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Notre Dame Basketball

John Mooney: 'We're not dead in the water'

March 3, 2020

There isn't much John Mooney hasn't done over the last year on the court, but beating a ranked is the goal this week.

The Irish have lost 20 consecutive games against ranked teams and No. 7 Florida State comes to Purcell Pavilion on Wednesday. 

"It would mean a lot coming off a disappointing loss on Saturday," Mooney said of getting a win against Florida State. "It can jumpstart us again. Obviously, we needed the last one, but we're not dead in the water and it's not the end of the world. 

"We have a great opportunity on Wednesday to get a ranked team at home." 

Mooney, who is second in the country averaging 12.8 rebounds a night, didn't have an answer for the struggles against ranked teams, but the one-point loss in Tallahassee in January gives the Irish confidence. 

"I don't know," stated Mooney. "I don't want to say it's a struggle. We haven't won one in a while. It's an opportunity and we're going to embrace the challenge. We're excited and looking forward to it. We're going to let it rip and try to get the job done." 

Notre Dame suffered a devasting blow with the loss to Wake Forest on Saturday, but the Irish aren't down. 

"Confidence has never wavered," explained Mooney. "I think we're playing just as good as anyone else in the league given our last month or two of play. We're going to continue to go to work.

"We have a chance to push the button a little more. We've been playing well the last month or two. It's really a matter of keeping it up, flushing this past weekend and continuing to work." 

The experts feel Notre Dame is out of the running for the Big Dance outside of winning the ACC Tournament. 

Mooney and his fellow captains know anything can happen and continuing to play hard is all they can do at this point. 

"We don't exactly know where we're going to be this postseason," said Mooney. "We're going to take it one game at a time and it starts Wednesday with Florida State. 

"We have a chance to push it a little more and make it interesting. Why not do it?" 

Mooney knows making the NCAA Tournament will be an uphill battle with two regular seasons games remaining, but it doesn't mean he has stopped leading or pushing his team. 

"Our backs are against the wall right now," Mooney stated. "We have to really embrace every opportunity that's in front of us. We have to stay laser-focused. We're fighting for our lives. Every game at this point matters. Every possession matters. It's about staying focused and locked in each play and each day.

"The theme of this year is we only really care about the people in our locker room from one to 12, the coaching staff and our managers. Those are the people we care about. We don't really care about what anyone else is saying - all the bracket experts."

Notre Dame's seniors will play their final two home games at Purcell Pavilion this week and expect them to leave it all on the floor. 

"There is urgency given the fact we only have two more regular-season games," said Mooney. "It's weird to think of, so we're going to leave it all out there and give it everything we have these next couple weeks. 

"It really is a matter of taking it one game at a time. That's been our focus the last month and I think that's why we've made a jump. We're going to continue to do that." 

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John Mooney: 'We're not dead in the water'

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