Notre Dame took our emotions to the limit as they beat the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks with the “Rexurrection.”
I am not a very analytical basketball writer or fan, so you will have to excuse my barbarian style of “reporting” anything when it comes to Notre Dame basketball. I ride off of pure emotion while viewing the game and grasping the scope of the rewards and consequences. It’s actually way more fun than you may realize- but I digress right from the jump.
Notre Dame has been a team on the edge all season. Most of their big wins and some of their losses have come at the hands of walking that edge and either owning it- or falling right off of it. A prime example of owning that edge came the other night when Notre Dame beat Michigan. As Mike Brey has mentioned on more than a few occasions, this team needs a big hit over the head sometimes to get its act together and start playing good basketball.
The problem with that kind of “wait” is that good teams can exploit you enough to beat you. The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks are such a team and they had two very important factor in their favor:
- They play an aggressive press defense that can take over a game and create big runs in their favor.
- They have a hot hand- or in this case a hot beard (years of purgatory just got added for that comment).
In some ways, this felt like a Notre Dame football game. The opponent had a player (with a story- in this case a bad grooming decision) that was playing lights out, and if you were watching from home… announcers that basically submitted to sacrifice their first born sons and offer up their daughters for no dowry all in the name of Thomas Walkup.
It was gross.
In the end, it was a magical moment from a guy who scored the most important points of the day as his only points of the day that catapulted the Irish into the Sweet Sixteen. Rex Pflueger tipped the ball off the glass and into the bucket saving Notre Dame’s season. It was a “Rexurrection” of sorts as he was witnessed to have died after an absolutely sick dunk from Demetrious Jackson.
Notre Dame got all it could handle of Thomas Walkup and the rest of the Lumberjacks, but guys like VJ Beachem, Zach Auguste, and Jackson all scored in double figures and played well at the same time for the first time in what seemed like a month.
Sweet Sixteen berths don’t come that often for Notre Dame, but here they are for the second year in a row. And if they want to reach the Elite Eight for the second year in a row, they will have to take down Wisconsin. If they do that, they will face either North Carolina or Indiana in the regional finals for the rights to head to the Final Four.
Notre Dame lost to both of those teams this past season while riding that edge, but they are very capable of beating those teams as well. The ultimate resurrection is at hand, and our emotion on that edge is dancing on the balance. For all I don’t know or don’t care about, I know that this is the big time and I’m all in. We are raised up.