Notre Dame Fighting Irish pluck Louisville for 3rd straight win

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are suddenly one of the hottest basketball teams in the ACC after a blowout in their 3rd straight loss.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Markus Burton (3) and head coach Micah Shrewsberry
Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Markus Burton (3) and head coach Micah Shrewsberry / Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Don't look now but the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are one of the hottest teams in the ACC. Yes, Micah Shrewsberry's crew has played the dregs of the conference, but it's not like the Irish were playing like worldbeaters before this little streak.

In winning their third straight game, in blowout fashion, 72-50 over Louisville, Notre Dame certainly isn't moving any closer to an NCAA Tournament. They're not even going to contend for a double bye. But the Irish have managed to clinch that they won't finish last in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

In a season that has been all about growth, it's hard not to see growth in the way the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are playing in the runup to the end of the season. And of course, most important tonight is that this wasn't a close win. They came in and dominated Louisville on their home court.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish turning point

Early in the second half, Notre Dame was holding onto a shallow, 34-28 lead. Then Braeden Shrewsberry stole the ball, took it the other end and laid it up to give Notre Dame a 36-28 lead. That was part of a run that allowed the Irish to take a 53-39 lead and never look back.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish MVP of the night

Speaking of Braeden Shrewsberry, he scored a team high 23 points thanks to 7-for-11 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc. He also hauled down 4 rebounds, had one assist and that steal. It's not very often that Markus Burton isn't the leading scorer for Notre Dame, but Shrewsberry put the team on his back on Wednesday night.

Notre Dame bottom line

Now sitting at 10-16 on the season, the best they can hope for is making a little noise and looking better to end the season. But this season has been all about growth and with five games to go, they can certainly continue to demonstrate growth.

Next up for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish

A Saturday tilt against the Syracuse Orange. There was a time when it would have seemed like a no-chance kind of game, now there is at least a chance they could pull off an upset.