“This group should be remembered. When it’s all said and done – we’re going to play for a long time. Our season’s going to go for a while. We should be remembered for things that happened in Notre Dame basketball that’s never happened before.” – Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey
It’s seven weeks before Selection Sunday, and Showtime has brought its cameras to two college basketball programs that are both on surprising upswings.
After disappointing 2013-14 campaigns, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have figured out how to win consistently on the road despite a grueling ACC schedule. The Maryland Terrapins, newcomers in the Big Ten, have rebounded from a disappointing final season in the ACC and are taking down traditional powerhouses like Indiana and Wisconsin on the way to second place in their conference this year.
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What Showtime put together, the NCAA has continued – placing both Notre Dame and Maryland in a daunting Midwest bracket. On the eve of the tournament’s beginning, Showtime gives us a chronological look back to how exactly we got here.
The 90-minute documentary chronicles Notre Dame’s big home win versus Duke, their crushing loss to the Blue Devils in Durham, road wins at Boston College and Louisville and the head-scratching home loss to struggling Syracuse. It also replays our last wonderful week, culminating in the university’s first conference championship in men’s basketball.
The game footage is thrilling, and the producers made a brilliant decision by including Jack Nolan’s enthusiastic radio calls of the team’s finer February and March moments.
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But it’s the smaller stories that make the documentary worth watching.
The Boston College game is a homecoming for Arlington, Mass. native Pat Connaughton, whose enormous extended family has managed to secure a mind-boggling 500 tickets to the game. After the Irish’s convincing win, Pat’s family and friends party in the Conte Forum – because there’s literally nowhere else they’d all fit.
Demetrius Jackson has a similar family affair in Louisville, where his foster family has made the four-hour trip south to root on the son they’ve claimed as their own. It should be no surprise, then, when Demetrius has one of his better games in an Irish victory.
Before the tourney starts, there’s Senior Day at the Purcell Pavilion as the Irish host Clemson. Harvey Grant, Jerian’s father, perfectly encapsulates the true meaning of the special event.
“The thing that I’m so proud of that he’s getting his degree from Notre Dame. You know, that goes a long way,” he said. “I tell him the other things – basketball – that’s the icing on the cake. And you make your own destiny.”
There’s other little moments, too, such as mass in the hotel before the game, the cheer squad’s amazing send-off before the ACC championship game. Showtime posted two that didn’t make the final cut on its website: the team hitting up a hibachi restaurant and taking in the Bengal Bouts, the university’s charity boxing tournament.
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Notre Dame fans will appreciate Showtime’s effort to get them pumped up for today’s 12:15 game vs. Northeastern. By time “Hoops U” re-airs, let’s hope the team has given us even more to get excited about. As the gents are fond of saying: Not done yet.
“Hoops U” re-airs on the following dates and channels:
- 8:05 p.m. Saturday, March 28 on Showtime Extreme
- 1 p.m. Sunday, March 29 on Showtime Extreme
- Midnight Saturday, April 4 on Showtime Extreme
- 1:15 a.m. Sunday, April 5 on Showtime
- 3:15 p.m. Monday, April 6 on Showtime Extreme
- Noon and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 11 on Showtime Extreme
- 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, April 15 on Showtime
- 10 a.m. Thursday, April 16 on Showtime Extreme
- 7 p.m. Saturday, April 18 on Showtime
- 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 21 on Showtime Extreme
- 9 p.m. Sunday, April 26 on Showtime Extreme
- 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 29 on Showtime Extreme
- and Showtime On Demand