One step at a time, Notre Dame is finding its way heading into a weekend matchup with DePaul.
It’s clear — this season will bring a learning curve for Notre Dame Men’s Basketball. With how young the group is and the early experimentation head coach Mike Brey has had to work with, there will likely be ups and downs.
The Irish will try to figure out what works and what won’t as they also learn who has bought in.
There was a moment of dismay, as we learned Elijah Burns – one of the senior leaders — would be leaving the program Tuesday morning.
With a game that night, the departure of the former tri-captain left room for John Mooney’s impressive 16-point, 10-rebound performance over Duquesne. As the forward logged his third triple-double in a row, the Irish beat their best opponent to date.
It took a fast start and a strong finish to get past Duquesne, but the Irish gave us all reasons for optimism, with flashes of just how good this team can be.
There will be adversity and there will be struggles. Now we know there will be promise as well.
DePaul comes into this matchup as someone the Notre Dame program has respected. The season expectations for the Blue Demons aren’t quite where they been in the past. But here they are, 3-0, having escaped Penn State in a 72-70 overtime win.
Once again Notre Dame will take on a high-powered offense, as the Blue Demons average 81 ppg.
DePaul’s potent offense has been led by senior Max Strus, who has elevated his game from last season. As an efficient player, he’s a huge threat behind the arc and has only committed the five turnovers through the first three games.
Outside of Strus and Eli Cain — who is their second option — this is another balanced offense that Notre Dame will have to deal with.
While it was defense that led the late push against Duquesne, it fueled the offense for another efficient run.
That’s the same type of energy that the Irish will have to play with against DePaul. It could be Mooney, Temple Gibbs, D.J. Harvey or any of the more established Irish players, but Brey will need someone to step up and play a full 40 minutes vs. DePaul.