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Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | February 22

February 22, 2022

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey spoke on Tuesday as the Irish prepare to host Syracuse. 

On the next three opponents going through adversity on their rosters or with tough scheduling:
"We lived it. There's no question about it. Actually, we played well in it. We were 3-1 in it. They (Syracuse) played overtime the other night and they're coming in - they're coming in feeling good about themselves. They've been winning. They're really gifted. The four of those guys offensively are so gifted and they really shoot the heck out of it. You're not going to stop them.

"Our three-point percentage defense is second in the league. We made great progress there and it's really going to be tested there tomorrow night." 

On protecting homecourt: 
"It should be a great atmosphere. I know I have the students for two of the last three. Spring break, the Pitt game, The Legion will be in Key West, Miami and Tampa. They've been great to us. We're going to ride that and our home crowd has really helped us. 

"We don't escape the Boston College game without some energy in this building. It's really helped our guys. It's just been a neat culture and atmosphere this year. 

"Every game we have is going to be a hard game. It's going to be hard. I don't care what the record is of the team in the league. Boston College last week, hard. Georgia Tech - all I know is when we played them in Atlanta, we escaped. These guys are really good. Hard games coming." 

On being to score when needed to win games:
"It's a gifted offensively group. We can really pass it and we have some threats at different spots. I think we've learned how to play off of each other. Certainly, our two new guys, Blake (Wesley) and Paul (Atkinson), have smoothly been injected into a nucleus that has played a lot together. That nucleus knows how much they need them. It's been a really smooth transition.

"Some nights you have to score to escape. I really thought Saturday, I  thought if we don't get into the 80s, we're not going to win. We didn't get into the 80s. We will have to score some more against these guys because they will score tomorrow night." 

On bounce-back mode:
"I told them the other day after a loss, we've had six, five and four game win streaks. We've been good about getting back on track. It's not been as much as, hey, we're going to bounce back. 

"That's a Prentiss (Hubb) message. He's used that phrase throughout his career here. If he wants to use it, he can because it's his show." 

On attacking Syracuse's zone:
"We've been really good getting foul line touches. Dane (Goodwin) has a lot of experience being the foul line touch guy. We've ball screened it. I don't want not to drive it and take it out of our drivers hands. 

"For Blake, it's been this is going to be different because you're going to play 60 possessions against a zone. You may have to swing it five times before you get a driving opportunity. I'm trying to get him mentally ready for that.

"Prentiss has been great at the top of zones controlling things. Short corner, foul line, but driving it - offensive rebounding. I told Paul about John Mooney two years ago at the Carrier Dome. I think we had 19 offensive rebounds as a team and that a shot should be a post feed to him. We're not going to just feed the post. 

"You have to make a couple of things over the top. I like how we passed the ball. We're good at sharing it and moving it. Can you get some transition before that defense is set?” 

On both teams playing short rotations:
"He's playing some more guys. He's had a guy injured. Certainly a Matt Zona and JR (Konieczny) we get in there.

"Nate (Laszewski) is a little under the weather with a stomach virus. He'll miss today and we'll try to get him ready, but he'll probably be a game time decision for us. The knee is trending the right way.

"We'll get Zona and JR in a white shirt and ready to go." 

On if Syracuse has downshifted throughout the year:
"They really come in with that other guard and they finish the game that way. I told Scott Martin today, they kind of remind me a little bit of his team here. They're all tall, know how to play and they can all stretch out and make a shot. They're old. 

"They were picked up there. They're playing well right now." 

On if teams are playing Dane Goodwin differently at this point in the year:
"He's at the top of the scouting report now. They'll athletically face guard him and really get after him. Tomorrow night is a different story and there won't be a guy. 

"I think people have really physically tried to take him away. We're trying to tell him to pick your spots and we post him some. You can get your drive and you don't have to force your drive. He's an out of bounds option." 

On if he ever had a situation like Juwan Howard did where he was heated following a game:
"Definitely disappointed and you hope you're in control enough to walk through it and shake everyone's hand, move on and express yourself elsewhere. The only time I lost it was when I mentioned John Gaffney's name. I probably shouldn't mention his name again. Is that a fine? I love John Gaffney. 

"That was the one time and as soon as I walked out of the press conference, I turned to Jim and said that's going to cost me. 

"They certainly took a strict disciplinary measure, which they had to do. I'm sure as all of us coaches - Juwan is probably looking back saying, 'Gosh, I wish I would have stepped back a little bit.' 

"Sometimes I have turned to my assistants when there has been a heated game and maybe some stuff with some guys talking to each other because I'm the lead guy - I turned back and gone just keep an eye on the handshake line for the players. It's heated and stuff happens. Usually, it was (Harold) Swanagan and now it's (Ryan) Humphrey. Just stay in the middle of the players and keep an eye on that. 

"You talk about your emotions are running and then all of sudden it ends. When you lose at the buzzer and you have to turn around and shake everyone's hand composed, I give kids credit. They do a great job of it. They do a better job than the adults." 

On some coaches and college hoops figures being against the handshake line:
"I think we have to keep it. Now, you know what happened is during COVID, we just waved to each other and I know the NBA does that. I don't think we need to be dramatic and overreact. 

"Overall, it's been a good thing. It's a good message. You have to remember the young people we're in charge of and it's a good message. It's the adults that have gotten crazy at times. Come on, we need to keep that because 95 percent of it has been really good." 

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Mike Brey Notebook | February 22

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