Chat Transcript: Does this Notre Dame hoops team have what it takes to turn it around?

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

Tom Noie: And.....we've almost made it through another week. In the middle of a global pandemic, that's a win, when the program you cover has yet to shut down because of 'rona issues, even though the Irish are playing basically once a week with all the other teams being placed on pause. Notre Dame's in the middle of another seven-day layoff between games before it returns to action Sunday in sunny South Florida. To join today's chat, be sure to include your name and hometown. With that, off we go. Let's light this January chat candle!

Tom Noie: Before we get rolling, some housekeeping details - I'll roll through the first hour of questions/comments but will need to break away for a Zoom conference call on how Gannett (which owns the Tribune) plans to cover the NCAA Tournament. Notre Dame may not be headed for March Madness, but since the entire tourney's in Indianapolis (two hours and change down US 31), it's all-hoops-hands-on-deck. I'll be reporting/writing/watching all the games at Hinkle Fieldhouse. So if you log in around 11 and see little movement on my end, don't worry. I'll be back as soon as possible after the meeting ends.

Dave from Washington, DC: The seamlessness and efficiency with which the Irish offense operated from 2014-2017 (and really 2001-2012) obviously hasn’t been there the last few years. I thought it would show up this year, with the junior class having gained experience. But it hasn’t, notwithstanding playing a porous BC defense the other day. What’s the deal? Where’s the culture of passing and shooting I’ve gotten used to the last two decades of Irish hoops?

Tom Noie: Dave: Good call. I've wondered much of the same when it comes to the Irish offense. The team's defensive liabilities will continue to be their defensive liabilities, and that's been manageable as long as they were really good and efficient and tied together as one on offense. When that went, well, we've seen the results. It's something that I can't explain. This junior class has been together now for three years. They should be further along that what we've seen. Part of the problem - only part, but not all - can be explained by not having any real practice time together (spring, summer, early fall) to really cement that cohesiveness. It's not something that can happen in games - there's so much else going on that it's hard to zero in on offensive efficiency. Those previous Irish teams were good because they were able to move and think and operate as one - that came from hours on the practice floor together, where they just figured it all out. Like with everything else this season, that's done on the fly.

Trevor: Always enjoy reading your stuff sir. Appreciate the coverage you give this club and was wondering if you had any advice for somebody wanting to get into journalism? For my ND question. It’s been a let down of a season in terms of record but if you could give what you believe to be the bright spot and most disappointing so far.

Tom Noie: Trevor: Jump in with both feet and write about anything. If basketball is your favorite sport, do a little basketball, but cover all others. Go do golf. Soccer. Football. Get out of your comfort zone. Doing so will get you comfortable with writing anything and everything. I've done everything from the NCAA tournament with the Tribune to the state fair back when I was just out of high school trying to earn my way back in Wilmington, Ohio. Go into journalism because you love to write. If you don't, it's going to feel like an actual job. If you do, man, it can take you on the best ride ever.

Tom Noie: And now, your hoops question - bright spots and disappointments. One bright spot I touched on at the start of the chat would be that we're at Jan. 21 and Notre Dame has yet to pause its hoops program because of a positive coronavirus from within. That's a win right now given what we're seeing around the ACC and around the country. Of course, the Irish would've liked to have won a few more non-league games (Ohio State, Purdue come to mind) and have been better than 1-5 in the league, but this year, just playing is sort of a win. From a player standpoint, Nate Laszewski has been the brightest of spots. I thought we'd see this type of year from him last year. He's leading the team in scoring (16.7) and rebounding (7.7) and shooting ridiculous numbers from the field (.641) and from 3 (.553). He's been beyond expectations. Most disappointing is no one's really followed that lead. Too many guys are OK for one game, not OK for two or three. The lack of consistency and confidence has been troubling.

Tom Noie: This team wasn't expected to be among the ACC's elite, but there was no reason why it couldn't at least look like a team that could win 11, 12, 13 league games. There's still time to turn it around, but they've got to get going. Like, now

Matt from MA: Tom, hello again. Congrats to the Irish on beating the mighty BC Eagles for their first conference win of the year!!! They "stole" one here didn't they Tom? Really encouraged and something we can build off back to back beatdowns in Virginia. Those aren't direct quotes, just from memory of Brey's usual lines. Let me say two things: 1) thanks for continuing the coverage even when they stink. 2) I just really don't like this team or the whole "atmosphere." They are playing in a pandemic, I understand, but that hasn't prevented teams like Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech or Clemson from playing good ball and seizing the opportunity. The expectation around ND hoops shouldn't be "we stole one" from a terrible team, the expectation should be top half of the league every year, maybe top 3 every four-ish years. The last three years: 1-5, 10-10, 3-15. None of those teams were competitive against non BC teams. The 10-10 included 0 quality wins and a BC and Wake forest loss. Clearly, Tom, Coach's Irish aren't "stealing" enough!

Tom Noie: Matt: Good to hear from you. And I agree. Notre Dame isn't going to be the elite of the ACC consistently with North Carolina, Duke, Virginia and Louisville around, but there's no reason why it can't be a consistent top half of the league program. Every single season. I get what you're saying about "stealing one" but Boston College was anything but. Notre Dame led for nearly 37 minutes and scored its most points in a league game to date. It was a long time coming and good to see. The proverbial something to build on, but only if you go and win at Miami. If not, then another missed opportunity for a program that has to stop missing.

Guest: Tom, what does the program need to get itself back on track? Is it time for Brey to move on!? Does he need new assistants?

Tom Noie: Guest: If someone at Notre Dame was asking me (and trust me, they're not) I'd start by filling out the roster. It's hard to see the potential in this team when you walk in while the teams are warming up and the other guys seem to outnumber Notre Dame like 2-to-1. You look at Notre Dame and wonder, wait, where are the rest of the guys? Is that really it? It might be a little different if they had Robby Carmody and Elijah Taylor available instead of injured, but at the least, it should have at least 11 guys on scholarship and healthy. That gives you options and it also gives guys a little motivation. Mike Brey's the ultimate confidence giver, but looking over your shoulder at someone who might steal your minutes if you don't deliver isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Tom Noie: From a staff standpoint, Notre Dame needs someone who's really going to get into guys. Be the bad cop to too many good ones on the staff. That used to be Anthony Solomon, who knew how to reach guys when the doors were closed. I don't know if this program has that right now. The staff's got good guys on it, but maybe too good. Brey's the kind of coach who believes motivation also must come from within, but this is a group that at times could use a push....or a kick to the backside. I mean that in the best of ways.

Steve: What is the future for Brey?

Tom Noie: Steve: Mike Brey's current contract runs through the 2024-25 season. He's offered no indication that he won't serve out the remaining years - and has also hinted that he might want to coach beyond 2024-25. Maybe that's here. Maybe that's elsewhere. But I'd be surprised - OK, even shocked - if he's not back for 2021-22. I thought he'd seriously consider calling it a career after the 3-15 season, then again last year when they still couldn't figure it out. But the pandemic did the opposite for Mike Brey as it did for Muffet McGraw. The Hall of Fame coach saw a glimpse of life without coaching and liked it. So she walked away. Brey saw his life without coaching and decided, nope, not ready for that yet.

joe from the south side: Tom: I am ready for action....My perspective on the Irish. Three flaws. Maybe two can be corrected. First, you wrote a piece on lack of toughness. I agree. I believe this manifests itself on the glass where they are one of the poorest rebounding teams I've seen despite playing basically two 7 footers. Rebounding is all heart, or lack of it. My favorite of all time was Westley Unseld. Listed at 6'7", Wes admitted he was really 6'4". Averaged, AVERAGED...14/RPG for a career! Agree with your call. The desire is not there.

Tom Noie: Joe: The chat's official. My man has spoken. No, Notre Dame isn't the tallest team or most physical team or most imposing when they run out for warmups (again, you look and say, where's the rest of them), but that's no excuse to not put a body on someone and go get a rebound or a loose ball as if your next meal depended on it. Play a game like its noon-time pickup and you're going to go 1-5 in the league. Notre Dame closed the doors last week and got after one another in workouts. Then the Boston College game happened. Let's see it happen a few more times. Desire? Toughness? Want-to? Anyone?

Tyler: Tom, at what point does Mr. Swarbrick and Father Jenkins say “enough is enough?” They don’t have to be on Brey’s clock. They don’t necessarily owe that to him. They owe it to their university to put a winning product on the floor- no matter the circumstances. Thanks!

Tom Noie: Tyler: Certainly not in the middle of a pandemic. Notre Dame will feel the fall-out of what the college football season was - or really, wasn't - for years to come. The school lost a whole lot of millions of millions of dollars with no fans in the stands or on campus. It's going to have an impact on the athletic budget. So now, or next month or the next certainly isn't the time to jettison a coach with four years left on his deal and his staff and start over by shelling out more millions for a new coach and a new direction. Not saying that I agree with that thinking - especially since Notre Dame has more money than it knows what to do with - but just saying I think I know how that place operates. Starting over isn't yet an option.

joe from the south side: Tom: Point #2...Athleticism. I watched the UVA game intently. It was apparent that maybe Hubb could watch Clark. Any switch to Goodwin or Ryan was a gross mismatch. You could almost sense Clark's body language when he saw the switch. I am surprised one of those guys didn't sprain an ankle trying to guard him. Other than JD (and that is only seen in spurts) and Hubb, the other three starters are below average athletes by ACC standards.

Tom Noie: Joe: Yep. It's OK to have a Cormac Ryan and a Dane Goodwin in the main mix, but you better have your share of Pat Connaughtons or Luke Harangodys or Bonzie Colsons. Heck, even a V.J. Beachem or a Steve Vasturia would help balance out the lack of ACC-level quickness right now. Other teams have it too easy, which again goes back to defending and rebounding and doing the tough stuff. It's hard, but go do it anyway.

Joe from Middletown,CT: Tom - appreciate these chats and love your reporting. I don't get why Brey isn't under fire. I have been a supporter for awhile but this program is still living off those 2014-2017 years. Everytime we get a recruit or a transfer, Brey compares them to one of those guys. Its time to move on. This team has very little talent. The big junior class haul has been a farce. They haven't developed. They are headed for another wasted year with no NCAA tourney. When will Brey either be let go or step down? We need to stop resting on the laurels of those teams that went to back to back elite 8's.

Tom Noie: Joe: Good stuff, but here's the thing. I don't get any sense from anyone around the program that they're sitting back in the comfy conference room of Rolfs Hall and saying, yeah, we're struggling now, but wasn't it great in 2015 and 2016? That door's been closed for a while now. It was locked when Rex Pflueger (the last link to an Elite Eight team) left at the end of last season. I don't know if I would term this a wasted year. It's been a year like none other. if this were a normal year, Notre Dame would've scheduled a whoooooollllllleeee lot differently than it did. More gimmie home games to get some wins and some confidence. No Michigan State. No Kentucky. Maybe they still lose those early ACC games to Duke and Virginia, but figure out a way to win at Virginia Tech and North Carolina. Not saying they'd get those games, but this whole season has been beyond bizarre. It's a daily scramble - can ND play? Can the opponent play? Who else can play? Winning and losing is just not as high a priority. For anyone.

Guest: Morning, Tom. Has no real bearing on anything currently. As Coach expressed in his post game comments Saturday, they're getting pretty good at picking up these out of conference games last minute with cancelations. With the confidence he seemingly said it on Saturday I was surprised nothing popped up this week. More curious than anything.. Was any game even close to fruition that you know of?

Tom Noie: Guest: It wasn't for a lack of effort. Notre Dame knew late Friday of last week that the Howard game wasn't going to go. The ACC had originally slotted a makeup league game at home against Georgia Tech into that Monday slot, only to have Georgia Tech push back and say, yeah, we'd rather not play given it was coming off a 17-day pause and had league games Wednesday (Clemson) and Saturday (Virginia) this week. So that game was scrapped. Notre Dame also tried to get a non-conference game to fill the week. It didn't work out for myriad reasons. This is by far the craziest season of the 23 I've covered Notre Dame. Up is down and down is up and in is out. Left is right. There are times when you literally have no idea what the next day will bring. I can't imagine what it's like inside the Notre Dame basketball offices. Or any Division I program.

joe from the south side: Tom: Last point and why they are struggling. No identity. We are 10-12 games into the season and I can't tell you what Brey is trying to do offensively, mainly because he does not know either. First it was Hubb and Goodwin. Then they hit a wall. Then you saw something from Wertz. That was short lived. Then they tried to go big because Laz and JD came up big against UVA. Now Ryan doesn't start. All in all, Brey is searching for answers. What is bitterly disappointing is that the ACC is upside down this year. How good, or bad, is Duke? Clemson? Does anyone fear Brownell? Pitt hung 64 points on Syracuse. IN A HALF! With this many JRs, I have to say this is the biggest disappointment. It was there for the taking.

Tom Noie: Joe: Amen. Clemson got so much run nationally of late, getting as high as No. 12 in the polls then losing its next two league games by a combined 56 points. Whaaaaa???? Outside of Virginia, I don't know if there are really any elite teams in the league. Virginia Tech's pretty good too. But the rest? Throw them all in a hat and anyone could be really good one night and really awful the next. For the Irish, it's an identity crisis and a leadership void. Who's the Alpha dog of this group? The Tory Jackson? The Bonzie Colson? The Pat Connaughton? Too often it feels like five guys just running around there, which is why it was so refreshing to see the Boston College effort. More connected. Now carry that over. And over. And over.

Tyler: Tom, on another note- do you see any roster change next season (with a free eligibility year) other than the expected departures & arrivals? Can you see a Laszewski or a Goodwin consider something different for their college futures? My logic behind it is they both have professional futures (outside of America) so maybe they want an opportunity to compete nationally on a bigger stage (bigger than the lowly ACC Monday night beatdowns) instead of just predictable non-conference wins & BC twice. Thanks!

Tom Noie: Tyler: The offseason promises to be like none we've ever seen, especially if the NCAA allows the one-time transfer without the sit-out season. Talk about the Wild West. It will be Thunderdome. Everything goes up for grabs. In a normal year, there are usually over 700 Division I transfers. And the majority of those guys not seeking a sneaky waiver to play immediately have to sit out. Imagine what happens next if all are immediately eligible. I can't see a Goodwin (longtime Notre Dame fan) or a Laszewski leaving, but then again, who really knows? It's going to be an offseason where something's going to happen for EVERY program. Would be weird if nothing happened in terms of the Irish. Buckle up. It's going to get really wild. And maybe weird.

Andrew from Plymouth, IN: Can you explain the strategy of offering PWO's when scholarships are still available to use? It's happened twice now with Morgan and just the other day with Wade. There are scholarships available to offer but these kids are being told they'll be PWO's and choose to take this offer over other D1 offers they might have. Are they being told they'll be able to earn a scholarship? I also don't understand it from a recruiting perspective, if there are scholarships available to offer then why are we looking at PWO's instead of guys the staff would consider good enough to get a scholarship?

Tom Noie: Andrew: i wouldn't read too much into it, other than Alex Wade likely was accepted into Notre Dame as a regular student and had a line of communication open with the basketball staff that in case he decided he wanted to attend Notre Dame, would they be interested in him joining the program as a walk-on. So they say, sure, we'd like to join. Then Wade tweets that out. Mike Brey said recently that he spent way more time than usual recruiting the last six weeks. That meant making sure he landed Yale graduate transfer Paul Atkinson, not filling out the back end of the practice roster with a preferred walk-on. As for using scholarships, I believe there is one left. You have, have, have to hold that one to see what happens come spring. Grad transfer? Immediately eligible ACC-level rotation player? Every option needs to be available. And explored.

joe from the south side: Tom: Injury updates. Anything going on with Carmody? What was the worry about JD's back?

Tom Noie: Joe: The back stuff with Juwan Durham kind of came up out of nowhere. Nobody knew about it until Brey mentioned it in the post-game. There's media availability on Friday, and I'll remember to ask Brey about it. As for Robby Carmody, Brey offered an update a few weeks ago saying that Robby Carmody was expected to be back at practice toward the end of January, but that's as far as that was going to go. The train's too far out of the station for him to still jump aboard. Practice the rest of the season (and stay healthy) and continue to stay healthy and make a serious run at a rotation spot in 2021-22.

Joey from Highland, IN: I’m most curious to see it Durham can build on the BC game. I mean, I doubt it, but one can hope.

Tom Noie: Joey: not just Durham, but everybody. Can they move it the way they did? Take care of it? Flow better offensively? Yeah, getting more of Durham than a game here or there is big, but getting more out of this core than 40 minutes against Boston College is bigger.

joe from the south side: Tom: Unless he quits, which I doubt, Brey isn't going anywhere. ND does not care about hoops, men's or women's. They care about FB. Brey does the 3 things necessary to keep his job...1. Runs a clean program, 2. Runs a clean program, 3. Wins enough games to keep most folks satisfied.

Tom Noie: Joe: Most folks satisfied? How about a few folks? Don't know anyone who's satisfied with the last three years. It all changed that night in Breslin Center in 2017 when Bonzie Colson felt a weird pain in his foot. It's been one headache after another. That has to eventually end, doesn't it?

Joey from Highland, IN: i know I’ve asked you, but, why not get a game this week before Miami?

Tom Noie: Joey: Not from a lack of trying. Mentioned it earlier in the chat that a game against Georgia Tech fell through when GT balked at a saturated schedule. A non-league home game against a school from the Horizon League was a 60-40 possibility as of this time Wednesday, but that also dissolved. It's not from a lack of trying. The Irish wanted to play and knew they needed to play. Turns out there really was no one that wanted to play. So another seven-day break it was. Ugh

Tom Noie: Still have a bunch of questions in the queue to get to, and will, but have to break now for a Zoom meeting about the NCAA tournament. Keep the questions and comments coming. Will be back ASAP this morning.

Tom Noie: Hold tight everyone...back as soon as possible....keep those questions coming!

Tom Noie: And.......we're back.....thanks for the patience. Conference call, done. Hoops questions....leggo!

joe from the south side: Tom: What's especially troubling is Earl Timberlake (DeMatha and NBA), Hunter Dickinson (same), Isiah Stewart (LaLu and NBA)etc, etc, etc........Does anybody put Brey under the spotlight and say How? How could you miss all of these guys. I am not knocking Zona and Taylor, but recruiting is starting to look like Joey Brooks and Mike Broghammer.

Tom Noie: Joe: If you're Earl Timberlake, and regardless of your DeMatha connections, where are you going to school? South Bend or South Beach? And I can tell you that Brey thought he had Hunter Dickinson. And then he didn't. Recruiting to Notre Dame is a lot harder than people may believe. I go back to the usual line - it takes a special/different kind of kid to want Notre Dame. There are more of them in football. Not enough of them for basketball.

Steve: Do you have confidence with current recruiting climate? Next years class, going forward etc

Tom Noie: Steve: Too early to tell. I would if I saw someone who could step in right away and be a difference maker. Step in and be, I hate to say it, but Hunter Dickinson. J.R. Konieczny and Blake Wesley MIGHT eventually become really good college players but both are going to need time. It's great that Notre Dame got Paul Atkinson, but making the jump from the Ivy League to the ACC is an adjustment. How long does that transition take?

Joey Goodspeed: how badly did Brian Kelly hurt your feelings as local press?

Tom Noie: Joey: You know this is a basketball chat, right? But I'll go down that football road. You're referring to Brian kelly's salty remarks about the local press following the "Rose Bowl" right? Brian Kelly may be a lot of things as the head football coach at Notre Dame, but media consultant isn't one of them. I was waaaaaaay more disappointed than hurt by Kelly's comments. It's not our job - it's not the job of ANY media member to congratulate coaches on doing their jobs. Or for having successful seasons. That's a really slippery slope to get into. Yeah, the South Bend media benefits from Notre Dame being successful. More people want to read about Notre Dame in the South Bend Tribune and Notre Dame Insider. But we can't be openly rooting for the Irish to win, or be publicly praising them when they do. In essence , Brian Kelly wants us to thank him for doing his job. Not happening.

Walter from Indy: Re: lack of offensive efficiency and playing beautiful brey ball of yesteryear....I've said it before and I'll say it again...this junior class was thrown in as freshmen and didn't have the benefit of learning brey ball by SEEING it with their own eyes. For the most part, all of brey's teams have been old, players have grown with familiarity and understanding. This team, dominated by the juniors, never had that luxury and it has crippled the offense. They drive head down and almost never kick out. They rarely play inside out or make the intuitive cut. Lock them in a room and force them to watch the 2015 team on repeat for hours upon hours.

Tom Noie: Walter: Good stuff. Not only do they have to lock themselves in Rolfs Hall to watch that 2015 team and how they shared it - everyone gets a touch as the ball goes around the perimeter before the Vasturia corner 3 against North Carolina - but they also need to lock themselves in Rolfs and just run dummy offense for five hours. Not having that time to do that in spring and the summer and the early fall really matters. It might not make a huge difference, but it would make enough of a difference that those close ACC games go the Irish way.

Morgan: Hello Tom. My question is about recruiting. Does Brey get subpar recruits compared to other ACC teams and how much does NDs admissions standards have to do with that? It does seem that ND has less athletic talent and size compared to others (and if the top 100 rankings are valid)? He’s often over performed preseason projections for 20 years. There hasn’t been one potential one and done recruit and seems even in great years he’s playing vs superior talent especially vs Duke, UNC and others. Brey gets a lot of heat from fans despite having an incredible career.

Tom Noie: Morgan: One and dones aren't going to Notre Dame. Like, ever. Brey doesn't want to waste the time recruiting against the elite of the elite to try and get them (that trial balloon popped a couple years ago) and the university doesn't want it. As I mentioned, it takes a different kind of kid to want both the academic and athletic experience that Notre Dame offers. From that standpoint, the pool from which Notre Dame can choose from is closer to Boston College and Wake Forest than Duke and Carolina. I've asked the following question when it comes to recruiting for years, and never, ever, ever receive an answer - if you're a four star prospect with a pick of schools and believe (as they all do) that you're going to the NBA....why would you choose Notre Dame? The answer: you wouldn't.

JT Abilene, TX: What has happened to the drive and kick part of this offense that worked so well in 2015? Is there someone on the roster that can do that? I thought it may be Wertz but everyone seems content to just pass around the 3 point line until taking a contested shot.

Tom Noie: JT: It's personnel, it's players, it's the confidence to go and do it. It's everything. The pass around the perimeter stuff isn't taking this team anywhere. It makes them too hard to guard unless they're hitting shots. And they've too often not been able to hit shots. I'd love to see practice (we don't) to see if they drive it more than in games.

Tim from Chicago: Hi Tom, thanks for keeping us up to date on the season. My challenge is that I just don't find this team fun to watch. With past teams I would go out of my way to watch their games live, or at least dvr them and watch them later. Watching this team's games feels more like a chore. I'm sure it is a combination of their record, of the disappointing junior class, covid cancellations, etc. What can Irish fans look forward to in the second half of the season? I know we aren't making the tournament, but any good storylines to keep an eye on?

Tom Noie: Tim: Good to hear from you. You should try it from my end. I've sat down waaaaay too many times the last few years and started to write a gamer or a column and stopped and asked myself, haven't I written this before? Multiple times? There's just not enough fresh, new story angles that keep people interested. When's the last time you watched a Notre Dame game - and a win - and walked away thinking, man, haven't seen THAT before. Maybe Saturday is something this team can carry forward. It's been way too much of one step forward, then two back. Eventually, that has to swing the other direction, right?

Morgan: Forgot to include my hometown - Washington DC. 2nd Question. I think Hubb is a big problem. Bad shooter, erratic, turnovers, bad defense and not a typical Brey PG. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t transfer. From your inside view is any of that correct or is he a great fit for ND?

Tom Noie: Morgan: I'm a big Prentiss Hubb guy, in that he at least TRIES to give this team some sort of swagger. At least, he did his first two years. This season, he's just been kind of out there. I'm starting to think that the whole, Prentiss Hubb is our Patrick Mahomes deal that Brey tossed out last year was his way of trying to get Hubb to believe that he could be that kind of guy for this team. He just may not have it.

joe from the south side: Tom: Most folks who Brey answers to in Indiana. It's only fools and junkies like us who feel a Sweet 16 run every four years or so is minimally acceptable.

Tom Noie: Joe: There's nothing wrong with a Sweet 16 run every four years. To have that, though, you've got to have everything break in your favor. yeah, you've got to win games, but you've got to get lucky along the way. Your guys have to grow up and get better. Oh, and you've got to stay healthy along the way. Any of those ingredients don't occur, neither will a Sweet 16.

Walter from Indy: will Jaden Ivey be the biggest miss of Brey's nd career? Was Ivey set on leaving south bend, as Niele (at the time) was gone in Memphis? Can you remind me what happened there

Tom Noie: Walter: Whooooaaaaaaa....let's wait and see where Jaden Ivey goes from here. He's a good kid who's struggled with his shot, who then hit a big one in a big moment. But Isaiah Stewart was a first-round NBA draft pick. Hunter Dickinson looks like a first-round NBA draft pick. Luka Garza chose Iowa over Notre Dame. Brey, as the story goes, wanted Ivey but opined that it might be best if Ivey went elsewhere for his own good. Get out of the Saint Joseph County bubble. I can see that. Watch a Purdue game. How often is Niele Ivey mentioned? Every single time Ivey does anything. Now ramp up that interest five-fold if he went to Notre Dame. Oh, and Matt Painter was the first to offer a scholarship to Ivey as a freshman. That mattered as well.

Tim from Chicago: Tom, you've just returned from 2025 in your time machine, please share who is the ND men's basketball coach? And has ND made it back to the sweet 16 yet?

Tom Noie: Tim: Ha! No idea. OK, maybe some idea, but I'll go with nobody with any direct ties from Notre Dame is being hired as the new coach by the new athletic director. Maybe an up-and-coming young assistant coach. And maybe one Sweet 16.

Guest: Dennis from Southern CaliforniaHi Tom. Is there a chance that Brey will retire after this season? IMO if he stays another year it will hurt our program.

Tom Noie: Dennis: If it meant getting some of that SoCal weather, he'd be there in a heartbeat. So would I. But no, Mike Brey has given no indication that he'd leave after this season. He stuck it out the previous two. Why choose to leave after a pandemic-influenced season?

Sean, Greensboro, NC: Tom, thanks for the heads up on the chats. If there was an award for covering a basketball team during a pandemic, you would win it hands down.When you get down this way again, BBQ is on me. I gather from your insights that we are stuck with Brey as long as he wants to stay. I have been in sales and marketing my whole life-you cannot sell a program that has stunk the last four years, without making changes. I am as loyal as anyone, but why would I buy a ticket to see this team next year. or as long as Brey is coach? Seems to me he needs to shake things up like Kelly did with football. Thanks for letting me vent. Stay safe.

Tom Noie: Sean: Vent anytime. And I'll be sure to take you up on the BBQ if it's ever again safe to travel. Some brisket, some beans, maybe sausage. I'm in. And now I'm hungry too. But back to your question, it's a hard sell to want to watch this team. It's stuck in the proverbial basketball Twilight Zone. That's why a win Sunday would be a big deal. Something we haven't seen out of these guys.

Tom from Garu: My bigest frustration this season is consistency, except for Nate. Goodwin, Durham, Hubb, Wentz. They might score 20 points one game, hen the either the big donut or aing

Tom Noie: Tom: Preach! The only consistency about this group is its inconsistency. Maybe the Boston College win was a different step. Maybe it's going to be different. Maybe.....

Mark Kruz from Mishawaka: Tom IF ND just had a half way decent season they could have possibly been in the mix for a tourney bid with the ACC being so down this season as a whole. Do you see more At Large bids going to Power 5 teams since most mid majors only played teams within their conference? BTW its gonna be quite race to see who wins NIC MVP between JR and Blake Wesley. Stay safe

Tom Noie: Mark: I don't have a clue how the NCAA selection committee will go about picking the tournament field. Do Power Five teams that played fewer games than a "mid-major" deserve more consideration? Do mid-majors? How do you quantify fair and balanced? How do you ding a mind-major for not playing a Power Five school when the pandemic necessitated otherwise? Ugh. As for NIC MVP, it's gotta be a co-MVP doesn't it? Take J.R. Konieczny and Blake Wesley off their respective teams, and neither is all THAT good. Both are needed every single night.

Dwight from Arkansas: This is more venting than question. I can't speak to the men's program but I was disappointed in the ND ladies kneeling for the national anthem. I don't think I'm alone in that. I saw even a local high school team, the whole squad kneeling. O.K. Vent over, thanks.

Tom Noie: Dwight: Understood, but I think they'd be disappointed that you're disappointed. They kneeled for something they believe in. Last time I checked, we can do that in this country. Thankfully. Not saying you're wrong and they're right or they're wrong and you're right. We as a people can differ in our beliefs. It's OK.

Tom from Gary: I think this is more a therapy session for me than a chat (just joking}.The team this season reminds me more of life, Something is always breaking down. Late-game meltdowns, lack of timely rebounding, players scoring double digits one game then barely making the stat sheet the next. But you see glimpses of hope. Nate is lauded on most broadcasts as ACC Most Improved Player candidate. JD for his blocked shots.

Tom Noie: Tom: Nate Laszewski SHOULD be most improved player in the ACC, but we've been around that league long enough to know that if someone from a team in the Triangle or an original member school, that guy's probably going to get it. All goes back to 2015 when Jahlil Okafor was player of the year when Jerian Grant really was. But I digress. And pull up a couch and lie down for some hoops therapy here anytime. It's all good

Dennis, Southern California: Tom. What's the worst and most heartbreaking defeat that ND hoops has ever had? IMO it happened on March 19, 1981 when BYU knocked Notre Dame out of the tournament. Notre Dame had a double digit lead with less than 15 minutes left and Digger decided to kill the clock which resulted in Notre Dame turning the ball over ample times. There was no shot clock back then and you would think that Digger would have learned his lesson about killing clock since he did the same thing in the Sweet 16 game against North Carolina in 1977. The worst part about the BYU defeat is we were never the same program again. From 1973-1981 Notre Dame was consistently in the top 10 and had a realistic chance of making the Final Four most of the time. Today our goal is to be one of 68 teams that make the tournament. Next 5 most heartbreaking defeats (all tournament games) 74-Michigan, 78- Duke, 2015-Kentucky, 77-North Carolina, 76-Michigan.

Tom Noie: Dennis: Won't disagree with that Brigham Young loss. Notre Dame had it. Like, HAD it. I call Digger Phelps every year on the anniversary of the win over UCLA. Wouldn't think of calling him on the date of the BYU

joe from the south side: Tom: So I will play devil's advocate. Wesley is a 4 star prospect. He CLEARLY thinks he is NBA material, as in one and done. His words, not mine. And yet, he's coming. How in God's name can Dave Leitao get a top 25 class and Brey can't? What is DePaul offering? National exposure? A pipeline to the NBA? Facilities? What told me all I need to know about Brey is a while ago he said he was only recruiting Indiana and staying close to the campus. Something like that. That's where the lack of desire comes in. It starts at the top.

Tom Noie: Joe: Let's see where DePaul is in a few years. And it might be a little easier to get kids into school there for a school that has only hoops than at Notre Dame. Brey may have said last year he was recruiting only Indiana with the two local kids. Don't think that was a blanket statement for future classes. Thus, the Paul Atkinson commitment. Everyone figured a Miami kid was going to go to Miami. He then picks Notre Dame.

Morgan: Tom - thanks for the two answers. If ND can only get BC or Wake talent why would anyone seriously criticize Brey when his program had been far superior to either and stable for 20 years? And what if Brey got UNC talent - wouldn’t he win 25+ games a year? Finally, yes I’m a big Mike Brey fan...

Tom Noie: Morgan: Because it's easier to scream and yell and shout about what Notre Dame MIGHT be than what it really is. Makes everyone feel like someone else is doing something wrong instead of looking at it big picture, like, really big picture, and saying, yeah, Mike Brey has his faults as a coach, but take a moment and drink in what he's done here over the long haul. In the Big East. In the ACC. Would anyone - would everyone - have taken that in 1999 when it was time for John MacLeod to leave? In 2000 when Matt Doherty left for Carolina? There's a reason he left for Carolina. It was North Carolina. That was, and still is, Notre Dame.

P. Rose: You said a month ago that Durham has no innate feel for the game. Do you still believe that? DIdn't he miss a year of high school play and a year of college play due to injuries? Could he just be a late developer?

Tom Noie: P: Nothing's really happened to indicate otherwise, has it? Juwan played well against Boston College. Now do it again and again and again and then we'll talk. Late developer? He's 15 games away from finishing his fifth year in college. Can't get any later for him, can it?

Tim from Chicago: Tom, not a question that needs answering, but just want to thank you for covering the team and sharing your insights with the fans on twitter, in the SBT, in these chats, etc. We are all here because we love the team and your unbiased coverage brings us together, despite how frustrating the play and coaching and recruiting may be at times. Keep up the great work, you are the best.

Tom Noie: Tim: Always my man! Glad to do it. You get the reward for post of the day....Portillo's on me next time you're in town. lol

joe from the south side: Tom: Hypothetical. Let's say you are John Brian Swarbrick, Jr. You can't fire Brey because he fits the bill of how you want the school to be represented, ggod guy, likeable, proven winner etc......Yet, you know this program needs something to jump start it. What would you do?

Tom Noie: Joe: Easy. Retire. Seriously. He shouldn't be the one to hire the new basketball coach. Or football coach. He won't be around long enough. When people talk about programs needing fresh voices, the AD's office should be included. Not knocking Swarbrick, but he'd be the first to admit that he's closer to the end of the job than the beginning.

Walter from Indy: brey has obviously missed on more talented recruits! given the circumstances and Ivey's background and proximity to the know what I meant Thomas! Moving on...not saying you have a crystal ball or would recommend hiring Chris Quinn, but are there reasons he would get a look for replacing brey? What do you know about him from his playing days and now as an NBA assistant coach that could lend to his success.

Tom Noie: Walter: Chris Quinn believes he's an NBA coach. He had a chance to fill the vacant staff spot that went to Ryan Humphrey. He had to figure then that he might be groomed as Brey's successor. He chose to stay in the NBA. It's a hard call, but maybe the right one. He's with an organization that's top-notch from top to bottom. He's loyal to Erik Spoelstra, maybe to a fault. Spo's not going anywhere anytime soon. What that means for CQ? Don't know.

Walter from Indy: Prediction: this team still has a run in them this year. I'm as down on them as anyone, BUT if they beat Miami sunday then I'm expecting a strong final kick over the remaining 6 weeks. What say you?

Tom Noie: Walter: Sign me up for that. Please. Like, today. I'll take it. Worst possible scenario would be a no-show in Miami. Then it's just more of the same. Rinse. Repeat. Rinse. Repeat.

Joey from South Bend: No disrespect to the local recruits coming in, they can ball... but can an ACC program really only get talent from its own backyard in SOUTH BEND, IN of all places. Was this a matter of a lack of effort from Brey in other places, or was this just how the dominoes fell in terms of recruiting. Considering the amount of 1-man and 0-man classes... I’m betting on the first rather than the latter

Tom Noie: Joey: Maybe a little of both. Maybe it also was Brey figuring it would buy him some local good will if he took two local kids. And if it turned out they could play, even better. But a lot of it - or, maybe, the little of it - was Brey putting so much (too much0 stock in that junior class just dominating the roles and the rotation and the playing time that it would be best to grab the two local guys and hope they hit.

Joe from Middletown,CT: Tom - you've mentioned plenty of times about the kid that has to choose ND is different than other programs. I do get that to an extent but doesn't someone in the AD have to say,"hey we are in the ACC, we need ATHLETES to compete!". ND goes into every game with a disadvantage in just physical athleticism. Its hard to win when you have to be perfect and scheme people open, etc. The recruiting is why this team isn't good. Nothing else. I don't doubt that if you gave Brey good players, he could get to a Final 4. Until he has that again, he is going to be in the bottom half of the league going forward.

Tom Noie: Joe: Agreed. Remember all the times Mike Brey would say something's fragile? Winning is fragile. Losing is fragile. Programs are fragile. It's also fragile in that if , if, if Notre Dame doesn't hit all the right notes at the right time, it's fragile that the program is more like Boston College and Wake Forest than North Carolina and Duke. Nobody wants to admit that, but there's a lot of truth to it. No matter the coach.

joe from the south side: Tom: Do you ever think to yourself, "it's the middle of the day (early evening here in Germany) what do all these people do that they can yak for hours and hours about a 4-8 team going nowhere?"

Tom Noie: Joe: The opposite. I think, how can we extend this for another or two. What question will they come with to keep this train rolling down the hoops track. You read everything (hopefully) that I write. The least I can do is turn it around and read how you guys feel. And plus, it's 37 degrees with a few inches of snow on the ground. If it was 70 degrees and sunny, it'd be a chore. Ah, who am I kidding, no it wouldn't. 4-8 or 1-8, it doesn't matter. It's hoops.

Lee from Lancaster, SC: Hi Tom, Did Mike Brey make a mistake by scheduling so many tough non-conference games? Because the team was older, he thought they could handle the challenge. Unfortunately, the team is not as good as he anticipated it would be.

Tom Noie: Lee: Yes he did. Maybe not open against Michigan State where they tumbled into a 28-point hole. Get an easier game there. Don't plan on Tennessee. Get another easier one. The only other one that looked daunting was Kentucky. Keep that one because you got your first ever win at Rupp. But the schedule didn't do this team many favors, because there was really no rhythm to it. Take the ACC opener against Duke. Notre Dame was a no-show. Had to be better than that. Instead of staying home for a few games and getting some confidence, it goes to Indy three days later to play Purdue. A lot about this season hasn't made much sense. The schedule's right there.

joe from the south side: Tom: Atkinson was a FLA kid who chose the Ivy League. You can see where his priorities were and are. If I were a student athlete concerned about getting a proper education/degree, the state of Florida is one of the last places I would look.

Tom Noie: He's more the exception that the rule.

Dennis, Southern California: Here's the problem with Mike Brey teams - Defense. Not once have we been ranked in the top 45 in defense (Pomeroy ratings). There's an old sports saying that defense (baseball-pitching) wins championships. Notre Dame is consistently soft on defense and rebounding. How many times have we seen teams take multiple shots because we can't pull down a rebound. IMO this is the main reason why Brey teams rarely get out of the first weekend when we make the dance.

Tom Noie: Dennis: If only Clark Lea were available. Kyle Hamilton and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah as well. I kid, but I get it.

Lee from Lancaster, SC: With the challenges any ND basketball coach will face trying to recruit elite players, how likely is it that we will ever see another ND team reach the final four?

Tom Noie: Lee: I've seen and done a lot in 23 years on the Notre Dame hoops beat. Big games. Games in Hawaii and Alaska and the Virgin Islands. NCAA tournament games. I've never covered a Final Four. I don't think I ever will.

Caleb from Charlotte: Am I mistaken or is the quality of basketball being played in the ACC not as good this year?

Tom Noie: Caleb: You're so right. I've spent a lot of nights in front of the television thinking, this is some really bad basketball. Look at Clemson just this week. At one point, ranked as high as No. 12 in the country. It loses two league games by a combined 57 points. North Carolina is a mess. So are so many other teams. Maybe it's the pandemic guidelines of no fans but there's no real buzz about ACC basketball without fans in the stands. It just seems like too many games are glorified pickup runs. The quality of play hasn't helped.

Tom from Gary: What is your take on Cormac Ryan's season so far? I have been disappointed.

Tom Noie: Tom: Understandable that he's struggled in the move from the West Coast Conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference, but everything we were led to believe about Cormac Ryan, we've only seen in snippets. His season is a lot like Notre Dame's - occasionally we see something we like, but not enough to carry over into any sort of consistency. He'd be a good fit-in piece to a ranked team. Top of the scouting report guy? Not seeing it yet.

Morgan: Q4: My favorite ND player ever is Pat T. Could you share some stories or something we may not know about Pat that we may not know? I’m now a Bucks fan because of him.

Tom Noie: Morgan: They don't come any better than Pat Connaughton. Too many stories to remember. Like after the 2012 NCAA tournament loss to Xavier were hungry after the game and wound up walking through the drive-thru of the Burger King next to their hotel in downtown Greensboro. Or after the five-overtime game against Louisville when he was a warrior. Sprained his ankle. Played heavy minutes. Wound up doing his post-game interviews while laying across a set of high-table stools in the locker room. Went up to MKE for a Bucks playoff game couple years ago to do features on PC and Bonzie. Pat joked that if the Bucks lost the game, he wouldn't talk to me. The Bucks lost, but afterward, he still gave me 20 minutes. I ever need anything ND hoops-wise from a former player, PC's always among the first calls. Always.

Caleb from Charlotte: Two of the women's teams in the ACC have opted out of the rest of the season. Do you think that we may see one of the men's teams opt out also?

Tom Noie: Caleb: No. It's just what they do. They're basketball players. They get a chance to play basketball. If you could poll the entire Irish team - and even do it anonymously, I think every single one of them would say they're playing. We worry about the health of players and coaches (and even the media) during the pandemic and wonder what happens if someone gets the virus and gets sick. But what about the mental health of players if you tell them they can't play the sport they want to play? What then? No sport, really no being a college student in a traditional sense. That's a pretty bleak alternative. It's hard to do what these guys are doing. Asking them not to play would be harder. By far.

Jake: You said In a response earlier that best case for Carmody is return to practice by late January. Brey said he won’t be returning this season.

Tom Noie: Jake: No,.....what Mike Brey said about Robby Carmody was he wasn't returning to any on-court five-on-five (i.e. actual game minutes) this season. He'll practice and work out and shoot and do most of the stuff guys do in practice. He's just not going to go live five-on-five for extended minutes or be an option on gamedays. Just stay healthy the rest of this year, stay healthy over the spring and summer, then be ready to possibly challenge for a spot in the rotation. But even that's a really long road back.

Kevin from Detroit: I’m going to take a bold move and instead of saying how we can’t get athletes for the ACC, how good is the ACC for ND? Admittedly I should pay more attention to the non-revenue sports aspect, but I would love a Big East return with matchups with Villanova, Marquette, Creighton, Butler, St. John’s, etc. both geographically and competitively. Thoughts?

Tom Noie: Kevin: Not a chance would there be a return. The Big East was really good for hoops - and really necessary - but not so much, really not at all, for a lot of the other sports. The Big East wasn't a challenge for them. The ACC is the best fit if the Big Ten isn't an option - and it really isn't. ACC it is. And will be.

Guest: Do you think this group still has a run in them this year to make the tournament?

Tom Noie: Not a chance.

Tom from Gary: Could you tell me the difference between the men's and women's basketball programs at Notre Dame? I am a fan of both, and it seems like they get higher priority in terms of coaches, recruits, etc. Thanks, Tom.

Tom Noie: Tom: Notre Dame women's basketball is a lot like Notre Dame men's basketball was in its glory days of the 1970s and early 1980s. There weren't the plethora of college basketball options then. Only a handful of schools were perennial powers. That's a lot of what the women's game is like. Notre Dame was one of the haves for so many years under Muffet McGraw. It was a machine for wins and Final Fours and the occasional national championship. Other than using the same bouncing ball and baskets, the women's and men's games may as well be played on different planets. They're apples in one bin, oranges in the other.

joe from the south side: Tom: Not to switch gears but what ever happened to Matt Ryan? I know he finished fairly well at UT-Chat, but I do not know where he landed after that. I know Harvey is still at Vandy and is still way more enamored of his game than anyone else is.

Tom Noie: Joe: A Matt Ryan mention! You mean the guy who should've stayed and would've become the all-time 3-point shooter in school history? Vanderbilt for a couple years and then Chattanooga as a grad transfer. Now? Just another guy who played college hoops.

Wadelite Long Beach California: Tom, recently saw an article where it was noted the team did something unusual: they had a very intense practice. Is it just me or should that have occurred before the record fell to 3-8?

Tom Noie: Wade: Hard to go hard in practice at the start of the season when you had seven available guys.

Dan: Well since this year is toast, 2021-2022 predictions for ND bball?

Tom Noie: Dan: Way too early for that, but the standard predictions remain - finish in top half of the ACC, win at least 11-12 league games, get to the NCAA tournament. Then from there, it's a complete roll of the dice.

Wadelite Long Beach California: If Brey were to have an assistant coach opening after this season, does he hire another former player or go for someone outside ND with a different perspective? Sadly I believe he chooses the former as he believes the Duke model also applies and makes sense for ND. Too comfortable.

Tom Noie: Wade: Totally an ND guy. Don't think there's any question about that. Too comfortable? Absolutely, but not all that's on him. It's on the AD, the president, the place as well.

Wadelite Long Beach California: If this misses the NCAAT again in the 21-22 season (which would be 5 consecutive seasons) does Brey decide it's time to resign? We sure know that's the only way he's leaving.

Tom Noie: Can't see it. He's been adamant that he wants to ride out the end of his current contract.

Wadelite Long Beach California: Following up on hiring another former player, who do you see as the next Ryan Humphrey or Ayers?

Tom Noie: Technically, the next Ryan Ayers is now Scott Martin. Next? Eric Atkins is an actual coaching capacity. He was video guy when he was here and left for Howard.

Dennis, Southern California: If we don't make the tournament next year and Brey is not fired our program will be in big trouble. Seriously how can you not fire the guy? Attendance will continue to decline and fewer good athletes will want to play at Notre Dame. It will then be very hard to bring in a good coach when Brey finally leaves. IMO unless Brey can get us to at least the Sweet 16 next season he should retire. He has been a complete failure the last 3 seasons. I give him a pass on Colson's senior season since we had so many injuries to key guys.

Tom Noie: Dennis: Little harsh? Emotional? Failure during a pandemic? Think the fact that teams can actually play will be deemed anything but. But I get it.

Illinois Fool: Hey T-Man, let's take a step away from ND hoops for a moment. Why did the NCAA not select Purcell as a tourney court? I understand Hinkle, Assembly Hall and whatever the Pacers' court is known as now. But IUPUI and Purdue (especially when travel to West Lafayette is a pain)?

Tom Noie: IF: My man.....where you been? Simple answer to Notre Dame not being involved in the NCAA tournament venue situation - geography. You can bus to Bloomington and West Lafayette from Indianapolis in about an hour. Downtown Indianapolis to South Bend on the best of days with no traffic will run you 2:40. Traffic up Meridian from downtown? Maybe closer to three. Last time I drove back from Indianapolis after the Dec. 19 hoops game against Purdue, I got from downtown to the South Bend bypass in basically two and a half quarters of football (listening to the ACC championship game on the way home). South Bend woulda been sweet for NCAA tournament, if it were in Kokomo!

Walter from Indy: Eric Atkins...hooray another really great guy who is soft spoken with little experience. This team is soft. They care a lot! I believe that! But they are soft. Have been for the last few years. You said it best, give me another Anthony Solomon. Can you explain brey's hiring philosophy to me like i'm five?? In some ways I get it, but in so many other ways I just don't

Tom Noie: Walter: Outside of hiring Notre Dame guys who played for him and graduated from Notre Dame, it doesn't make much sense. When I make sense of it, I'll let you know. Until then, keep the faith!

Joe: What will Paul Atkinson bring to the team also what will the starting lineup and first guys off the bench be if everyone’s healthy. Talking abt next year

Tom Noie: Joe: ideally, solid play in the low post. Defense, rebounding, shooting high percentage. An older/sage presence of someone who's been around the college basketball block. You want a starting lineup for next year? Now? What the will be fun to look back on this and think, what were we thinking? Let's go with the same starting four - Hubb, Ryan, Goodwin, and Laszewski and Atkinson. Off the bench will be Matt Zona, Tony Sanders, J.R. Konieczny and Blake Wesley. TBD - Elijah Taylor and Robby Carmody with a roster spot or two TBD

Walter from Indy: You pick any four guys from your hoops many points per possession are you guys averaging against ND's 2-3 zone? No chance they ever get a "Kill"

Tom Noie: Walter: I've got a lot of zone busters in our hoops league. We're shooting over the top of that bad boy all day long. Couple good drivers/finishers in there as well. They're not getting a kill against us....who am I kidding. Yeah, they are. I can shoot it and drive it and still have some hops, but I'm also 52.

Illinois Fool: I don't think I've seen a mention of Nik Djogo today, so I'll do it. What do you see as his role for the reminder of the season. And as for where I've been, getting the heck out of Illinois and moving back to SB. Hahaha. Nice timing for me to be greeted by snow.

Tom Noie: IF: The ultimate team guy. He'll move the ball and preach the Brey philosophy in the locker room, but won't really do enough to really make a difference. And moving back to South Bend? Welcome! At least the sun's out might not see it again for a few weeks.

Joe: Did u miss Trey by any chance in ur starting five over Cormac or will he be first off the bench

Tom Noie: Joe: That's the danger in looking forward 10 months. You're going to forget someone. Ryan or Wertz at the other perimeter spot. Whoever doesn't start comes off the bench as the sixth man.

joe from the south side: Tom: I am lost on your analysis. No mention of Wertz? He just started. Also, you better talk to Wesley about being the 4th man off the bench. The two of you are miles apart.

Tom Noie: Joe: Some would say I've been lost for too many years. As mentioned, looking ahead 10 months means you're going to forget somebody. Wertz or Ryan as the fifth starter, one who's not sixth man. And Wesley better put on some serious muscle (I see you Jaden Ivey). Last I checked, the NIC ain't the ACC.

Erik (Granger, IN): Sorry I’m late. Thanks for being here! I’ve been frequently hearing that this team is “old” and therefore their struggles are surprising. However, the difference between this “old” team and the others during Brey’s tenure is that these guys have never won. Ever. Why should they believe they can win when it hasn’t happened before? Previous “old” Brey teams grew up in a winning culture. That’s been missing the last two years, so why expect these guys to have it now?

Tom Noie: Erik: Better late than never. As for never having won, and not knowing what it's like, they've certainly lost a lot and know what that's like. That. coupled with the fact they spent the previous two years understanding the way it's done, you figured it was going to flip. You've got to start somewhere, right? Guess it won't be this season.

Erik (Granger, IN): Mike Brey and I arrived to ND at the same time, and I’ve been a fan of his ever since. But the shine has to be coming off the dome for him. Doom and gloom hot take alert: does he owe it to this junior class to retire and let some new voices give them a chance at a successful senior season? Do you see this coaching staff and these players being able to turn things around next year?

Tom Noie: Answer after four-plus hours to two questions - no and no. That was easy! lol

Illinois Fool: Any truth to the rumor that you hit the winning Powerball jackpot and about to retire? LOL

Tom Noie: IF: Not a chance. I'm here for the longest of hauls. Don't know if that's good news or bad news.

joe from the south side: Tom: You know what's tough to take about this team? They do have upside relative to the stuff we had to watch the last few years. My goodness, Rex P was a shell of his former self. For a guy who had athleticism and not much else, he was virtually nothing more than a warm body. Gibbs never moved past that SOPH year. He was slow, chunky, had no hops to his game and flat lined for two years. As much as I liked Johnny Mooney, he had no athleticism. The core of that squad was basically a church league team. This team can compete at a higher level than the previous years. But the light hasn't gone on. They don't have the drive to go one more step. I truly think a Matt F or a Ben H could have turned this team into a 15-10 team. With their SOS, I think it would have been good enough.

Tom Noie: Joe: True....I should cut and paste this for everyone who wondered why in the world Mike Brey didn't want last year's trio back for yet another run this season. The time comes when it's time to move on. You max it out, you move on. That group did. They weren't getting any better than what they were. Hope we don't say the same for this group. Boston College, and mediocre a win as it was, could be a good first step for these guys. Just can't lay an egg (you know it's coming, right) in Miami. Then you begin to wonder....or, in the case of a lot of people, keep wondering....

The man: Hey Tom, asking for advice abt hoops in general. Just got cut from the high school basketball team the other day, hurt like a bleep. A lot of people telling me to quit and pick up a new sport, but I can’t cuz I love the game. Hopefully you’ve never been in this situation personally but would like to know if u have or what u would do. Already working on getting back for next year. Thank you!

Tom Noie: Use it as motivation. Go work on your game. Instead of shooting 100 shots a day or a session, shoot 200. Think of it like, OK, I may not be good enough this year, but next year? I'll be better. And you will be. You'll be a year older, a year wiser and your game will show it. Go get some shots up now. Good luck!

Joey from Highland, IN: Are you disappointed with Cormac? Did you think he was better?

Tom Noie: Asked and answered hours ago....might be a sign that we're reaching the conclusion here....

The man: thanks Tom u the man. Literally in the middle of getting up shots rn! Hope for two things next year: wanna make the team and want ND in the big dance. If both dreams come true I’ll be the happiest man alive

Tom Noie: Remember - always end on a make! Best of luck my man!

Tom Noie: That will do it for today. Solid January effort as usual. Thanks for all the questions/comments. Let's do it again in February. Keep an eye out on Twitter. Need a specific date closer to middle of the month, drop me a note at Take care and stay healthy!