challenges in recruiting for ND that makes it nearly impossible for Mike Brey to sign a 5 star player for the men's team but yet allows Muffet McGraw to sign a 5 star player for her team practically every year. Is it simply the men have the one and done option and there are less players that are a fit for ND both academically and culturally?

Tom Noie: Lee: Apples to oranges. Yes, the men and women play the same game, but they may as well be totally different sports. There is no one-and-done in the women's game. There aren't many looking for the fastest route to professional basketball. They're true student-athletes and there are more of them who fit Notre Dame from an academic standpoint on the women's side than the men's. It's not even close.

Collin Elkhart, IN: Typically Brey likes two ballhandlers on the court. Looking at next year, is Goodwin capable of that or will ND target a grad transfer to help Hubb?

Tom Noie: Collin: Don't forget about Stanford transfer Cormac Ryan, who's sitting out this season. He'll be the secondary handler next season. As soon as T.J. Gibbs graduates, Ryan will step into his starting spot and be a main guy for his final three seasons. He can handle. He can shoot it. He can score. He can lead. You'll like him. A lot.

P. - St. Paul, MN: Hi! Why does Juwan Durham get pullled so quickly? He seems to have a skill set no one else on the team has. And he's been scoring when he's in, which is more than half the starting lineup does. I see I big role for him next year, if he stays.

Tom Noie: P: Juwan Durham's just the odd man out, through no fault of his own. It's the way Mike Brey wants to play, and really, the way Notre Dame should've played all year. Durham's had his moments - career high 21 points against Duke - but Brey believes Notre Dame is at its best with a lineup that features only one big man (Mooney). It better spaces the floor. It gives guys more room to move and cut and pass and shoot and score. Two bigs clutters everything up. Durham will have his chance to be the lone big next season.

Collin Elkhart, IN: Why didnt we redshirt Mooney as a freshamn?

Tom Noie: Collin: It's easy to say and see that now, just as it was when we wondered why Martinas Geben didn't redshirt as a freshman when he was playing his best basketball as a senior. Nobody saw that coming from Geben (when he should'

Tom Noie: ....when he should've been team most valuable player as a senior) just as nobody saw John Mooney developing into JOHN MOONEY this season. Who knew he had this in him? Remember, when the Irish went to the Bahamas at the start of last season, he struggled so much that it was hard for Mike Brey to play him. Then the switch was flipped. Going on the five-year plan is a two-way street - the player has to agree to it. Not saying there was a time when Mooney said, yeah, that's not for me, but some guys consider college a four-year thing. After four years, they're ready to do something else.

Rob from Philly: This team has a chance to do something sepcial. Win out and somehow be on the buddle. Theres also a chance they lose to Miami. Odds are it falls in the middle. What or who will put this team over the edge?

Tom Noie: Rob: At the very least, this team should win its final three home games....that includes Florida State. Notre Dame's 0 for its last 20 against ranked teams. That's ridiculous. That's a streak that has to end. We already know what John Mooney's going to do, so the rest of the way kind of falls at the feet of the sophomore class. Next year's their time, but why not get a headstart on next year now?

Mark: Has Brey lost trust in Dane up until last 2 weeks he has always been in game last 5 minutes Last 2 weeks not playing as much

Tom Noie: mark: Defense remains an issue with him. He's had his moments offensively. When he's not hitting shots, it's hard for Mike Brey to find time for him.

Rob from Philly: Has the team actually improved throughout the year or has the schedule softenned? Both is not a viable answer. :)

Tom Noie: Rob: No Door No. 3? lol....I'll go the schedule route. Yeah, Notre Dame's been able to hang with Louisville and Florida State and Virginia....that's great. But they still can't BEAT those teams. Notre Dame has seven league wins, and none have been against teams with winning league records.

William from Toronto: how many scholarship players will there be next year? Are djogo and durham coming back for 5th years and are there any potential commits still in play? I think Farrell was a February-add back in 2014

Tom Noie: William: Notre Dame will have nine players on scholarship - Prentiss Hubb, Cormac Ryan, Nate Laszewski, Robby Carmody, Dane Goodwin, Nik Djogo, Juwan Durham and incoming freshmen Elijah Taylor and Matt Zona...that leaves as many as four spots still to fill (and at least three SHOULD be filled for depth/rotation concerns). How the staff goes about filling those will be interesting. Maybe one rising senior, one traditional transfer and one grad transfer if it's a really good fit. And Matt Farrell committed to Notre Dame on the eve of its first-ever ACC tournament game in 2014. Think this staff wouldn't mind finding another Farrell? You bet...

Brian from Bloomington, IL: Hi Tom! My s and I were debating a rule with Mooney grabbing all these rebounds. When a player shoots an air ball and the defender catches it, does he get a steal or a rebound on the stat sheet? Also, what are the chances of the Irish picking up another high school recruit or two this spring?

Tom Noie: Brian: It's a rebound if it's a shot. It's a steal if it's a lob at the rim for someone else. Don't know if the Irish will land two more high school recruits....that's going a little too young for Mike Brey's liking. I'd rather see them roll the dice with a grad transfer, or even two. It's the way of the college basketball world...why not live in it?

Brian from Bloomington, IL: Looking forward to the ACC tournament, will Georgia Tech be allowed to participate, or will there be only 14 teams? If GT is out, will there only be two games on Tuesday?

Tom Noie: Brian: The ACC released the tournament schedule and school seating chart this week. Georgia Tech is listed on the seating chart and there are three games scheduled for Tuesday - 2, 4:30 and 7. Think Georgia Tech is ineligible for postseason. When that issue involved Louisville and Syracuse a couple years back, both those teams voluntarily withdrew from the ACC tournament.

Greg from Pittsburgh: Hi Tom, do you think us going 20-13 - assumes we go 3-2 to finish league and then go 1-1 in the ACC - gets us on the bubble for the NCAA tournament?

Tom Noie: Greg: Wishful/hopeful thinking, but not even close. Going 3-2 in that scenario means Notre Dame likely loses to Florida State, right? Notre Dame really needs that game, and losing another along the way means it loses to yet another league team with a losing record. That's a crusher right now. Nothing less than running the table in the regular season and winning two will get them into NCAA tournament discussion. Notre Dame's best league win on Feb. 20 is against Syracuse, which has a losing league record. The Irish haven't cashed in on any of their chances...that really backs them into the corner.

Joe from Scottsdale, AZ: Tom - I think barring a miracle, the Irish will be headed for the NIT. It may be too early to ask, but are you worried about any one transferring due to the lack of success? Especially out of the sophomore class.

Tom Noie: Joe: No on the sophomore class. Hubb and Goodwin and Laszewski all will be main guys next year. Carmody

Tom Noie: Carmody remains a blank slate because of the last two seasons of injuries. In some weird way, the NIT might help that core understand what postseason's all about.

joe from the south side: Tom: Jeffress is a slam dunk for Capel and Pitt. He was first on this kid a long time ago. He's more of a wing. D1 body, needs work on offense. Might be a 5 year guy.

Tom Noie: Joe: Yeah, figured when saw his profile. Notre Dame needs more guys that can help next year.

Roger, Indianapolis: Every post game we hear about fatigue. Tom, I understand Mike can only play 7 guys, that gives us the best chance to win. But enough of the fatigue thing. We play two games in three days and its like the guys ran two Chicago Marathons. What is the point of going to the NCAA Tournament when you HAVE to play 2 games in 3 days? The constant excuses are frustrating.

Tom Noie: Roger: Normally I'd agree with you on the fatigue thing, but last week was the exception. The travel was taxing for them....three games on the road, getting back late from Virginia, then going back out to play at Duke, then turning around and playing at home against North Carolina. Four games in nine days took a toll. Now you get this week to rest and recover. Sometimes, when something's a fact - four games in nine days - people take that as an excuse. It's's just....the way it is. Last year was draining....the season's draining. It's almost March, and everyone is tired. NCAA? Play two games in three days fueled by adrenaline. Two tournament games in March compared to two regular-season games in January or February? No comparison.

Phil (Chicago): By all accounts, Rex is a great teammate and works his tail off, but at some point don't you have to look at other options? Yes, he usually plays good defense, but he is such an offensive liability for a team that struggles to score at times. Are you ok with his current role or, like me, do you think he should serve in more of a 6th/7th man role?

Tom Noie: Phil: Yes....I'd rather he be on the floor at the end of the game to make the type of play he made the other night grabbing the offensive rebound and kicking out to Laszewski than handling and shooting at the start. I'd like to see Laszewski get going early. Or Goodwin. But knowing how Mike Brey feels about having Pflueger on the floor, that's probably not going to happen.

Bill: Brey does seem burnt out, but isn't there a certain sentiment that since he's gone through the growing pains with the sophomore class, he might as well hang on to reap the hopeful rewards?

Tom Noie: Bill: Anytime a coach or a player or even a member of the media looks to "hang on" it's probably time to go find something else to do. At some point, when that fire goes out, it's hard to get it back.

Eric (South Bend): What am I missing with SportsBeat and other local media talking about Notre Dame and the bubble? Notre Dame is so far from the bubble they need binoculars to see it. Don't you agree? They have beat no one. Even if they win out in the regular season, I think they would need a crazy ACC tournament run, which I don't see happening.

Tom Noie: Eric: Yeah, not seeing the "b" word even with the binoculars. Just look at the resume. When your best league win is against a Syracuse team that has a losing league record, it's pretty thin. I wrote before the Carolina game that at the very least, Notre Dame needs to win out its final six (now five) regular-season games, then re-evaluate for Greensboro. It gives everyone to talk about on a slow Notre Dame football news day, but it's wasted energy. For now.

Bill: What would be the best player comparison for Cormac Ryan?

Tom Noie: BIll: Think Chris Quinn. Maybe a little Ben Hansbrough. What little we've seen of Ryan, there's a lot to like. Just wait.

Dwight from Central Arkansas: I know Mike Brey gets a lot of knocks from Irish fans for a rough season. After ND's win over UNC the other night and considering the year the Tarheels are having I can't imagine what Roy Williams must be hearing. Basketball is probably much bigger on Tobacco Row even than South Bend.

Tom Noie: Dwight: Let's put it in a context that everyone can understand - Carolina going through what it's going through this year is kind of like Notre Dame football going 4-8....unacceptable and open to total overreaction from the fan base.

Bill: With the NCAA handing out transfer waivers to nearly everybody, was there any chance of Cormac Ryan receiving one? If he is playing this year, what does the record look like?

Tom Noie: Bill: Think there was a time when Notre Dame considered asking for one with Ryan, but declined to push it. What's the record? Hard to say because man, that would be one crowded perimeter. You'd have Hubb and Gibbs and Pflueger, then Goodwin AND Ryan? Don't know if there's enough minutes to go around.

Mike from Rochester NY: Tom, how do Rex Pflueger’s shooting stats this year compare to previous years? Rex was never a Jerian Grant but he was always passable-to-solid on the offensive end. Is he still being affected by the knee injury, or is something else going on?

Tom Noie: Mike: Rex Pflueger's season stats - 32.3 percent from the field, 31.71 percent from 3 are career lows. He's never shot better than 39 percent from 3 in his career. He had one year when he was at 44 percent from the field, but that was when he had some semblance of explosion to his game where he could get to the basket. Outside of the occasional post-up/Kobe-like fadeaway, The knee injury has robbed him of his ability to do anything around the basket.

Jordan -South Bend: Tom, Mooney ignited on the scene as a sophomre NOT this year

Tom Noie: Jordan: John Mooney averaged 5.5 points and 3.9 rebounds as a sophomore.

Bill: Players like Geben have had the light go on and excelled in their final year of eligibility. I think we are seeing Durham progress to that point, but is there any chance Djogo can surprise next year? He just seems like a fish out of water every time he is in a game

Tom Noie: Bill: It would be a great story, but he'd have to do something that nobody's really ever done - earn that much trust and confidence and playing time from Mike Brey in one offseason after four years of struggles. Great kid, great attitude, but don't know if it'll happen.

Ray From Mishawaka: Hi Tom, Can you comment on Ryan Humphrey's influence on the "bigs" on the Notre Dame team? I think his hard work is really paying off with the improvement of all the bigs. The players are developing at different rates but all are developing positively.

Tom Noie: Ray: Good call. Something that's gone unnoticed with so much attention paid to the injuries and the losing the last few years. Geben was really good. Mooney's been even better the last two years and given where Durham was when he first arrived, it's remarkable.

Murph, South Bend: Any insight into time spent in practice on defense and its fundamentals? What does that coaching look like from the assistants specifically? Certainly the offense has improved this year and resembles more of a Brey-like team, but the defense continues to be difficult to watch. I understand the overall athleticism isn't there. I understand the "need" to play some zone even though it's arguably the most ineffective zone in the country that's relies on the opposition missing wide open shots. But it's the little things - rare boxing out (besides mooney), hands down on defense, not identifying shooters, over-helping, etc. Not trying to be negative, just genuinely curious about attention to D in practice.

Tom Noie: Murph: Whew, that's a a Notre Dame football-type chat question/comment. A lot to unpack. Hard to really dig deep into what's stressed/coached/taught in practice. Everything happens behind closed doors from us nosy media know-it-alls.

Erik (Granger, In): Thanks for being here! Does Mooney’s game translate to the NBA? I respect and admire everything he does for us, but I don’t see him playing above the rim enough to ball out at the next level, and he doesnt seem to be an accurate enough shooter this year.

Tom Noie: Erik: John Mooney should get an NBA look. That doesn't mean he should reserve the end of June to attend the draft or make plans to be in the green room. But somebody's got to take a chance on him for summer league or preseason camp. He's not above the rim type of pro, but his second jump is something to consider. That and the fact that he's always around at the right time at the right spot.

Jordan -South Bend: Hey Roger, have you tried checking and blocking out Enoch, Carey, Brooks -it will wear you out bro

Tom Noie: Jordan: Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.....can you name the movie where this quote originated? If so, major

Erik (Granger, In): I‘ve enjoyed watching Durham grow this year, especially his back-to-the-basket post game. Hats off to coach Humphrey and JD himself for putting in the work. Q: does he have what it takes to be the lone guy in the 4 around 1 next year? Love those alley oops, too! Haven’t seen that much (ever?) from a Brey team.

Tom Noie: Erik: He better. He becomes option No. 1 and 2 and 3 in the low post next season.

Bill: Will the ACC open the season again with a conference game next year or was that just a one-time deal to promote the new netowrk? Kind of jarring to go back and see that Pitt beat FSU in the opener.

Tom Noie: Bill: Opening the regular season with conference games was something we'd never seen before this season, and something we'll never see again. The coaches hated, hated, hated it. It was done simply for television. And yeah, how the heck does Pittsburgh beat Florida State????

Erik (Granger, In): It was painful to watch Gibbs slump so bad against UVA and Duke. Happy to see him back to form at the end of the UNC game. Was he pressing, or did the D’s take him away? You could see the surprise in his body language when the easy ones weren’t falling for him. I think we’ll miss him next year despite his ups and downs.

Tom Noie: Erik: I'm sure this will be taken as a slight on Gibbs in some form or fashion, but when you're the leading active scorer in the ACC, as Gibbs is, you should never struggle that much against Virginia or Duke. The defense trying to take you away? Find a way through that. And as well as he's shot it from distance this year, he really struggles to finish at the rim. Anything other than a long jumper's probably not going in.

Erik (Granger, IN): Sportsbeat reported that the reason we didn't push the ball more against UVA was to save our legs. Do you buy that? Given that "you can't design a play to get an easy bucket against that defense" (M. Brey), don't you think they should have tried to steal a few without letting the D get set up? I guess they tried that against Duke and it didn't work either. BTW, I hope they handed out umbrellas before the Duke game, because it was absolutely RAINING in the second half. I've never seen such discrepancy between the house we were building on one end of the court and the swishfest at the other.

Tom Noie: Erik: I asked Mike Brey about that last week, thinking the reason was playing a second road game in three days with the quick turnaround from the Clemson game. His response to why they slowed tempo against Virginia was as follows - "It's really hard to speed a team up. It's much easier to play slow when you really set your mind into grinding. We knew we were going to walk things up and be efficient in our halfcourt sets." Understood, and if a few more of those 3s fell, it would've been a moot point. And did that Duke game even happen? Wiped that one clean from the memory. Oooof!

Bill: As of today, what would you put the odds of Brey being the coach next year?

Tom Noie: Bill: I'd put it at 50-50. The one question Mike Brey will have to ask himself whenever this season ends, and regardless of how it ends, is does he have the energy and the juice and the drive to do what's needed to do to not only survive but thrive in the ACC? Can this program get back to where it was in 2015-16 or was that as good as it gets? It doesn't matter who's coming back or who's coming in. Does the guy at the top have it in him to coach and lead and teach at this point in his life or is ready to write another chapter?

Murph, South Bend: Let's assume Brey calls it quits after this year (purely hypothetical) - is Inglesby seasoned enough to assume that role? Outside of Martin, what are a few names you think could potentially be a good fit here?

Tom Noie: Murph: Honestly, don't know. And don't care to speculate. There might be time for that down the road. But here's the thing - nobody knows who's ready for this job or who'd be interested in this job. Throwing a name or two or three out there is silly. For now.

Murph, South Bend: Which All-ACC team does Mooney find himself on at seasons end?

Tom Noie: Murph: First team lock.

Eric (South Bend): I'll throw a name out there for Murph - none other then Martin Ingelsby!

Tom Noie: Eric: Too easy....maybe too early.

Smitty, Tempe: Tom - this year has been uneven at best and pretty rough overall. But with Gibbs and Mooney leaving, are we in for an even more difficult season next year?

Tom Noie: Smitty: Maybe. If the sophomores elevate their collective games next season, if Cormac Ryan is as good as expected, if the freshmen can offer something and the Irish hit it big in upgrading the roster in the offseason, they might not be that far off.

Mark Oliver: Hi Tom, Just jumping in so I'm not sure if this has been asked, but looking ahead to next year I'm just wondering what the latest is with Robby Carmody's rehab process and also wondering the latest on whether Durham or Djogo may be back. Still hoping to get to at least 11-9 if not 12-8 this year and maybe win a game or two in tourney. Thanks.

Tom Noie: Mark: Better late than never my man! lol....Robby Carmody is progressing after ACL surgery. Durham and Djogo have not given any indication that they're not expected back for their fifth years. Any hope at the NCAA tournament starts with a 12-8 finish.

joe from the south side: Tom: You go to Hurley and Wojo. Tell them "only one of you can get Duke when Coach K goes". See who blinks. Perfect fits.

Tom Noie: Joe: So after Notre Dame goes the former Duke assistant route, its best choice is to go the former Duke player route?

Richard Hertz: How the hell was Mooney not on the Nais Top 25???

Tom Noie: Richard: Utter stupidity to start with. I still couldn't believe when I got the email from the Wooden people (I have a season-ending vote) and there was no Mooney, John listed. But there are numerous examples of how Notre Dame basketball kind of falls into the abyss on a national/regional/conference scale. Like Jahlil Okafor getting ACC player of the year over Jerian Grant in 2015. Like guys from Oakland (Mich.) and Toledo and Kent State getting more All-District votes than Pat Connaughton. A lot of people seem to forget about Notre Dame when it comes to hoops. Like, oh, yeah, the school in the Midwest that plays in the ACC. Happens more than it should.

joe from the south side: Worked for 20 years with Brey. Who works 20 years at the same job these days? Besides, the PAC 12 is not a BBL conference, so Hurley will leave in a heartbeat. Big East is a lot better, but MARQ is a stepping stone job.

Tom Noie: Joe: Uh.....sure that's not your Notre Dame bias showing just a sliver there? Marquette's a stepping stone job? How many stepping-stone job schools play in a state of the art NBA arena? Have won a national title? Gone to the Final Four? The only big sport on its campus? It's not the elite of the elite, but it's still a really good job. Some would argue it's a better job than Notre Dame. And it still has the best pre-game media meal around...that's gotta count for something! lol

Rodney DeRoo: Tom: I've been a Mike Brey fan since he became the Irish coach. But I am struggling with why he chooses sometimes not to have a full complement of scholarship players on his team. It definitely hurts when we have in season transfers and injuries. I was wondering if you can give a reason why this is. Since so many teams in the NCAA keep a full number on their rosters every year. Is our recruiting that tough?

Tom Noie: Rodney: Yes it is that tough to get the right kind of prospects into school, but it's also personal preference. The more guys Mike Brey keeps on scholarship (the NCAA allows a maximum of 13) the more guys you have worried about their roles, about their minutes, about their spots. The more headaches it causes. Mike Brey operates from the less is more model - have maybe 11 or 12....never 13. That allows him to give his full attention to a core group. It worked fine in 2015 and 2016, right? When injuries and unexpected transfers hit, it's another story.

Tom from Charloittesville: Do we have a problem in our S&C program for MBB? Rex, Temple, even Mooney (who is obviously incredible) just do not seem to be physically stronger than they were upon arrival to the campus as 18 year olds, and we constantly look overmatched physically (boys v. men, as Brey often says).

Tom Noie: Tom: They might look overamtched, but the trick is, they can't play like they're overmatched. Brey's used the boys vs. men analogy only once this year - after Maryland. Looks, as they say, can be deceiving.

Jake: So atm the depth next year doesnt seem like it will have a lot of experience at PF/C as there will only be zona and taylor. Any grad transfers they might be targetting to Change that?

Tom Noie: Jake: Too early to tell. There are a few names, but none that you can bring to campus and really drill down on to see how they might fit until the season ends. That's a spring thing.

joe from the south side: Tom: Ask Buzz what he thought of MARQ as a career job. Tom Crean. Any school in the Big East will always be #2 as long as Jay is at NOVA.

Tom Noie: Joe: How did that work out for Crean at his stepping stone? And Buzz Williams had issues with the administration, and him with them. Would you rather be No. 2 in the Big East or No. 8 in the ACC? Hmmmm....

Joey from Highland, IN: Do you foresee any transferring happening? Djogo or Durham maybe being grad transfers elsewhere. I dont think Brey is going anywhere.

Tom Noie: Joey: Shortest answer of the day - no.

Mark Kruz from Mishawaka: Tom does Prentiss Hubb have a chance to win the ACC's most improved award? Right now the POY in the ACC has to go to Vernon Carey of Duke. 2 weeks ago I would have said Jordan Nwora of Louisville but has taken games off where he has disappeared. Since today is Thursday the best thing about watching Pac 12 basketball is listening to Bill Walton!! Absolutely luv him doing the broadcasts because you never know what is g

Tom Noie: Mark: Unlikely...he's too inconsistent. Shore that up and it's a different conversation. And Bill Walton....Conference of Champions! What a day to be alive! lol

Justin from Fort Wayne IN: Assuming the sophmores hit their expecatations for next year and ND can find a gem in the grad trasfer portal and Cormac Ryan is what he expect him to be. Any way ND can find its way to a top 4 team in the ACC next year or are my dreams and expectations to high?

Tom Noie: Justin: Too high. Figure Duke and Louisville and Florida State are still going to be Duke and Louisville and Florida State. Then you have Virginia. North Carolina's not finishing in last place again. But there's no reason why Notre Dame shouldn't be in the 6-7-8 range .... only with a WINNING league record. Irish are what, seventh right now, but at 7-8, seventh place gets you a one-way ticket to the NIT.

Ryan From Grand Rapids: Hey Tom, thanks for the chat. Jsut curious how u feel about notre dame pushing the fastbreak a little bit. The end of the north carolina game those guys were flying around on offense. Tough with a 7 man rotation

Tom Noie: Ryan: They should push tempo. The Irish play with a 20-second shot clock in practice to play faster. They were able to get out and get some easy looks in transition.

Tom from Charlottesville: Adding on to that question/positive comment re: development of the bigs, who is working with the guards and should they not be accountable? Gibbs has regressed (although I obviously respect his efforts) since his freshman and sophomore years, and Rex certainly did not improve...even before his injury. I think we miss Ingelsby as much as any assortment of players (other than JG/Pat).

Tom Noie: Tom: Fair point. If T.J. Gibbs isn't scoring from deep, or mid-range, he can't score. Hubb has some holes in his point guard game. Player development isn't the same as it was a couple years ago.

joe from the south side: Tom: If I respect myself as a young up and coming coach, I'd want to play against the best. That's why Hurley and Wojo went to Duke. Prove yourself at the highest level. Same thing as coaches. The ACC being down this year is a hiccup. Over time, there is no better basketball league. As crummy as BC or G TECH jobs might be, they can still attract a big time coach. Pastner was as hot as hell when he left Memphis for Atlanta.

Tom Noie: Joe: We went from Marquette being a stepping-stone job to .... Josh Pastner????? I'm lost.

Murph, South Bend: I just don't see wojo going from marquette to for this year and beyond, Nate is still the x-factor. I'm excited to see how he finishes the year. His shots will start consistently falling at some point, I believe that. In the meantime, I like how he's attacking the hoop. This team is one key transfer away from potentially having something real fun next year.

Tom Noie: Murph: Preach! Notre Dame may have been one more piece/player away this year from beating Syracuse and Boston College and Louisville and Florida State and Virignia and Duke.....OK, not Duke...but imagine if there was one more option in those other games.....are the Irish at 7-8?

Erik (Granger, IN): Great chat, thanks! Is there any traction nationally about ditching the one-and-done rule and allowing high schoolers to once again join the NBA directly? Carey in the low post on Saturday just wasn't even fair. His drop step was a thing of beauty though. As much as I want to erase that game from memory for ND's sake, it's a fascinating study of teams on opposite ends of the spectrum right now from an athlete, talent, and coaching standpoint.

Tom Noie: Erik: One and done is going away. Soon. That may make it even harder for Notre Dame to get guys. Now, instead of Duke targeting one-and-dones, it's going to look longer at prospects like Nate Laszewski, who chose Notre Dame over North Carolina.

Justin from Fort Wayne IN: If ND finishes the year at 12-8, do you think they will be sitting at the 5th or 6th seed going into the ACC tourney

Tom Noie: Justin: Hard to say....North Carolina State is currently in fifth at one game up in the win column (and two overall with the tiebreaker). Just get to 12-8 and see where that gets them.

Tom from Charloittesville: Sorry, a clarification follow-up: do you think Rex and Temple (and John) look like they have been in a Div 1 strength and conditioning program for three or four years already? They have rec-ball arms compared to most of our opponents in the ACC. And, again, I love these guys, I am just wondering about the strength program they are supported by...

Tom Noie: Tom: John Mooney.....rec ball all-star arms? Not seeing it

Judy from Etters, PA: Interesting season and love the guys! Answer to your trivia question on quote about dragging Lanier on the court: Airplane!!!

Tom Noie: Judy: WINNER!!! Solid name is Roger Murdoch....I'm the

Richard Hertz: Where would you rank Mooney in the Brey Era for Big Men? Top 5 for sure, maybe #1!!!

Tom Noie: Richard: Been out in the cold too long? The sun? John Mooney best big man in the Mike Brey era? Troy Murphy, Luke Harangody, Bonzie Colson, Ryan Humphrey raise their hands....

Justin from Fort Wayne IN: Do you truly honestly believe this team can make a name for themselves in the ACC tourney? Get a first round bye, then win game 1, and then win 1 or 2 more?

Tom Noie: Justin: Do they have to make a name for themselves? Everyone knows their name...and their game. Can't say for certain they're going to do this and this and this in the ACC tournament until we see the bracket. This is what I believe about this team - it has to win each of its last five games. Then we'll reevaluate.

Dave, DC: Is there any indication that Juwan Durham is planning to return for a 5th year? Given the roster's current construction, this would appear to be a crucial decision.

Tom Noie: Dave: There's no indication that he WON'T return.

Joe from the South Side: Tom: Wondering if you or others feel the same. In NOV, if you would have said 11-9 and a first round bye in the ACC tourney, you'd have taken that deal in a second. Especially after the last two years. But let's say that happens. I still feel kind of "Meh" it's nice but......I don't feel any buzz (no pun intended), or bounce out of this group. Is it the team? Brey? The fans? You ink stained wretches? lol

Tom Noie: Joe: Come on,'s all OUR fault. Don't you know that.....Seriously, I think it's the fact that Notre Dame is nowhere near the NCAA tournament that there's no buzz. But the fact that this program has a chance to go 11-9 or 12-8 is nothing short of staggering given the fact they went 3-15 last year. OK, so 12-8 may not get them into the field of 68, but to quadruple your league win total from the previous year? That fact can't be forgotten if Selection Sunday isn't an option.

Bill: What does your gut say ND's record in the final 5 games will be?

Tom Noie: Bill: I'd go with 4-1....they have the ability to beat everyone remaining on the schedule, but also could lose to any of the five teams.

Murph, South Bend: Agree with Tom - ND must win out first and should snag the 5 seed with UVA the 4. Will need to beat 12/13 seed and then UVA to even be in the real conversations...and then hope Louisville is the 1 seed and not Duke. All of those games are very winnable. Will they pull it off? Unlikely, but this team fights. Lets see what happens.

Tom Noie: Murph: However it unfolds, sure it will be interesting.

Ed: Irish still get No respect . The ACC IS STILL run by duke and Nc . The Refs give Them no respect and the Worse of all is the omitting of Mooney off Wooden list . If he was on duke or Nc , he’d be first team all american

Tom Noie: Ed: John Mooney not being on the midseason Wooden Watch list has nothing to do with the ACC. It has a lot to do with Notre Dame and a lack of national identity.

Murph, South Bend: If only ND hung on against Kentucky in 2015...they win that game and the championship is theirs, no one can ever convince me otherwise. Then maybe nd hoops finally has national respect, but probably not. mooney would still get screwed

Tom Noie: Murph: True....I said it that night we left Quicken Loans Arena, back when it was Quicken Loans Arena, that Notre Dame wins the national championship if it beats Kentucky. There was just a sense being around that team in Greensboro and then in the NCAA tournament that they were riding a wave to somewhere special. It was magic.

Erik (Granger, IN): Has Rolfs Hall had any measurable impact yet on recruiting (e.g. guys signing with ND and touting the quality of their facilities)? Also, it seems like ever since it opened the team hasn't shot the ball as well as we used to. Any logical connection there, such as sight lines in practice not translating to the arenas for some reason?

Tom Noie: Erik: Not really. It's nice and new and has a lot of bells and whistles, but not hearing that guys are choosing Notre Dame solely for that reason. And you're right...I've asked Mike Brey about the disconnect between shooting in Rolfs and Purcell the old "overanalyze" line. They've been better shooting it at home the last four games. But they did get into the arena for an extra day of practice prior to the Syracuse home loss. So it's something the staff has pondered as well.

Mark Kruz from Mishawaka: Tom have you had the chance to see ND recruit JR Konieczny play in person this season and who would you compare his game to?

Tom Noie: Mark: Not yet....on the agenda for next week....keep in mind he's only a junior, so there's more for him to develop before he gets to campus

Jim (Dayton): Tom, any rumors of old Big East teams coming back on the schedule in the next few years?

Tom Noie: Jim: Notre Dame and Georgetown are supposed to start a two-year series (home and home) next season. After that, Marquette rotates on for a two-year series (home and home). Maybe after that Villanova, but we'll have to see where both programs are then in terms of the head coach. Also possible to add another Big East non-league game when the Crossroads Classic dissolves (and not a year too soon).

Wadelite: It's a shame there was not more depth on this team this season because they have been effective in desperation times at full court pressing. Assuming they have at least 10 healthy eligible players next season could they do it more or is that wishful thinking that Brey will come up with a different excuse to rely on a mediocre defensive team and hope the other team misses shots.

Tom Noie: Wadelite: Wishful thinking....this program's never going to press and trap and make it difficult for the other team. It's more a token press to slow the other team down and get them out of rhythm. I'll take my chances with a mediocre defensive team IF you can routinely score 75 a night. Not a lot of teams can get to 75, 80 with ease. But when the offense is that sporadic, it magnifies the defensive holes even more.

Tom Noie: That will do it for today....thanks again for the questions and comments. Solid effort. We'll be back around toward the end of the season, maybe the final week or pre-ACC tournament.