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Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | North Carolina Loss

March 10, 2021

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey spoke following the disappointing 101-59 loss to North Carolina on Wednesday night. 

On the loss:
"They're playing good and they're really good. After watching them against Duke on Saturday night, I was scared to death if we got to them. My worst fears came true. They just overwhelmed us. 

"I think it was an 11-point game in the second half and the roof fell in and we couldn't do anything inside. They certainly have big bodies that keep pounding on you. Their defense was great too." 

On how Notre Dame can be down 50 points: 
"I don't know. That's a great question. I don't know. We just kind of got overwhelmed. I don't know if we had much left after last night. We kind of pulled out of our backside just to stay alive. I was very concerned about if we had enough juice to hang around. 

"We really didn't. I don't even know how it was an 11-point game at the 16-minute mark." 

On giving up offensive rebounds:
"It's been a weakness of ours all year. We're not a great defensive rebounding team. It's my worst fear and it's their greatest strength. It just started off as volleyball.

"They have great bodies that can go get the ball even if you have a fundamental block out." 

On evaluating the program and recapturing success:
"I would say this group coming back going into my 22nd year is in the same boat as my seventh year. We had missed the tournament three years and this will be three or four however you want to count it. 

"You have to go back. We did in year seven. We had to go back in year seven and had some momentum. I think I'm right on that mat again. Been there, done that. There's a nucleus of guys coming back. Hard to evaluate them tonight, but some of them have gotten better this year. We get a big guy who is a proven low post player, Paul Atkinson. 

"We were picked 12th. I don't think people really thought much of us this season. If you notice, we weren't on Big Monday at all. If you're not on Big Monday, you're not really thought of the top ones and rightfully so. We'll probably be picked a little higher next year and then it's a dog fight to go back. 

"I told them a year from this Selection Sunday our goal should be to see our name flash. That's the crossroads we're at." 

On the challenge for five returning upperclassmen:
"You kind of thanked the seniors and then you start talking about next year. Leadership, we only have two captains left, Cormac and Prentiss. Are Nate and Dane going to show some signs to do that? Are they going to play in an NCAA Tournament before their career ends? Those are the things I talked about in the locker room. 

"We didn't talk about the game. We talked about how to get back a year from this Sunday. We'll probably get together this Sunday at my house because I want to see if that can be a reference point for us a year from now if we're good enough to earn a bid.

"Year 22 is like year seven. The line is drawn in the sand and we have to get back. I've been in that mode before in year seven and maybe year 13 our back was against the wall. That's where we're at and I hope we have a summer. I think we'll have a summer school. No one has told me yet. That could help us.

"Tonight was a tough one to really evaluate. The five guys coming back have played a lot of basketball and Paul Atkinson gives you six guys who have played a lot. Then it's a matter of who joins the party. We have some guys coming off IR, and the two freshmen are gifted young guys. JR and Blake are two really gifted young guys. How do they help us? 

"Those six have played a lot. A lot of those guys got better. Wasn't good enough to earn an NCAA bid. I get that, but we have played the hardest schedule we've ever played. We played 11 home games and 15 away from the building. We threw the whole group to the wolves. I think the challenge, as I told them in there, is how do we react? How do we grow from it? A year from Sunday, we need to show up in that bracket. Plain and simple."

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Mike Brey Notebook | North Carolina Loss

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