I have about had enough of this ESS EEE SEE superiority bullshiat. We’re playing KENTUCKY people! COME! ON! KENTUCKY!???! We have Manti and Tyler, Everett and Nix, Stephon and what? I’m… oh. Basketball. Got it.
So tomorrow night on ESPN2 (The Deuce), your Fighting Irish cagers take on the eighth-ranked Wildcats of Kentucky in a wildly important, early season game with massive implications not, so much, for the season, but for the program. Win, and the Irish are on freaking fire — in case you didn’t know, they’re a legit 6-1 — lose, and they’re the musak to the Festive Season, a Johnny Mathis track with no words to accompany your on-line shopping and early-January vacay travel planning. Without descending into hyperbole, this might be the most important game the Irish have ever played.
But, first, if you will, please let me introduce the boys, starting with Coach Mike Brey. Coach Brey is in his 12th season with the Irish and the dude’s a coach’s coach. Watch him on the sideline, in press conferences and in the huddle – this is a coach who knows the game and how to get the most out of his players, year after year. Ask Gene Chisik what it means to coach, year after year. Not easy. Brey’s got 300 career wins, none of which were harder to come by than last year when All-Everything stud Tim Abromitis suffered a preseason and season-ending ACL injury. Few coaches could shuffle the deck and guide their team to the Big East semi-finals and Coach of the Year honors. Plus, there’s this:
Yep. Coach went to GW. Wore the 1-5. It ain’t to play games with you, it’s to aim at you. Who knew?
Probably these guys: Pat Connaughton (Sophomore), Eric Atkins (Junior), Jerian Grant (Junior), Scott Martin (Senior) and Jack Cooley (Senior). Aside from Connaughton, this is a very mature squad, and Pat’s by no means a boot on the floor. Connaughton’s averaging 8 points per game and 31 minutes alongside his veteran squad mates, lead by Jack Cooley, a forward averaging 14.3 points per game and 11.3 rebounds per game.
A little fiddle-eedee for me, but nice work @goirishgo88.
So why does this game matter so damn much? Why are we taking time away from pimping Manti for Heisman, revelling in 12-0 and trolling SEC-fan? IMMA HANG UP AN’ LISTEN, PAWWWWWW! Why? Because Kentucky is to basketball what Notre Dame is to football. Except the Irish are by no means what KY’s football team would be to Brian Kelly’s boys. To gain some perspective on what this game means, I sat down with our resident student contributor, Grantland-X. Then we got up and walked over to the bar at Finny’s and this is what he told me
“Notre Dame is a veteran, disciplined team that knows how to win in Purcell Pavilion. The Irish are 40-1 in their last 41 home games and have never lost at home under Coach Brey in November.” Grantland-X put down his beer and turned, bracing himself against the bar, obviously scoping for hotties. “You see, Bayou, the football team’s success is actually hurting the basketball program right now. Sure, many fans don’t even pay attention to college baskteball until after football ends anyway, but this year it has gone to another level for Notre Dame — students and fans have barely acknowledged this team’s existence as everyone can only focus on the natioonla title game.” Attendance? Grantland-X snorted and flared his nostrils and nodded at a Lyons chica. “The turnouts at the basketball games have been poor and fans are sleeping on a team that has a chance to do some serious damage this season.”
“Notre Dame NEEDS to win this game against Kentucky, but for an interesting reason: to sell the team to its own fans. If Notre Dame loses the game, the season outlook will still be absolutely fine. The Irish will still have the Big East play to gain national respect, right the ship, and obtain a decent NCAA tournament seed. However, they [risk] doing so with a general lack of support from the fans.”
So what are you waiting for, sports fan? Get out and support the Irish, either in person or on the idiot box, ESPN2 at 7:00 pm EST.