Chat Transcript: Does Notre Dame actually have postseason shot after recent run?

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

Tom Noie: We've made it to February. Last time we chatted, Notre Dame was reeling at 1-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Now, the Irish are rolling. Kind of. Notre Dame has won five of its last seven coming clear of Tuesday's win at Duke. There has to be plenty to chat about. Be sure to leave your name and hometown with your question or comment. No aliases, please. And with that, you know the rest. Let's light this chat candle.

Bobby: Hey Tom.. has there been anymore chatter about the ACC tournament.. I remember reading at one point it may look different.. Not all teams go, etc. A month out.. Is it safe to say they're proceeding as normal? If there's been a finalization on it.. I missed it. Big win last night! Go IRISH!

Tom Noie: Bobby: Good timing, my man. We received our ACC Tournament media credential application late Wednesday. Kind of. The release from the ACC communications office says that the league is "scheduled to hold the ACC tournament in Greensboro" in March. Honestly, I can't see it happening. Two league teams (Florida State and Louisville) are on pause right now. There likely will be more schools hitting the pause between now and the end of the season. I don't know how feasible it is for teams who believe it will go to the NCAA tournament to possible jeopardize that by playing in the ACC tournament the previous week. Right now, the plan is to have a tournament in a normal tournament format. I have a hard time seeing that happening. Think that as we get closer to March, some serious conversations within the league will occur.

Andrew from Plymouth, IN: Prentiss Hubb may be the most maddening ND player in my lifetime. The last PG to avg more than 3 TO's/gm was Tory Jackson back in 07-08 when he avg 3.1. Hubb is currently at 3.4/gm. His Ast/TO ratio of 1.8 is #166 in the country. However, his 6.1 ast/gm would rank him 2nd in ND history for best season average, this currently ranks him #14 in the country right now. His 61 total TO's are the ninth most right now and are about 1/3 of the team's 10th best avg of 10.3. Break this all down for me, are my expectations of him too high and do you think he's overachieving or underachieving right now? I still think he's a combo guard being forced into the role of a point guard and that the offense flows better when Wertz or Ryan are leading it.

Tom Noie: Andrew: Here's the thing about Prentiss Hubb that I wrote about, maybe the first week of the season. he's not Tory Jackson. He's not Jerian Grant. He's not Demetrius Jackson or Matt Farrell or Chris Thomas or Chris Quinn or any other Irish point guard you want to compare him to. If you can't get past that, then the numbers that you provide WILL drive you nuts. He's a scoring point guard. Different than we've ever seen. That doesn't make him better than the guys that came before him. That doesn't make him worse. He's just different. Go back and read the play-by-play for the final nine minutes of Tuesday's game against Duke. Hubb's finger prints are all over the stats sheet. Assists. Defensive rebounds. Scoring. Yeah, he takes bad shots and may make the occasional bad decision, but then he does what he does the other night.

Adam: What happens with Robby Carmody assuming he can stay healthy starting next year? (Hoping and praying he can stay healthy) Does he transfer or stick around for a few more years?

Tom Noie: Adam: Get him through the rest of this season healthy as he slowly works his way back into basketball shape. Then stay healthy in the spring and summer and early fall. Then see what you have in him and how he fits. Does he fit? We don't know, but Notre Dame recruited the two local kids (J.R. Konieczny and Blake Wesley) believing that it had to move on from Carmody. That's harsh, but that's life in college basketball. Can Carmody find a role on next season's perimeter-heavy team? Maybe the role that Nik Djogo leaves behind? We'll see. And we'll see how 2021-22 plays out. But as far as transferring, I think Carmody first has to give it a full season to see where/if/how he fits before deciding to move on.

Matt from MA: Im back!!! So are the Irish? Tommy, hope all is well with you and the family.... two questions; 1) Is the improvement a product of worse competition (BC, wake, Miami, even Duke) or Irish improvement, or both? They did beat Pitt who is solid, but GT is a team they really should have beaten. 2) Still not beating a lot of teams above ND. Was a problem with last years 10-10 record and continues this year. Can they beat Clemson, FSU, Syracuse this go around? We saw what they looked like against UVA and VT twice apiece.

Tom Noie: Matt; The chat hasn't been the same without you - kind of like this entire basketball season - it's hoops but not really hoops as we've come to know it. The Irish improvement is likely a combination of everything - better understanding/cohesion of how to play and how the pieces work and bad teams. Still, how many of us (myself included) thought Notre Dame had the stones to climb out of a 15-point hole the other day in Cameron? Yeah, nobody thought that would happen. Now go do it against teams above you in the standings (it's hard to count Pittsburgh in that group the way the Panthers absolutely rolled over against Notre Dame). Only then will I think that yeah, maybe the program has turned the compete corner and can beat good teams. Still, you can't discount what Notre Dame did at Duke. That was impressive.

Lee from Lancaster, SC: Hi Tom, early in the season Juwan Durham played as if he was auditioning for the lead role in the movie "The Invisible Man". However, he's now playing well on both ends of the floor. What's the reason for the big improvement in his game?

Tom Noie: Lee: Ouch! That's harsh, though understandable. It's a combination of factors. Settling down and understanding that he can be a factor, and that when he plays well, the Irish play well. It's also go-time for Durham. His career has what, a month and change left? It's like, better do it now or you're never going to do it. He sees the finish line closing. Funny what that does to guys. Many of them, OK, all of them, go through seasons and careers like it's never going to end. Then they see that it will. It's like, whoa, I better start playing . Durham's been a revelation during this latest streak of five of seven wins. I didn't know if we'd ever see it. Glad we are.

Lee from Lancaster, SC: The TV announcers often praise the Irish because they don't commit a lot of fouls. Unfortunately, that's usually because the man they're guarding drives by them so fast that they aren't close enough to touch him.. On a good day, my grandpa would probably score 10 points and 3 assists against them. Offense is their game, and when their shots are falling, they are a dangerous team. They are also a resilient bunch. Any chance that they can win enough games down the stretch to get into the NCAA tournament?

Tom Noie: Lee: There's always a chance. They just have to go and do it. It's still waaaaaaay too early to start trying to do the math (never my strong suit) as it relates to the NCAA tournament. Mainly because, well, nobody knows what a tournament resume should look like. Or will look like. Notre Dame may not play 20 league games. It's not going to play the NCAA-maximum 27 regular-season games. How does the selection committee take those numbers into account? Will Notre Dame's non-league be a factor? Lack of non-power five games? Here's a sure-fire way to find your way into at least the discussion - just keep winning. The rest will take care of itself.

Caleb from Charlotte: Hi Tom, I'm confused about recruiting. How were the Irish able to convince outstanding players like Austin Carr, Adrian Dantley, Kelly Tripucka, David Rivers, LaPhonso Ellis, and Troy Murphy to come to Notre Dame years ago but today cannot get a 5 star player to seriously consider coming to ND?

Tom Noie: Caleb: College basketball has changed since those days of Carr and Dantley. Those guys aren't coming to Notre Dame in 2020. Troy Murphy was not highly-recruited. LaPhonso Ellis? He wanted the total college experience that too few kids seek these days. For them, it's get me to the league as quick as possible. Five-star prospects have considered Notre Dame. I'll again flip the question - if you're a five-star guy and have Kentucky and Villanova and Gonzaga on your short list, why would you consider Notre Dame?

Tony: Any news on the 2022 recruiting class targets? Do you think this will be a class that he tries to get 4? Or hits the transfer wire to stay old?

Tom Noie: Tony: Let's get the 2021 class on campus before we dive too deeply into future classes, mainly because college basketball is on the verge of becoming Thunderdome. What happens if/when the NCAA passes its one-time transfer exception this offseason. That will allow kids to transfer once without the usual sit-out season. It's about to become the Wild West. NBA free agency-like in college hoops. That happens, this offseason will become a circus. Everyone will at least consider transferring. How will that impact Notre Dame? Anyone going to leave? Anyone going to want to transfer in? Then you have the additional year of eligibility issue where every player for 2020-21 is granted an additional year of eligibility. Who in this year's current junior class (Goodwin, Hubb, Laszewski) will want to run it back for a fifth year? All of them? None of them? One? Two? You have to figure that out first before figuring out what the class of 2022 might look like.

Tony: How many more years will Coach Brey be at ND? Who tops the short list to replace him?

Tom Noie: Tony: Mike Brey has made it known on more than one occasion that he has every intention of fulfilling his current contract, which runs through the 2024-25. He doesn't plan to walk away from Notre Dame, and I have a hard time seeing him being asked or forced to leave. Who tops the short list to replace him? Think we first have to consider who tops the short list to HIRE the next coach. I don't know if it's going to be Jack Swarbrick. And the next coach, if Notre Dame truly is a forward-thinking institution of higher learning committed to giving everyone a chance, is an up-and-coming Black assistant coach somewhere. Think of the statement Notre Dame would make if it had a Black man as men's basketball coach and a Black woman as women's basketball coach.

Mark Kruz from Mishawaka: Tom can you explain how the light bulb all of a sudden turned on for Juwan Durham?? Suddenly he has become extremely efficient around the hoop in using his pivot foot and anticipating the lob pass. Also I haven't seen any footage on Atkinson from Yale. Is he the typical big guy banger under the bucket? A side note have you started your pick up hoops at Pius? Its been nice getting back to playing pick up. Stay safe

Tom Noie: Mark: Juwan Durham's late push to legit low-post player was discussed couple questions ago. Graduate transfer Paul Atkinson is 6-foot-10, 220 pounds. I don't know about a "typical banger," mainly because the bigs he's faced in the Ivy League aren't anywhere near as skilled or big as the ones he's going to face in the ACC. We'll have to see how his game translates when he gets here in June. Still no pickup yet. Miss it a little more every day. Maybe come summer!

Zach: Any shot this team makes the tournament this year? If so, what does it take?

Tom Noie: Zach: Too soon to tell, and nobody really knows what it's going to take. Notre Dame is on track to play 25 regular-season games and 19 league games (still no makeup date for the Georgia Tech game that was scrubbed in January and no replacement game for Howard). The Irish are 8-10 overall, 5-7 in the ACC. Say they go 6-1 the rest of the way. Finishing 11-8 in the ACC is attractive, but 14-11 not so much. But what's the criteria going to be this year? That's going to be the million dollar question.

Joey from Highland, IN: any reason why they have to struggle every year until February?

Tom Noie: Joey: Three letters - A-C-C. This isn't a good year to use as an example, so let's take what would be a more normal college basketball season. November and December, you're playing a lot of games against lesser competition and racking up wins and confidence to get you ready for league play. Said league play often arrives full throttle in January. League play is different. The players are more skilled. Talented. Just better than a lot of teams you play early. It takes January to adjust to that skill and speed and situation. Like, OK, this is what the league is, and this is what we have to do to adjust and make a move. That's often February.

George from El Segundo: Hi Tom, hope you and yours remain safe and well. I want to cast a vote in favor of Mike Brey today. This has been an incredible season and, IMO, a successful one. With real student athletes, the Irish have tasted historic success in a year that has proven too much for most of the greats. Bad start, sure, but what great progress, especially for guys like Durham and Diogo.

Tom Noie: George: Amen with you and times 10. I get basketball fans and their passion, but to a point. To think that this year should be judged similarly to any other year is ludicrous (and not the artist known as). Just getting this Irish team - or any team - through the protocols and the isolation and everything else teams have had to deal with is nothing short of amazing. Put yourself in any college basketball player's shoes when you were in college. Can't see your friends. Can't go to class in a traditional setting. Gotta mask up everywhere you go. Would you still follow the rules? Yeah, I get that Notre Dame should be better and should beat more ranked teams and blah, blah, blah, but THIS year? Under THESE circumstances? That's a tough ask.

Jake: This will probably be asked many times today.... I’ll be first. What finish to the season does it take to get in the tournament. 6-2 and 2 ACC tournament wins?

Tom Noie: Jake: It can be asked 100 times and the answer still will be the same. I don't know. You don't know. Nobody knows. As I mentioned earlier, the Irish have only seven games remaining - no GT makeup, no Howard makeup. Going 5-2 is awfully ambitious, but that only gets you to 13-12, 10-9 going to the ACC tournament, which may or may not be played. Ten league wins during a pandemic enough? Twelve losses against that schedule too many? Nobody knows.

Joey from Highland, IN: If all of these guys stay (Durham and Djogo excluded), with Atkinson and the depth they’re getting next year, do you see a trip back to the tourney? Possibly a run? Or do they still need to beat a ranked team to be taken seriously?

Tom Noie: Joey: The baseline minimum for Notre Dame is the NCAA tournament every single year. Every single NORMAL year. Let's see them beat a ranked team before planning "runs." Runs happen when nobody expects them to happen. Did anyone really expect 2015 to be a run? That team lost by 30 in Cameron during the season. Hard to see a run coming that day.

George from El Segundo: Right now, would you rather be Sparty or ND, Duke or ND, KY or ND? All in all, an exciting and memorable seasom with more to come. Go Irish!

Tom Noie: George: Honestly? Michigan State, because it gets this late in the college basketball season, Tom Izzo usually figures it out.

Patrick (Wheaton): How many consecutive wins (from this point forward, say), would it take for us to talk bubble?

Tom Noie: Patrick: Just keep winning.

Danny (Chicago): Hey Tom, love reading and keeping up about the Irish from you. I know earlier in year when asked about Durham returning it didn’t look likely next year from Brey. Any chance with his recent play that there is a change of heart there even with Atkinson coming in next year?

Tom Noie: Danny: None. Wrote about Durham and fellow graduate student Nik Djogo and this situation couple weeks ago. When the NCAA announced early in the year, late summer or early fall, that all 2020-21 college basketball players would receive an additional year of eligibility, Mike Brey met with both and three decided that this year was it for them. It's time to start the next chapter of their lives. Durham wants to play professionally. Djogo will be walking away with two degrees. It's just time.

Joey from Highland, IN: I know all the talk postgame was about the offense, but, the last 2 games the defense has been atrocious.

Tom Noie: Joey: Let's all be honest. All that nonsense about stop-scores and getting in a stance and defending....did you really think that was going to last for what, a month? This is a program that's long been built around offense. Moving the ball. Sharing it. Flowing. Touting the defense? That was something to do before the offense got going. This is an offense-first program. Always has been. Just get enough stops so your offense can get you 80. Or in the case of Tuesday, 93.

Joey from Highland, IN: Who do you think is their poorest defender?

Tom Noie: Doesn't matter as long as he's not their poorest offensive player.

Jim - Lebanon PA: Hi Tom! I apologize in advance if you answered this question before, I may have missed it... was wondering why Neile’s son Jaden chose Purdue over ND? Was he not recruited by Brey? Felt the need to go elsewhere? Thank you!

Tom Noie: Jim: Purdue was the first program and Matt Painter the first coach to recruit Jaden Ivey. It was always going to be Purdue. Mike Brey tried to get in the game, but it wasn't going to make much of a difference.

Gregg: I asked this question the last time there was a chat. Now that the Irish are o a roll, is there still a chance that they can make it to the tournament? And another question about the ACC tournament. What will they do about those bubble teams that can get a big win in the tournament and possibly get the ncaa tournament. This question refers to if they were to cancel the ACC tournament.

Tom Noie: Gregg: Admire the persistence. There's always a chance, but what that chance really is in this season, nobody really knows. I don't know if the ACC tournament will happen, so there's also that. What do the Irish need to do? Channel their inner Al Davis - just win baby!

Guest: Two part question.So if ND doesn’t make the tourney again for what the 4th straight year I believe. Will Brey be on the hot seat next year? Also Do you also think a coaching change needs to be made with either Brey or the staff? Since ND has been bottom tier ever since Bonzie got hurt.

Tom Noie: The old anonymous question....sigh. Let's get to a season where everything is normal and everybody is healthy before we start debating hot seats and staffs. A college season in a pandemic probably not the best time to make sweeping changes, no?

Chris: Hi Tom- any chance Juwan Durham would come back for 6th year? Team could be pretty special if so.

Tom Noie: Chris: None.

Andrew from Plymouth, IN: With the ACC potentially having teams on pause and possibly not having a "normal" conference tournament, has Mike Brey pushed for a kind of "Showcase Weekend" where teams could still play 3 games in 3 days as a way to boost their tournament resumes? This would be a win-win for ND and the ACC if they could do something like this, no tournament bracket and just paring up like teams for competitive matchups.

Tom Noie: Andrew: Different formats have been discussed where teams go to Greensboro and are assured of playing more than just a one-and-done game. Don't think any of it has advanced past the exploratory or spit-ball idea stage, mainly because it all rolls back around to what TV wants. In March, it wants and needs and demands tournament basketball. That's what the ACC (as of now) plans to deliver.

Morgan McKinley: Tom, Morgan again. Brey has had about 6-8 guys play in the NBA and only a few had long careers. Even 1st team All American Grant has struggled. Thomas couldn’t make it. Bonzie and other All Americans struggled. Does that show Brey is working either a lot less athletic ability athletes because schools like UMD and others who have far superior athletes yet (except the Juan Dixon era) do not outperform ND???

Tom Noie: Morgan: It underscores how hard it is to recruit and win at Notre Dame - and do it within the rules and the academic guidelines. There's a reason why Notre Dame hasn't won a national championship in football since 1988. There's a reason why it hasn't gone to a Final Four since 1978. It's going to stay true to what it is and not try to be Clemson or Ohio State or Alabama in football or Duke or Villanova in basketball. It's just not going to happen, regardless of who it signs or who's the coach.

Jay from Chicago: Hi Tom, more of a big-picture question here. In your opinion, what is ND's ceiling in the ACC? While Duke and UNC are the undoubted headliners, I see no reason why they cannot develop a program that would hover in the 3rd-5th range on an annual basis. From previous articles I have read, it seems that others want to put UVA, Louisville and Florida St on a higher pedestal than ND. While they have had great success recently, what makes those programs more susceptible to winning consistently? My gut tells me that if ND struck lightning in a bottle and hired someone like Tony Bennett, the program could easily develop into a perennial top-15 program. Is that an overly optimistic worldview?

Tom Noie: Jay: Honestly, I think it is. You have to remember that it takes someone with little ego (every coach has one, let's be honest) to know where you stand in the athletic hierarchy at Notre Dame. You're never going to have the full financial support for facilities and other needs like football. Not going to happen. How many coaches would accept that? Five? Oh, yeah, and still win? Three? There's still no reason that it cannot be upper half of the ACC every year and every so often, pull off what Mike Brey pulled off in 2015 and 2016.

Ian from IN: What does being black have to do with anything? It’s about Wins and Losses. Best person for the job or leave. Who cares about political statements

Tom Noie: Sorry my man, no political statement made. Inferred? That's on your end.

John from Milwaukee: Hi Tom, assuming Mike Brey walks away sooner rather than later, what are your thoughts of the Hurley brothers as possible replacements? Both extremely connected in the Northeast Catholic basketball scene. Also, I am sure it would make Bob Sr. a very happy man.

Tom Noie: John: Don't see it. Would you leave Phoenix to live in South Bend? Dan Hurley might need to win a little more (OK, a lot) before that jump.

Clint from Winnipeg: Tom, what's your take on Cormac Ryan? Before the Duke game, he had not lived up to his billing. What do you think the reasons were for that? Now that he's had a breakout game, if you will, can that be a catalyst for increased production moving forward?

Tom Noie: Clint: I'll pump the brakes on Cormac Ryan's bust-out game. Let's see it over weeks, then months, before we say yeah, he's arrived. Why did it take so long? We all want everything to happen right away. Like NOW!!!!! When it doesn't, we get angry. Cormac Ryan sat out for a year. That takes an adjustment. He went from the Pac-12 to the ACC. Again, an adjustment. He went from just a guy on the roster to a captain. Adjustment again. It just doesn't happen for guys because they've been good in practice/pickup sessions. I don't know if Ryan's going to be good for 28 a game, but he should be steady enough to be 12-17 a night. He'll get there.

Ron from St. Joe. Mi: Are we now seeing the real Cormac Ryan?

Tom Noie: See below. Or above.

Todd-Amarillo, TX: Is Trey Wertz overmatched as a player in the ACC? Because sometimes it sure seems that way.

Tom Noie: Todd: A lot of what I mentioned about Cormac Ryan can be applied to Trey Wertz. He played two years in the West Coast Conference. Now he's in the Atlantic Coast Conference. That's an adjustment. It takes time. Too few want to allow it. Like with Ryan, Wertz will get there.

Myra, KC: Tom: Is there a spot for Tony Sanders in the rotation next season? How much of that is a factor of who comes back and who doesn't?

Tom Noie: Myra: I don't know. For myriad reasons. Had this season been anything near normal, Tony Sanders likely would've gone the five-year route and sat out. Turns out he'll still have four years eligibility remaining. He was added as a long-term guy. Give him time to grow his game and figure it out. It's also too early to see where/how/if he fits because of uncertainty of the offseason. Does anyone leave? Does anyone come in? Too many variables right now to say definitively.

Mike from Walla Walla: I know that football is king at ND. On a scale of 1-10, what do you see as the commitment from the university, and Jack Swarbrick specifically, to having the men's basketball team succeed on a consistent basis? What does sticking with Coach Brey during the current multi-year malaise say about that?

Tom Noie: Mike: I'd go with a 10, but I'd also do it with an asterisk. Nobody at Notre Dame is expecting the basketball program to NOT succeed. But it has to do it on the school's terms. No quick-fixes. No bending the rules. Do it the Notre Dame way. Yeah, that's difficult. As for your "mulit-year" malaise.....huh? Let's review - injuries to Bonzie Colson, Matt Farrell and D.J. Harvey torpedoed the 2017-18 season, one where Notre Dame was Team No. 69 in the NCAA tournament and should've made the field. The injury to Rex Pflueger turned over the 2018-19 season to a freshman class that was in a no-win position. 2019-20? Gotta make the tournament with John Mooney a senior. There's your one "malaise" season. This year, in a pandemic, is a malaise? Man, that's pretty harsh.

Jim Tal, Valley Center, CA.: Hi Tom, really appreciate your work covering the Irish. Every time you're ready to leave this team for dead, they seem to get up off the mat and keep plugging along. I believe that one guy who is probably not getting his full due is Nik Djogo. As of late, he's doing a fine job of coming off the bench and making a real contribution in a number of areas. Which made me wonder why both he and Durham are coming on so darn late in their tenure with the Irish. Shouldn't these two guys have been bigger factors much earlier. And if so, is this more about coaching and developing them or is it more about the players themselves? And don't get me wrong, I love Brey but I just can't figure this whole thing out. Thanks.

Tom Noie: Jim: If YOU can't figure it out, you think I can? LOL Some of it with Durham is hey, I want to do more but there's a guy named John Mooney doing everything. Wait until I get my chance. We saw what happened with Durham early in the year when he got his chance. Now, it's a matter of seeing that the finish line is closing quickly. Like do it now or never do it. With Djogo, it's never been about opportunity. It's been about carrying over his practice effort to the game. And finding out what he can do to best help this team. He hit shots in practices, but couldn't make them in games. He wasn't good with the ball. So how can he help? He's now kind of understood how to fit.

Kyle - Cedar Lake, IN: Irish have unperformed during this season. What record would they need to be considered a tournament team? Beat clemson and syracuse? Upset FSU? and win the games your supposed to? Unlikely as it sounds whats the chances at the tournament if they win out and 2 acc tournament wins? Thanks.

Tom Noie: Kyle: Love the underperformed narrative during a pandemic. Notre Dame underperforming? Lol. Join the club to the right. NCAA? Just keep winning. There's no set number. Not this year.

Kelly from Mishawaka: Hi Tom,Over/under .5 career NBA games for the entire current roster?

Tom Noie: Kelly: I'll go zero, but I don't get the feeling from anyone over at Notre Dame that the main goal, or even the secondary goal of the program is to get their guys to the league. It's about more than just basketball over there.

Liam from London:: Tom: Thanks for all your updates! I finally got through the GDPR restrictions and can be part of the chat live! Will the Irish make up the 6 January Georgia Tech home game that was postponed?

Tom Noie: Liam: Great to hear from you and the iron curtain of the NDI web site has been infiltrated! Does that mean no emailing the transcript under the cover of darkness? LOL. As we sit here today, on Feb. 11, there is no scheduled makeup date for the Jan. 6 home game with Georgia Tech. Notre Dame thought it could slide Georgia Tech into the Jan. 18 slot vacated by the game at Howard, which has since shut down the season, but Georgia Tech balked at the ACC over playing a Monday-Wednesday-Saturday swing, so no game. And still no sign of one.

Kevin: Will we see Robby Carmody this year

Tom Noie: We won't. There's no plan to play Robby Carmody given his injury history. Stay healthy the rest of this year, get his basketball legs back under him in the spring and summer and early fall and chase a rotation spot for 2021-22.

Buck: What's going on with Carmody?

Tom Noie: Buck: See above. Or below. Asked an answered.

Ryan mars pa: hi Tom what do you think about cormac’s big game Tuesday go Irish

Tom Noie: Ryan: Great to see someone who took Saturday's loss hard bounce back and deliver. Now do it again. And again. Not saying he has to go for 28, but get to the point where games like this aren't like, whoa, didn't expect that.

X: Hi Tom - do you think Wertz needs to be more of the primary ball handler at the end of games? Just feel like he is more consistent at the point than Hubb. If you are going to have Hubb shoot up a prayer at the end of the shot clock, doesnt it make sense to let someone else bring the ball up and at least put the idea in the defense's head that maybe its not going to go to Hubb?

Tom Noie: X: Anytime that issue becomes one, Prentiss Hubb goes and does what he did at the end of the Duke game. Go back and watch it. And the Kentucky game as well. That's who he is. Gotta ride with it.

Joey from Highland, IN: Do you think Nate is going to be happy getting 4-5 shots a game?

Tom Noie: Joey: Think you should have more shots, go hunt a few more shots. Nobody's ever been pulled from a game for that. I think he'll take the win instead of the shot attempts.

PJ from Annapolis, MD: Tom, talk of the end of the Mike Brey era seems to be in vogue lately. Do you have a sense for where Brey and/or Swarbrick stand on his eventual departure/retirement? It seems reasonable to me that he should at least get a shot to coach the Hubb/Dane/Laz class into their super-senior year...

Tom Noie: PJ: I've not heard or seen or felt any indication from Notre Dame that Mike Brey won't have the chance to finish his current contract, which runs through 2024-25. Here's the one thing about the Brey-Swarbrick relationship - there's nobody more in Brey's corner than his boss. I don't see that relationship being tested in ways people want it tested anytime soon. Now, Mike Brey could walk into Jack Swarbrick's office today and pull a Jack Nolan (Got it!), and say he's done at the end of the year. But there's been less than zero indication that Brey's ready for the beach or a TV job.

Liam from London:: Tom, I know it has been a while since you have been able to watch practice. However, from your years of experience, does the coaching staff go through end of game situations weekly in practice? Are the players drilled to get to spots? Or does Coach Brey simply want the players to read and react at crunch time? This season, the Irish looked totally disorganised against Ohio State, UNC and Georgia Tech. Those games could have gone either way. Even the win at Duke masked a heave and hope 28 footer from Prentiss in the waning moments.

Tom Noie: Liam: Back when the media was allowed to watch practice before we became evil and the enemy and everything else (no truth to that, by the way!!!!), I can say that end-of-game situations were a routine part of the practice plan. Like, down two and the ball and five seconds to make something happen. Or up one and having to defend to win. All normal stuff that the staff worked through. I'd push back on Notre Dame being disorganized at the end of the Carolina or Georgia Tech games. The Irish got a really good look at Carolina - both from Cormac Ryan and Juwan Durham on the baseline. That's about as good as you're going to to get. Against Georgia Tech, Ryan's gotta let that one fly. Or head fake and drive it.

Jake: Any potential redshirts next season?

Tom Noie: Jake: Too early to tell with what's already been discussed about how the offseason will be ThunderDome. Who's coming? Anyone? Who's leaving? Anyone? Nobody can say what this roster will look like in June until, well, June.

Morgan McKinley: Tom - you should do this once a week in February & March. Us diehard ND hoops fans need it!! I think Nic has been a great teammate this year. He’s a solid rebounder, can guard many positions and he’s a very unselfish player. He has struggled previously but this year he’s been consistently solid. What do you think has been the cause, besides experience, for this year’s consistent play?

Tom Noie: Morgan: Nik Djogo needs the Irish need him. He was a fringe guy in seasons past. Now, he's in the rotation and he's old, so deliver. As for every week, I don't know if my hoops sanity could take it.

Jim Tal, Valley Center, CA.: Tom: Since you've been covering the Irish, who makes your all-time starting lineup and who is the first sub off the bench?

Tom Noie: Jim: Great question, but the most loaded one in any hoops chat format, mainly because someone always gets left off, and often is there to say so. But I'll ride anywhere with these five: Bonzie Colson, Pat Connaughton, Jerian Grant, Ben Hansbrough and Troy Murphy. First sub off the bench? Too many to mention but let's just say guys like Matt Carroll, Dan Miller, Tory Jackson, John Mooney, Ty Nash, Tim Abromaitis, David Graves, Steve Vasturia, Demetrius Jackson, Matt Farrell, Ryan Humphrey are all right there. And I'm probably leaving someone out.

The Man: Will any of the current juniors stay for a fifth year do you think?

Tom Noie: Not if the Irish catch lightning in a bottle next year and everything falls into its proper place.

Billy: why is it so hard for brey to win/recruit? 1. Brey does not cheat. 2. Notre Dame you have to go to class. 3. Under Armour in a Nike world. 4. No tradition like football. 5. Cost of attendance 6. Notre Dame is hard to get to from the East Coast 7. unlucky -- Colson/Farrell team riddled with injuries. Loss of Pfugler two years ago was a blow even though he was not the next Jerian Grant. 8. Digger won playing a schedule he made up himself 9. Johhny Dee won because at the time Notre Dame was the only hoops team that played on national TV in reg season.

Tom Noie: Billy: I'll take the first seven, but anytime anyone wants to compare what Mike Brey has to do to what Digger/Johnny Dee lose me. It's a totally different world. Then. Now.

Jarmon: Tom I own a sports performance biomechanics company and work with many D1 prospects. Most blue chip hoopers I talk to want to go exclusively online for every class. True even before COVID. Do you see this trend harming not just UND obviously but the ACC overall?

Tom Noie: Jarmon: Notre Dame Absolutely. The rest of the ACC? Think the overwhelming attitude of a lot of schools would be, OK, we'll find a work-around for that.

Jarmon: If the coaches and players got a mulligan for one game this year... Which game do you think it would be? Do you think the coaches and players would vote for the same game?

Tom Noie: Jarmon: Great question, and my answer likely would be the same as the coaching staff and the players. It would be the first game against Duke when Notre Dame was an absolute no-show. It had just won at Kentucky (yeah, even though Kentucky's not Kentucky this year, that's still a big deal) and had a chance to build on that by finally beating Duke, which also would've meant at that time finally beating a ranked team. But the Irish were out of it from literally the tip. Duke just pantsed them in their own gym. It was over soooooo early. Notre Dame had a chance to beat Kentucky and Duke back to back, had a chance to go 1-0 in the league, had a chance to get some momentum going to Indianapolis to play Purdue. Instead, it was a no-show. It set the early stage for the 0-5 league start.

joe from the south side: Tom: Your FB comparison to not being Clemson, Bama, or Ohio St. is spot on. However, I disagree with your BBL examples. I believe Coach K and Jay run pretty clean programs. Instead I would offer Arizona, Auburn, Kansas and NC as examples of programs with limited, if any, academic standards.

Tom Noie: Joe: There are so few teams doing it (or trying to do it) the way Notre Dame does it and a lot of teams that do it, well, the other way.

joe from the south side: Tom: Your call. Pick one. You have to take a charge from Zion (Pat C.) or you are playing a pickup game against BigSwan42 and the man you are guarding runs you into a pick by BigSwan42 and your teammate does not call the pick.

Tom Noie: Joe: Easy. And I love Harold, but I'd take running into a brick wall (Swan) than being hit by a runaway truck (Zion) any day. Worst case scenario on a Swan pick is I'm a little woozy for a while instead of being scraped up off the floor, and then trying to find my teeth.

joe from the south side: Tom: Your thoughts on the Brey line that GT "out athleticized" us. WHAT?????? Georgia Tech? Wait a minute, you recruited these guys. Blame yourself.

Tom Noie: Joe: Wrote that very same line that night. Don't have the athletes? Here's a thought - go get some.

Erik (Granger, IN): Thanks for being here! Why did we have to keep hearing about “getting in a stance”? How can players at this level not be able to (or willing to) play basic defense?

Tom Noie: Erik: Because these guys are never really taught or told about defense. They've been gifted the opportunity to play college basketball, which often means offense. And basketball players being basketball players, there's a chance that if their games aren't going well, they're not going to be all that interested in getting in a stance. I'm in one right now. It's not that difficult.

Liam from London:: Tom, thanks so much for organising these chats. They are better than a warm pint of bitter. Tough question for you on the fly, so you can put it in the bank for the next chat if it is too tough for you. Who are the best five players - by position - you have seen play for the opposition at Notre Dame? I'll give you a plus one as a sixth man. Here's mine: Johnny Dawkins, Duke, Reggie Miller, UCLA, Len Bias, Maryland, Derrick Coleman, Syracuse, Danny Manning, Kansas and Dana Barros, Boston College - cos I need a Boston kid in the mix and he lit us up for 30 something in 1989.

Tom Noie: Liam: On-the-fly questions are the best. Let's go with the best six opponents (three in the Big East, three in the ACC) I've covered and again, I'm leaving someone out, but the clock's ticking so here it goes. Gerry McNamara (Syracuse), Richard Hamilton (Connecticut). Carmelo Anthony (Syracuse), Zion Williamson (Duke), Jerome Robinson (Boston College), Joel Berry (North Carolina)

joe from the south side: Tom: What's disappointing is DeMatha is loaded with D1 kids in the JR class. I get the standards and all that but, my goodness, given that GT comment maybe you need to redouble your efforts. It's tough to take because those kids never mention ND, and I am never sure if it's no interest on their part or Brey not even sending out feelers

Tom Noie: Joe: I've never truly bought into the whole DeMatha-to-Notre Dame pipeline is a lock stuff. Should it be? Heck, yes. Ten times out of 10. But again, kids might be looking for something other than they've had for the previous four years. It's just never felt as automatic as everyone seems to think it should be.

Ryan from Overland Park, KS: Any news on the recruiting trail? I'd imagine Mike Brey is looking to add three guys in the 2022 class. Right now I only see 8 scholarship players for the 2022-23 season (carmody, wertz, ryan, wesley, JR, sanders, taylor, zona), plus the two walk-on's. I'm just hoping that the 2022 class isn't another one of those years where Brey fails to land an impact player (I'd say he did with wesley in 2021).

Tom Noie: Ryan: No idea what 2022 will look like for so many reasons. Who in the junior class will take advantage of the free year? Who won't? Who leaves between now and then? When can the staff actually go and and recruit somebody in person? When can those prospects see campus?

Mark Kruz from Mishawaka: Tom you mentioned earlier that the ACC tournament might not be held. I have to agree with you 100%. No way will the NCAA allow any teams with the chance of having a team test positive and shut down their cash cow. Way too much money for them and CBS. Part of this season is not only being successful in the won lost department but testing negative and following protocol which a few ACC teams failed to do so far with tournament resumes. No way the WCC is going to allow Gonzaga to play in their conf tourney. The way the Irish are playing right now on offense they do definitely have a decent chance to win out and make the tournament especially if some teams fail testing positive close to tourney time

Tom Noie: Mark: Preaching the truth in Mishawaka!

joe from the south side: Tom: A lot of stadiums now feature those cardboard cutouts of fans so that the place still looks somewhat full. Should ND consider keeping them even after the pandemic is over so that it looks like they have 3,000-4,000 inside Purcell?

Tom Noie: Joe: That would actually take some effort from someone over there. Don't think it's high on the priority list. Neither is trying to conceal the empty seats. Almost like, ah, what's the point?

Morgan McKinley: Tom - Joe wrote about DeMatha pipeline which is BS. Since Dantley & Carr, how many? Kids at that level in 2020 want a stepping stone to the NBA, nothing less. The reality is there are plenty of NCAA FB & BB who don’t get an education at all and some are Juco level academically and we know it from UNC & others. My Q: do you agree at SEC & other programs, the top players are often (of course not all) not in any way shape or form anything resembling a college student academically and the NCAA and University turns a blind eye until they get caught??

Tom Noie: Morgan: This isn't necessarily directed toward the SEC or a specific school, who am I kidding, yeah it is, but the prevailing attitude around college basketball the more I'm around it seems to be, let's just cheat or bend the rules and dare the NCAA to drop the hammer on us. Look at what's happened with Arizona and Kansas and LSU. I may be mistaken, but the feds have LSU coach Will Wade on a freaking wiretap talking about an illegal offer to a recruit. How much smoke needs to be around Sean Miller or Bill Self? It's almost like schools dare the NCAA to come after them, knowing they likely won't. It's a joke. Think if the feds had Mike Brey on a wiretap he'd have a job by the end of the day?

Morgan McKinley: Tom, another question with a positive tone. How well do you know Brey? What’s he like as a guy? Loosest Coach in America? Cool guy? Have beers with? Truly a players coach?

Tom Noie: Morgan: I'd say I know Mike Brey as well as a beat writer who's covered him since he arrived in July 2000 should know him. I've seen the loosest side of him. I've seen the not-so loosest side of him. Beers with him not a line that should be crossed. He gets that I have a job to do, and, other than an incident in the 2000s with an SID who no longer is there, doesn't really care how I do it or what I write. Or lets himself care. But for all the Irish fans (you know who you are) who aren't happy about no NCAA tournament since 2017, Brey's right there with you.

Kyle - Cedar Lake: Whats your thoughts on blake wesley and Jr K. Recruits. Both have the talent plus Elijah Taylor healthy next year anc matg Zona development. In a normal season with this team and assuming Nate leaves for the draft, what is this team capable of doing? Top 45 team? Top 6 Acc?

Tom Noie: Kyle: Wait, what? Assuming Nate Laszewski leaves for the draft? Nothing normal about that. Wesley and Konieczny will help, but how much remains to be seen. The ACC ain't the NIC. Next year, assuming everything is back to normal, it's the usual baseline expectation - top half of ACC, 12-ish league wins, NCAA tournament.

Pat, Springfield, IL: From the time ND was down 23-8 to Duke, is there a comparison to the total game effort against Pitt? Also, a follow up to the question about possibly not having an ACC tourney. If that happens, does ND need to win out to get into the tournament?

Tom Noie: Pat: Not following the jump from being down 15 to Duke to how it relates to Pitt. Does Notre Dame need to win out? Winning out means the Irish finish 15-10, 12-7 in the league. Twelve league wins is NCAA tournament worthy, or least should be. Is it this year? Good luck figuring that out!

Dan: I think a lot is pointing toward next. This will be the senior year of Brey's highest ranked class. They will have Atkinson. Most of the key players returning. I think if ND does not make the tourney, Brey and ND go separate ways. What do you think?

Tom Noie: Dan: Let's get through 2020-21 and put a period on this one first.

Dan: Do you think Laszewski has a shot at playing in the NBA?

Tom Noie: Dan: Shot? Yes. Realistic? Depends on so many factors. Making an NBA team is harder than winning at Notre Dame. The windows open ever so slightly for guys and then like that, they close. If you don't max out the opportunity, you're forever swimming in the pool of guys who had a chance, but are now in the G League.

Ryan Grand Rapids: Hey Tom, that Georgia tech loss stings a lot after the big win at duke. What is the one game coming up ND NEEDS to win to stay in the loop of the bubble?

Tom Noie: Ryan: Easy. The next one. Does it really matter if Notre Dame figures out a way to beat a ranked Florida State team next month if it loses at home to a Miami team it already beat? Just win the next one, and everything takes care of itself. If you need to ponder scenarios, you already know the answer.

joe from the south side: Tom: A DeMatha pipeline is not BS. What about LaLu? Gonzaga in DC? The Philly Catholic League. I-95 kids. My point is, if Brey can't recruit, go get a Marcus Freeman now. Get Scott Martin off the bench and fill it by hiring a recruiter with the potential to take over for Brey in 3-4 years. You could package Anthony Grant and Solomon.

Tom Noie: Joe: Uhhhhhh. not sure of the thought process there. We went from DeMatha to firing Scott Martin to bringing in.....a Dayton alum coaching at his alma mater? I'm confused.

Morgan McKinley: Tom - read you wrote previously Dickinson was all but signed last year. Can you name some others Bret just missed on (and reasons if you know them) who were all but signed? This is some inside scoop wed

Tom Noie: Morgan: I'll put it in the book. Otherwise, it just gives the wrong group of fans more of what they don't need.

Morgan McKinley: Tom - to Joe from South Side. Why do you think ND has a DeMatha pipeline? Wooten retired 20 years ago. Kids decide where to go to college, not coaches. Name the DeMatha guys since Brey started not named Grant or DJ, who apparently thinks he’s a lottery pick. Joe needs to realize the NCAA recruitment process is unfair because Brey can’t just sign anyone and he won’t be a Pitino, Pearl or Calipari...

Tom Noie: Do I have to send the two of you to opposite sides of the hoops chat court?

joe from the south side: Tom: BTW, as far as the G league, they have a German BBL League. Watched a game a few weeks ago featuring Oldenburg. Their star was basically a 40 year old Ricky Paulding from Detroit and U of Missouri. Perry Jones (Baylor) plays for Wurzburg. That whole mentality of one and done (Wesley) boggles the mind.

Tom Noie: Joe: Wow....there's some names there. Speaking of which, I scrolled through the G League rosters just yesterday. Talk about a sobering exercise. I'd encourage anyone who think they're a one-and-done to do the same. There are an awful lot of really good former college players (and former first-round picks) banging around the G League. Guys who were drafted and probably thought they had it made, now may never make it. It's a cold business.

Matt from Campus: I know there is still a month of basketball left, but can/will Nate win most improved player in the ACC? Also, students are back and covid cases have been on the rise these last few days. Do you know how/if that changes what the players have to go though on a day to day basis?

Tom Noie: Matt: Good stuff, but I think Jay Huff might have the inside track on most improved. Or Keve Aluma. Knowing how the voting for those awards work, Notre Dame needs to finish above .500 for Nate Laszewski to have any chance. As for what's happening now with classes back in session, that's what worries me. It's the first time this year that classes are in session during hoops season. The Irish still have the same isolation protocols in place, but you just don't know. Drop me an email (tnoie@sbtinfo) if you've heard/seen anything out of the protocol ordinary

The Man: Zach August’s should be in the NBA period.

Tom Noie: Post of the day here. Should end it right there. Nope. We roll on.

joe from the south side: Tom: I guess I'll have to water it down. Yes it is harder to recruit at ND. So, maybe Brey needs to outwork other coaches. If he is unwilling to do so, maybe they should hire some new blood who is hungrier. Kelly remade his staff after much soul searching. Maybe it's time for the hoops team to do the same. Not Brey quitting, just maybe some new fresh face on his staff.

Morgan McKinley: Tom - you can be the judge but as the defense, please make the prosecution answer our question.

Tom Noie: Second warning???? lol

Morgan McKinley: Speaking of the NBA - I would guess Thomas would be the most surprising guy after his freshman year never to play in the NBA. Other nominations you thought during their ND days were gonna make it?

Tom Noie: Morgan: Not after his knee crumbled the way it did late in his career. He played most of his final year and a half on one leg. He never had a chance. Should've left after freshman year, but nobody could've predicted that.

joe from the south side: Tom: I'll toss another name out there. Injury wrecked his career like Thomas and Rex P. How about Torin Francis? Never the same ballplayer post injury.

Tom Noie: True and false. Torin never was the same kind of player after his back injury, but the guy only recently retired, like a couple months ago, from playing professionally. He maxed out his career after nearly 15 years. That's pretty good

Morgan McKinley: Tom - since this is lasting longer than expected, more questions but away from recruiting. What can you tell us about Rob Balanis. He’s a DeMatha guy but how good was he at GaTech? Amazing he’s stayed with Brey so long - why is that? Has he considered being a HC lately? What specifically is his main focus as assistant?

Tom Noie: Morgan: You must be new around here. Lasting longer than expected? We usually go four-plus hours talking hoops. So shotgun a RedBull and get your second wind. Rod Balanis is the resident staff sage. Guy's got a mind like a steel trap. Kind of a compass when everything goes off track. Had chances as a head coach, but not good enough to leave his current situation.

Matt from Campus: No insider info from me unfortunately. I've just been staying in my room watching this team play basketball and trying not to get sick myself. Another question, though, about the ACC more generally. I read an article yesterday saying there was one lock and 4 "should be ins" for the tourney, with UNC having "work to do." Does the ACC really only get 5 teams into the tournament this year? I know the answer is probably I don't know, and I totally get that! I was just curious about your thoughts. Hoping ND can make a run and make it at least 6!

Tom Noie: Matt: Actually, this I do The fewer the ACC teams the better. It's a down year for the league. Not a lot of really good or OK good teams. That's good news for Notre Dame - there are more league wins to be had. Go get them. Stay safe too my man!

Morgan McKinley: I wasn’t ever able to follow live just read afterwards but Covid has allowed that so I’ll grab an espresso. Thanks for answering so many questions. What do think have been the biggest changes (not including the obvious 1-done and 3s) in CBB in your years as a CBB reporter? And what BB rule change would you make?

Tom Noie: Morgan: Without question, it would be conference realignment and the chase for the almighty dollars in football. Two years removed from sending a record 11 teams to the NCAA tournament in 2011, the Big East imploded as we know it. Notre Dame had finally established an identity in that league and then, it was done. Losing that league all but made two programs - Connecticut and Cincinnati - irrelevant. Like, both were part of the greatest hoops league ever assembled. And then, members of the American? Absolute irrelevance. And the realignment made zero sense. Rutgers in the Big Ten? Maryland? Notre Dame in the ACC? Instead of bussing up to Pittsburgh, West Virginia would get a plan for....Lubbock? It wrecked a lot of good in college hoops.

Tom Noie: As for the rule, I'd widen the lane to trapezoid. Would improve movement and keep it from being all clogged up. The game's about moving and cutting and passing. Not traffic jams around the rim.

The Man: Back to my Zach auguste point. Why is he not the NBA?

Tom Noie: Why should he be? Join the list - Jerian Grant, Bonzie Colson, Demetrius Jackson, Zach Auguste....the window opens a crack for each of them to do something, and then it closes. Usually for good. Some guys make it, other guys don't. It's about finding that one team that you fit with. Ducan Robinson found it in Miami. Most guys can't. Most guys are destined to play overseas. That's still a pretty good life.

Morgan McKinley: Sorry hit Enter. NBAs - Quinn, Pat, Kurz, Troy, Grant, Bonzie, Carroll, DJ, Harangody, who else?

Tom Noie: Ben Hansbrough spent some time with the Pacers. Couple others in summer leagues. That's pretty much it.

Andrew: Hi Tom, younger fan here, what happened to Cam Biedscheid after his promising start??

Tom Noie: Andrew: Never really found his niche academically or athletically. He had it in his mind that he'd be a starter as a sophomore even though that team was loaded with veteran guys. Didn't want to wait his turn, didn't want to do the work, so he left the day after Jerian Grant was tossed for his academic issues. Never really played Division I - or any basketball - again.

Tom Noie: Funny what everyone was saying about the Grant-Biedscheid one-two punch leaving the program in December of 2013. That Mike Brey had lost it. That the program was in the gutter. That it was a sign that Notre Dame hoops never would be any good. That it was time to reassess Brey as a coach. Year later, the Irish were 32-6 and in the Elite Eight. What does that mean? It means that you just don't know, even if you think you know.

Morgan McKinley: Tom - do you want to comment here about the Ayers situation?

Tom Noie: Morgan: Not sure what else needs to be said. Let's have the legal system do its job and see where it goes. We broke the story, and yes, there's a whole lot more to what we can print. I'll say what I've said from the start - for the good of all involved, this can't go to trial. Hopefully Ryan Ayers understands that and accepts any plea deal that might be offered.

Mark Kruz from Mishawaka: Tom with Jack Nolan retiring do you have a cool story to share with us about him in your travels with ND hoops? G rated of course lol

Tom Noie: Mark: Too many to mention. Back when covering college hoops was normal, shared many a pre-game meal in many arena dining rooms with Jack. He already was a respected voice and a pro's pro when I arrived in 1998. He was a friend first. I'll always be thankful for him and for those times. We saw a lot together.

JT: Please explain Brey's philosophy of taking a TO with about 9 minutes left and usually leaving himself short a TO at the end of the game?

Tom Noie: JT: If you're referring to the other night in Atlanta, I'm OK with it. Notre Dame got the ball back with 7.2 seconds left. In that situation, would you rather go against a set defense out of a timeout or let the defense try and figure it out on the fly? I'll take Door No. 2 with a confidence that your guys are going to make the right play. But he's never been, gotta have a timeout in case guy. He figures his guys will figure it out at the end. That narrative is right there with Notre Dame hoops has done little under Brey. Bring something fresh! lol

Morgan McKinley: I’ll keep asking until this ends!! Looking back, hasn’t Brey’s tenure been in waves? Hot from the start, near misses, great Hansborough era, then to 2014-16, died off a bit on to the 2022 Final Four. But seriously, do you see it that way, as a natural progression like happens in life?

Tom Noie: Morgan: You keep asking, I'll keep answering. There's slippage, but there's reasons for slippage if you really want to look closely and drill down on it. Injuries are a factor. Player development is a factor. A program that has run a certain way for so long suddenly can't run that way, that's a factor. Notre Dame isn't Duke or Carolina or Kansas stringing together 20-plus seasons of NCAA tournament runs. This isn't 1970 or 1980. It's difficult to do.

Bob: Shouldn’t the criteria for the next coach to be the best candidate no matter their race ? Ty willingham was a bad choice just like Charlie Weis and Bob Davie were poor choices. I’m all for a young, black head coach if he is determined to be the best candidate based on his qualifications and other criteria for the job. But to assume that up front is a mistake in

Tom Noie: Bob: Nobody's assuming it. But it's a whole lot easier to say, how about this route instead of saying yeah, it's going to be Martin Ingelsby or Chris Quinn or John Beilein. Yeah, um, why??? What would lead anyone to think those three should be on any short list? The point is NOBODY knows who the coach is going to be or who the AD is going to be looking to hire the new coach when that day arrives. Why not go outside the box of choosing Coach in Waiting A, B or C and make a different kind of hire? That's what made replacing Muffet McGraw with Niele Ivey so ... refreshing. You're not going to the same retread list of coaching candidates and picking off the first few that might be on EVERYONE'S short list. Think different. Think revolutionary. If Notre Dame is as forward thinking as it likes to say it is, then go that route. Be different. Be Notre Dame. Right?

Morgan McKinley: Back to recruiting then. What leeway does ND have for recruits with so so academics? Obviously guys who go to SEC schools, yes I said it, wouldn’t be able to go to ND but what does a top 50 player need academically to be admitted, at a minimum? And at very difficult schools like Stanford, Duke, Georgetown & others is that the same standards

Tom Noie: Of the Top 100 players nationally, Notre Dame might be able to look at 10 seriously for academic admission. Of those 10, you might have maybe three or four who have legit interest in Notre Dame. That's a pretty small pool. It's one that Notre Dame often chooses not to swim in.

JT: Just mean he burns timeouts in almost every game at around the 9 minute mark. Why? What is the philosophy behind it? Is there some metric/reason that points to this time of the game for a timeout? I'm just trying to understand.

Tom Noie: JT: It might mean myriad things. He sees something he doesn't like on offense. Or a hole in the defense. Or wants to say something to a particular player about a just-made decision. I think it also says that he doesn't value timeouts anywhere near the fan base does.

Liam from London:: Tom, a few questions came into my wheelhouse as a broadcast journalist covering European basketball. Ben Hansbrough played two seasons in Spain. He played for Gran Canaria and Saski Baskonia in Vitoria. He was a Big East Player of the Year, but was just an average pro in Spain. Similarly, Luke Harangody played for Valencia and Badalona in Spain. Like Ben, he was a Big East POY, but was just a journeyman pro. He just finished last year. Zach Auguste plays a small role for Panathinaikos, Athens who play in the Euroleague, the best league outside the NBA. Zach plays a small roll as a screener and a banger. Probably the most successful recent ND guy in Europe is Tim Abromaitis. He has played for Tenerife, Zenit St Petersburg - Euroleauge - and now plays for Malaga in Spain.

Tom Noie: Liam: Good stuff, and love hearing about my man Tim Abro. Still will say that he doesn't blow out his knee his final year, he's the Big East player of the year. Guy's now a pro's pro.

Morgan McKinley: What are the toughest 3 road venues currently if no Covid? Easiests? How does Joyce rank?

Tom Noie: Morgan: Toughest - Cameron Indoor, Smith Center, Yum! Center. Easiest - Conte Forum, Joel Coliseum, Watsco Center. Purcell Pavilion kind of middle of the road. It has its moments, but it also has a lot of quiet ones as well.

Morgan McKinley: Tom - gotta go buy thanks for answering so many questions. See you next month getting ready to make a Final Four run!!!

Tom Noie: Gonna hold you to that, my man! Be well and stay healthy!

Dwight from central Arkansas: I know this subject has been discussed numerous times, but It still doesn't make sense in some ways. Brey likes 'old' when it comes to players. I watched the ND-Duke game and he used 7 players. I would look at the bench and see the young guys sitting there realizing they weren't going to play, as in many games. Duke played a lot of younger guys and it will pay off I have to believe. I don't know why a high school senior would consider ND when he knows the bench will be his home for 1 or 2 years until they ripen. Does he lose out on some prospective players who go elsewhere because of that factor? The 2 South Bend kids coming in next year are destined to sit beside Sanders, Zona & company.

Tom Noie: Dwight: I think it's made pretty clear on the front end if you're interested in Notre Dame that the way the program works is you'll get time to grow your game. To adjust to the college life in every way. Take your time and figure out what the ACC is all about and how your game fits. How demanding the academic challenges are. You may not play much as a freshman. You may not play much as a sophomore. But when you're a junior, you're going to log heavy minutes. I don't know if any freshman this year or the year the current juniors were freshmen expected to be major players. Get old, stay old is how this program was able to survive in the Big East, now the ACC.

JT: What is your evaluation of Goodwin? The JR class as a whole? Thanks

Tom Noie: Finding his fit. Love that he doesn't rely solely on his outside shot. Still think he misses too many open looks. But like how he's not afraid to go post up if the matchup dictates. Would like to see him get to the foul line more. He's too good a foul shooter to have taken only 43 in 18 games.

Tom Noie: Junior class? It was going to take time before we saw what we're seeing. Thing is, too many want it now, now, now. It doesn't work that way. They were too good not to be good.

JT: Agree with Goodwin, needs to be much more aggressive. Even demanding on the offensive end when he floats through the paint area. I would love to see more "Tripucka" attitude out of him.

Tom Noie: Can we go with someone from this century on this? Like say, Ben Hansbrough? Or Matt Farrell? Not everything about Irish hoops has to compare to 1978 and Tripucka and Digger et al. Sorry. Rant over. LOL

Mike from Madison, WI: Any idea as to who maybe replacing Jack Nolan?

Tom Noie: None. It's not an easy job. Well into 80 hours a week. Will be interesting who wants that role.

JT: Sorry Tom, just are almost exactly the same size and that is what came to mind. We are about the same age my man. I enjoy all ages of ND basketball. When your a kid just seems those teams are stay with you forever.

Tom Noie: It's all good!

Jimmy: Listen I don’t know if you said this already I just got here but will the Ivy League allowing seniors return impact Paul Atkinson? I find it hard to believe it will but I really hope not. PLEASE

Tom Noie: Jimmy: That news about the Ivy League allowing graduates to stay with their schools and compete next year broke during the chat. I've reached out to Paul Atkinson to see if it changes his thinking. Have not heard from him. Will also ask Mike Brey during our scheduled media Zoom session on Friday.

Chet from Indiana: You know it’s a great chat when Disco Rod (balanis) gets a shout out! Will the Ivy League news have any effect on Atkinson or is he locked and loaded for ND?

Tom Noie: Rod (wave to get fans to stand up) Balanis is good people.

Robb, Durango: Hey Tom, Any chance they have alternate's for the NCAA tournament? If you have teams need to drop out due to Covid after being selected, can a team like ND be a first alternate or something?

Tom Noie: Robb: Don't think that's part of the plan, because any alternate team would have to have followed the NCAA quarantine protocols to be eligible to get them to Indianapolis. It's all contingent on being really, really careful and confident that the plans will remain in place.

Chet from Indiana: Okay you’re a basketball coach -hypothetical scenario: your team is down 2, the other team has the ball with a 4 second differential on the shot and game clock. No timeouts remaining.

Tom Noie: My guy's getting a steal and breakaway layup as time expires. Easy.

Tom Noie: That will do it for today. Solid effort. Let's do it again, maybe early in March. Where will Notre Dame be then? Where will the ACC? College basketball? Will be fascinating to see it all play out. Question or comment can't wait, drop me an email at Take care and stay healthy!