Welcome to the Hoos Place 2019 Summer Hoops Refresh, where we review last season and this summer's personnel moves for all 15 ACC programs in alphabetical order. To read program capsules already complete, you can click here. Today we look at the...
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Remember when the Irish felt like they'd be one of the ACC's annual heavyweights? Two years ago a rash of injuries to stars like Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell helped excuse a disappointing but still respectable 8-10 ACC finish. But it's a lot harder to excuse away last season's 3-15 last place record, though being Kenpom's 318th-ranked team in experience paints some of the picture. With most all key contributors back, can Brey get the Irish to rebound?
Coach: Mike Brey; 511-257 in 24 seasons overall, 412-205 in 19 seasons at Notre Dame, 132-79 (54-54) in 6 seasons in the ACC.
2018-19 Record: Last season: 13-18 (3-15); ACCT 2nd round (15 seed); No postseason
ORtg: 108.0 (105 of 353)
DRtg: 101.1 (107 of 353)
ORtg: 96.8 (12 of 15)
DRtg: 107.8 (11 of 15)
SF D.J. Harvey (Transferred)
PF Elijah Burns (Transferred)
29 G, 25.9 mpg, 10.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 30% 3P%
4 G, 11 mpg, 5.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 50% FG%
G Temple Gibbs (SR)
G Prentiss Hubb (SO)
SG Robby Carmody (SO)
F Dane Goodwin (SO)
F Rex Pflueger (RS SR)
F Nikola Djogo (RS JR)
PF Chris Doherty (SO)
F/C Nate Laszewski (SO)
C John Mooney (SR)
C Juwan Durham (RS JR)
32 G, 36.1 mpg, 13.4 ppg, 3.4 apg, 32% 3P%
33 G, 33.6 mpg, 8.1 ppg, 4 apg, 26% 3P%
9 G, 10 mpg, 3.7 ppg, 0.2 apg, 9% 3P%
33 G, 24.5 mpg, 6.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 34% 3P%
10 G, 30.5 mpg, 8.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 39% 3P%
21 G, 12.5 mpg, 2.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 31% 3P%
11 G, 3.8 mpg, 0.8 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 67% FG%
33 G, 19 mpg, 6.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 39% FG%
33 G, 29.6 mpg, 14.1 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 46% FG%
27 G, 15.3 mpg, 5.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 58% FG%
*Projected starters in bold
2019/20 ACC Opponents:
|Home & Away:||Boston College, Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Syracuse, Wake Forest|
|Home Only:||Louisville, Miami, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech|
|Away Only:||Clemson, Duke, NC State, Virginia|
So how much of Notre Dame's poor performance last year was due merely to youth (relying heavily on five true freshmen) and injuries (Pfleuger was lost after 10 games, Durham missed 6 ACC contests, Djogo missed the last 12, Harvey the last four)? Because if you believe that's really all that it was, then you'll be bullish on the Irish this year. They return almost everyone of note, 10 of last season's 12 scholarship players back in South Bend including their two best players. If the injury woes don't rematerialize, that's a level of depth and continuity that's the envy of basically the rest of the league. This roster has a quartet of proven upperclassmen with Gibbs and Mooney a lethal inside-out duo, Pfleuger a steady wing presence, and Durham an elite rim protector. It also has a rising sophomore class that boasted four consensus Top 100 recruits a year ago, headlined by combo guard Hubb and the stretch-big Laszewski. There's a lot of reasons to like this team to put the pieces together and capitalize on a lot of turnover across the ACC to make a strong run at the top of the conference, especially if that sophomore class really takes a step forward.
But of course there are concerns as well. There were no incoming 2019 recruits or transfers, and something chased former 5-star wing DJ Harvey away (Vanderbilt). Last year's defense was atrocious, even by ND's typically pretty mediocre standards. Teams often seemingly ran their offense at will against the Irish, and is an offseason enough to make them a top-half D? Their three point shooting, usually a program strength, was 3rd-worst in the league last year, merely 30%. Harvey's cold shooting is gone, but Hubb (26% in ACC play) and Gibbs (32%) both need to improve to stretch defenses.
Notre Dame should absolutely improve from last year. Hard not to improve from last place, after all. I think getting healthy and the sophomores taking their games up a level, when paired with the steady play of Gibbs and Mooney, get the offense back in the top-half of the ACC and the defense at least adequate. This feels like a team that is still going to be out-talented some nights, but will out-execute a lot of younger or poorer-coached teams on a lot of other nights. I think they're back in the top half of the league this year, but I don't yet see them cracking the top tier. But for Brey, getting back to the NCAAT at all will be a win after two years away, and a nice way to send Gibbs, Pflueger, and Mooney off after a good career.