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Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | Post-Pittsburgh

March 5, 2022

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey spoke following Saturday's win over Pitt. 

On moving the ball: 
"The one thing I love to watch about our group is how they pass and how free their minds are just making the extra pass. I think Prentiss Hubb has jumpstarted this mentality." 

On extra pass mentality:
"What we did with our halfcourt offense with some of the movement where we're getting that high/low look a lot - certainly we know we can throw it to Paul (Atkinson Jr.) in the post and he can score and make plays out of it. 

"I think it's just some guys that have played a while together that really know how to play and have really free minds of sharing the ball because it has worked for them. That's been very gratifying to see." 

On getting to 15 league wins for the first time:
"I know they played more games than other teams, but I said we never had a team win 15 league games. You had a chance to do that. I'm really proud of them. They believe. They have ownership of themselves. They believe they can play until April and they're right. They can play for a long time. They really can. 

"I did also tell them the last time we were in Brooklyn, we left some money on the table. We were bearing down on a second ACC Championship and Bonzie (Colson) twisted that ankle and we couldn't get out of there. I think we're 9-3 at Barclay's. We love that place and we're 11-5 or 6 in the ACC Tournament. 

"I'm excited going back to New York. It has the old Big East feel - going back, being in the city and the energy. They get to play for a trophy. They're focused on doing it and I want to help them, yet not overcoach them." 

On acknowledging team can make a run into April:
"One of the Florida State assistants said you guys can play and get to the Elite 8. I appreciate that. They were disappointed the other night when we lost.

"One of the things I said today was when we've had a loss, we've got on a four-game win streak, a five-game win streak and a six-game win streak. How about we do a 10 and we got one checked off. How about a 10? 

"They're very focused. In the short term, we get to play for an ACC Championship in Brooklyn. It's one of the great memories for me. No great memory than playing on Saturday night for the championship. 

"They have ownership. They believe. The staff and I have to help them get there and turn them loose." 

On team handling senior day with ease:
"I was interested to feel the vibe. I've felt the vibe when it would get sideways for a senior or two the day before. All their families are in town and they're busy them - there's a real calm about this group. It's really cool to see because they deserve it. They've been coachable and battle-tested.

"I've never been more excited about taking a team into the postseason and I've had some pretty good teams. This group excites me as much as Hansbrough's group or Jerian and Pat's group.”

On senior class sticking with it over the last four years: 
"It's really a neat story. I told you guys about them being at my house 358 days ago. They'll be back next Sunday and to be able to close that loop, I've been thinking about that as we trend into this thing. This is really going to be neat for them. It's chasing it down as a group over one year. That'll be cool." 

On moment with Prentiss Hubb when he checked out:
"He's like a son, man. He's been through it all. How he's led and adjusted and understood his weapons around him this year and how he's helped Blake (Wesley) and Paul (Atkinson) feel like, 'hey, we really need you guys, so I'm going to take care of you.' 

"It's one of the great quarterbacking jobs we've ever had here. Tonight, how many great screens did he set? He's screening for his teammates. He's throwing it in there and then he gets an open one. He deserves it. He's a winner. He's been a big part of it.

"God, we had a lot of families here with seven of them rolling out. It was one of the quickest roll throughs and my job is to keep some of them back for a second senior day, but we'll deal with that later." 

On what has allowed him to talk openly about goals for the team:
"Leadership. Experience. We have really improved defensively, which is something we attacked starting in June. I always thought we'd be good offensively, but I thought the format we gave them to play out of after the BC game, they have embraced. 

"We've had different guys make big plays when it's on the line. Different guys have made plays and I just want them to keep believing. The interesting thing is we've never worn the dark jersey in our first-round game. We've only been an 8-seed one time in Greenville. 

"That may change on how we do in Brooklyn, but we've always been in the white jerseys. If we are in the blue jerseys, it's one of those road dogs and nothing to lose. I just want them to go for it. We don't have anything to protect. Let's just go for it and it starts Thursday night. They have great ownership and I've learned as a more experienced guy to let them set the tone for you. Don't overcoach them." 

On ACC awards coming out next week:
"Not everyone will get their due. I used to worry at times about that as we went to the ACC or Big East Tournament. 'God, he's really had a good year, but I don't know if that's going to mess him up.' 

"With this group, if guys get short-changed, or we feel they get short-changed, I think they have chased this together and have smelled it. The fabric is so strong. I don't think it's going to be a factor. 

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