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Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | March 1st

March 1, 2022

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey spoke before the Irish head to Tallahassee for a Wednesday night tip. 

On what he’d like to get out of the trip to Tallahassee (outside of a fine): 
”I can guarantee you I will mentally put myself in a trance two minutes before the game. Shutup and don't get involved with the officials. That was crazy and a heck of a game. 

"I did tell our guys we haven't won there, ever. I don't care about bracketology or double byes - we've never won in Tallahassee. We've played out butts off a couple times. How about we try and get one in Tallahassee? That's kind of been our message this week." 

On Florida State:
"A little different. Still have their length and they switch stuff. Their injuries- we've all rotated through that. The injuries have knocked them back. I think they may get another guy back for tomorrow. 

"Switching, length, you can't really run offense. You have to be a basketball player because they switch everything. I'm going to tell our guys this, the last time we played, we didn't do a very good job of keeping Wake Forest out of the lane and off the backboard. When we've done that, especially on the road, we've gotten off to good starts. They're very similar to Wake Forest. Bodytypes, driving you, up on the backboard and athletic. 

“When we’ve taken care of the ball against them, we’ve been able to move it and get good looks. We’ve made shots at times, but it’s going to be a 7-foot guy switching on Blake Wesley and Prentiss Hubb. How do we read it? Do we drive it or feed the post?”

On message to the team the final week of the regular season:
”I've tried to keep hope alive of sharing the regular-season title. If they drop one and we win two, Duke gets the one-seed in Brooklyn, but you get a trophy. It's realistic the way the league is and college basketball. It's kept us in the day-to-day and week-to-week." 

On how the program is looking at NCAA Tournament:
”Even if we were on the bubble, you try not to talk about it too much because you don't want guys tight. Not to say we're a lock yet, but we've got a hell of a resume. It keeps you in the week-to-week. 

"We've never won in Tallahassee period. Let's stop with what it means with everything else. Let's see if we can win one in Tallahassee. 

"I thought an interesting stat in the game notes and we've been an example of this. It's the highest percentage of road teams winning since 1987 in the league. It feels that way. 1987 was the last time road teams this good or home teams were this bad." 

On offensive change going into the Kentucky game:
”I actually said a couple times last year we need more structure. We can't be as free with this group as maybe we've had in the past. We have our circle set and some sets, but I think we need something continuity-wise. I kick myself we never really committed to it, even though offensively, I think we were No. 25. We couldn't guard anyone. 

"I felt we just needed a little more. We spent so much time defensively in the summer because that was the elephant in the room. We started playing offensively and Boston College, we were all over the floor and we needed a little more. 

"There was a tempo control aspect to this. When we are in halfcourt offense, we're going to swing it a couple times and for a while, our tempo started getting into the Virginia territory. Kentucky was we're swinging it and it was a little bit of a sneaky burn and limit possessions.

"Lately, we've gotten out and run and played a little faster. We needed a framework to play off of a little bit more. That's helped us and I think tempo control helped our defense because they weren't having to guard as many possessions. It's a page out of the Virginia book." 

On allowing the team to have more freedom (again) on offense:
"As we reeled them in and felt the framework, now we play out of it. We were very robotic at first. I've always wanted guys to flow. Now, they're starting to make some different reads out of the framework. I do like our transition, which we didn't talk much about running as we were trying to get our heart rate going back in December. We were going to slow it down and hopefully make enough threes because we knew where they were going to come from." 

On the comfort level of the team playing free, but within the framework:
"They have a great feel. They know who they are. I think roles are really defined. I want them to have some rope and go for it. We've always coached that way offensively. We've had many skilled offensive guys. 

"Hubb is really at the controls of this thing. Actually, Blake (Wesley) has come a long way in quarterbacking when he enters the ball and getting us into the right sets. 

"One of the assistants said he's (Cormac Ryan) dribbling too much and I said, relax, man. I said he's averaging 13 a game and let him dribble. If he dribbles off his foot once and gets 13, I'll take that. It's a trade-off." 

On Florida State concerns:
"The switching, can we manage a big guy guarding our guards and guards guarding our bigs? It's hard to make a pass. I'm interested to see if we can run our motion because they jump the passing lanes. 

"Sometimes as we played this group, it's been ball screen and playing spacing. The second half of the Boston College game, we said forget motion because they were switching everything and jumping stuff. 

"I'm intrigued to see can we swing the ball because they're just up on you, or can we pass it, or are we going to have to drive and make plays out of it? Our nights that we've had chances, we've had a lot of open looks after we've distorted them and we've made a bunch of double-digit threes." 

On the importance of getting an early lead:
"Anytime on the road and in our road wins, we've gotten off to pretty good starts. That always helps if you're getting confident out of the gate. We couldn't do that at Wake, but at NC State, we did that and got out and ran early. 

"Anytime you can get moving early and feel good about yourself - I think these guys like playing in front of a road crowd. They like quieting a road crowd. In some ways, I think Hubb loves the road better than home because he loves - sometimes he over gestures. He's set the tone for us. 

"As we talked about Cormac Ryan starting, I think it's got him comfortable and predictable. As much as you say as a coach, starting doesn't matter, starting matters. Nate (Laszewski) has been really comfortable in this role. I'm not messing with it now, but who knows down the road." 

On Cormac Ryan stating starting matters:
"There's nothing like it. You get introduced, man. I thought (Trey) Wertz gave us good stuff and we need him to kind of make open shots and help us handle the ball a bit. Nate has comfortably analyzed and come in and done that. We'll start the same way tomorrow, Saturday, who knows." 

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