Location: South Bend, IN
Nickname: Fighting Irish
Conference: Big East
Last Year’s Record: 21-15
Key Returners: Luke Harangody (23.3 ppg, 11.8 rpg), Tory Jackson (10.6 ppg, 4.9 apg)
Top Newcomers: Joey Brooks, Jack Cooley, Ben Hansbrough-Tr
Strengths: Led by Luke Harangody, the Fighting Irish will have no trouble scoring. Harangody, along with his backcourt mate Tory Jackson will be one the best inside-out combinations in the country. Harangody will be his usual self this season, but due to several departures, expect Jackson to take a larger role in the offense. The Irish also expect Mississippi State transfer, Ben Hansbrough to provide an instant boost to the offense.
Weakness: Notre Dame had serious depth issues last season. Notre Dame’s starters played way too many minutes last season. Harangody and Jackson both played around 34 minutes-per-game while Jonathan Peoples, the next best returner, only averaged around 14. That is a serious hole. The Irish must get major contributions from their freshmen and have it’s reserves take a significant leap in production to have any chance of returning to the Big Dance.
Outlook: This team will still have major issues with depth, but it may have the talent in the starting five to overcome that. Harangody, Jackson, and Hansbrough will provide Coach Mike Brey with three outstanding scoring options. Don’t expect the Irish to have the struggles it did last season.