Playing in the ACC is tough no matter how you look at it. This season will be no different for Notre Dame.
Not many are surprised that Notre Dame basketball is missing from the Preseason AP Poll. Losing Matt Farrell and Bonzie Colson after a season where the Irish disappointingly did not make the Tournament and had an early exit in the NIT simply was not a recipe of success heading into the preseason polls.
Notre Dame is bringing in a strong recruiting class: Four top-100 recruits round out the five-player class. Many are excited to see what guard Prentiss Hubb will bring, and Nate Laszewski is already earning high praise. Laszewski ranked seventh on Jeff Goodman’s top 30 shooters in college basketball before ever playing a game of college basketball.
There’s a lot of good that can come from the Irish this season, but a lot has to be proven which is why you won’t see them landing on the preseason top 25 poll.
One takeaway from the preseason AP Poll is how difficult the schedule will be. Head coach Mike Brey won’t complain about it, nor will anyone else on the team. It’s part of playing in the ACC.
Notre Dame will face nine teams that found a spot on the preseason top 25. Two of those teams, the Irish will face twice.
The list goes as follows – No. 4 Duke, No. 5 Virginia (twice), No. 8 UNC, No. 15 Virginia Tech (twice), No. 16 Syracuse, No. 17 Florida State, No. 21 UCLA, No. 22 Clemson and No. 24 Purdue.
The ACC has seven teams in the poll–the most of any conference–and four others receiving votes. Notre Dame leads the “receiving votes” group.
At the end of the day, this is what the Irish want. With a 21-15 record, the Irish barely missed the tournament last season. That was a year plagued by injuries to Colson, Farrell and D.J. Harvey.
In need of a better record this season, Notre Dame knows the difficulty of their schedule. Yet, playing in such a daunting conference, you can afford a few losses and still make the tournament.
It’s a young team with plenty of newcomers. They will be a hungry and energized squad if Brey can keep his team pushing through the strenuous schedule.