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Notre Dame Basketball

Beachem Not Taking NCAA Tournament for Granted

March 13, 2017
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VJ Beachem is a veteran of the NCAA Tournament, as Thursday will mark his third appearance in the Big Dance. The 6-foot-8 has forward been a vital part Notre Dame’s back-to-back Elite 8 appearances, but this time around he will be the guy, and he will rely on his past experiences starting against Princeton to kickoff the tournament.

“Just knowing what it takes to be successful in the tournament and not take it for granted,” Beachem said of what he’s learned. “You have to be ready to go, and you have to be ready to be locked in no matter who you’re playing against.”

The Irish had a big season finishing second-place in the ACC and the ACC Tournament, and Beachem hopes that confidence will carry over for a few more weeks.  

“We’re very a confident team, whether it’s what we’ve done this regular season or what we’ve done in the past,” he explained. “We can draw on those on those experience, but it doesn’t separate us from anyone else. We have to play on Thursday regardless.”

As a senior, Beachem has seen Notre Dame go from being glad they made the tournament to larger expectations entering the first weekend. The fans may have high expectations, but they probably don’t match Beachem’s or Notre Dame’s expectations as they look to make some noise.

“Maybe a little bit, as far as in our own minds,” Beachem said of expectations.”We just try to take it game by game. We try to get a win. From the outside, people may think more of us when the postseason comes around than before, but as a team, we just have a great confidence because we have been able to do it before. It’s not like we’re putting any pressure on ourselves.”

Few expected the Irish to reel off a mini-run in the ACC Tournament last week, but Notre Dame played quality basketball over a three-day period to advance to the finals. Beachem believes his team is playing some of their best basketball. However, there is also room for improvement.

“I definitely say defensively we are,” said Beachem. “Offensively, we could be doing a little better. Defensively, we have been locked in. Even against Duke, they made some big-time shots.”

As Notre Dame heads to Buffalo this week, Beachem is trying to keep his team loose and making sure they know what is at stake starting with Princeton.

“We know we were this close to hanging a banner in here, but now we have another opportunity to do it,” Beachem said of the ACC Tournament. “I joked around upstairs during the Selection Show, we already have an ACC Tournament crown, but we haven’t been to the Final Four in a while, so let’s try to do that.”  
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