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Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | 3.8

March 8, 2021

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey spoke on Monday afternoon as the Irish prepare to open the ACC Tournament on Tuesday against Wake Forest at 7pm. 

On routine in Greensboro:
"The one thing we can't do is get out and get a shootaround tomorrow. You cannot leave the bubble and use UNCG. Greensboro Day is a high school we've used here. There is a practice court they're using, but all the teams that play Wednesday are on it all day tomorrow. We have a 7pm game and no shootaround, and that's probably overrated at this point. We'll walk through a couple things in the ballroom. We had a good 45 minutes today. 

"It's eerily quiet in this hotel. They've got Miami, Boston College, Wake Forest, Pitt and us. The kids are in single rooms. They're not even putting the kids together and there is nobody else in this hotel. We're all going to test at 7pm. This is our test to see if we can go tomorrow night. It's very different." 

On what has allowed the program to have success in the ACC Tournament over the last six years:
"When I look at the record in the ACC Tournament at 10-5, it's funny because I go back and forth. We could never get to Saturday night in the Big East. We got to Friday a little bit, but we've been better in this tournament than we were in the Big East Tournament. 

"It's probably the makeup of our group a little bit - the guys that we've had and then it becomes a little bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy that you've had some success before and you believe again. 

"I've spent a lot of time in this hotel and Greensboro Coliseum over the years. Hopefully, we can recapture some of that juice. I'm certainly selling that and Saturday's performance helps me sell it better because there's an uptick after a big downtick on Wednesday. We're talking about it being our town. Of course, we have the Tobacco Road bracket here."

On why he believes this team can continue to play well:
"I think maybe Saturday gives them some life to feel that we can get on a run. If you don't get Saturday, as the leader, you're really trying to sell and come up with stuff, and it's hard. 

"We watched some scouting video this afternoon and I had a bunch of clips of the Florida State game. How we rebounded physically, handled pressure, which we hadn't done very well to date, and our movement. More cutting. I thought they needed to see themselves to remind them what they did." 

On Wake Forest:
"I watched Wake Forest and they have 10 athletic guys and they're going to shoot the heck out of the ball. They have nothing to lose and they're kind of home here on home base. We have to expect a hard game. We're here in a better frame of mind than we've been for a while." 

On the team building on the win against Florida State: 
"Your self-esteem is tied to winning and losing. We had lost four in a row and then had a horrible performance on Wednesday against NC State. A lot of that was NC State-driven. They're playing really well and kind of took our spirit. 

"Having said that, you feel yourself play well against a good team - you know what helped us on Saturday, it was the first time we had people cheering for us in the building. We did our job to play well so they would cheer for us, but we had some more people in the building and we moved them down. It actually felt like a home atmosphere. I thought that picked our kids up." 

On winning games as the underdog:
"I think our guys know the sense of urgency when you get to the conference tournament. The kids we've had since 2015 - that group really believed it was their time. They had great leadership and older guys that said now is the time. 

"We had to do that Saturday. We had to rally on a lot of fronts to beat a really good team. You had a feel for that a little bit. What happens when you get one in a conference tournament, you can ride some momentum. Getting that first one, you feel like you can get on a bit of a roll.

*Insert Winning percentage joke:
"This is the year that winning percentage in the standings took precedence over the number of games. Well, we have the best winning percentage in the history of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro at 4-1. We've only played five games, but this is the year of winning percentage, so we may come out with a flag tomorrow and have my walk-on run out with a flag. We're first, Carolina is second and Duke is third. Now, Carolina and Duke have played like 120 games, but it's the year of winning percentage. I'm going to ride that one to my grave." 

On Cormac Ryan and Dane Goodwin coming off the bench:
"We're going to start the same way. We're not going to mess around with that. Certainly, (Nik) Djogo gave us great movement. He's our greatest cutter and mover. Actually, Prentiss (Hubb) got to be a better cutter in the last couple days.

"That's a lot of firepower coming in and you have some guards who can score and play. Hopefully, we can get the same kind of punch we got the other day when we bring them off tomorrow night." 

On Blake Wesley and JR Konieczny winning sectional titles:
"What's so sad about this COVID, I would have seen both of those guys play about 10 times already, but you can't go on the road. We had a great group text going and we're so proud of those guys. 

"I hope we have a normal summer school and I feel we're trending that way. I'm excited about getting both of those kids in our program and our laboratory where guys get better. 

"I was very excited for them and I know they both have big challenges on Saturday. I miss them. These two kids are in my town, and we've developed an unbelievable relationship, and they pretty much lived on our campus and played pickup with our guys. They haven't been able to step foot on campus since March. I've not seen them face-to-face personally since March. It's really frustrating, but God bless them. It's been fun watching them break records and play well." 

On selling the one-game winning streak:
"I got some ammo. It's why we watched a lot of us today. They felt it. I give them a lot of credit. Wednesday night across the board was a really tough night. When you have great kids, they came back and rallied for the seniors and did their thing. You do have some ammunition with Saturday's performance. If you didn't have that performance, it's a harder sales job and I've been on that side of it too. Luckily, not that much, but a few times." 

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Mike Brey Notebook | 3.8

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