Notre Dame’s men’s basketball season is over (sadly, so too is the women’s). Out again in the Elite 8. Lost again to a true blue blood program. Last year it was Kentucky. This year, North Carolina. And in the end, it’s likely the end of the line for the core group of players who compiled a 56-18 record in the last two seasons.
Zach Auguste and Demetrius Jackson stepped up as the leaders of this year’s team with Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton in the NBA. And they did so with on court success, and by all reports a locker room culture, that fans of the program should be immensely proud of.
Conference wins against Duke and North Carolina, a double-bye in the ACC tournament, and a second consecutive run to the Elite 8. Yes, I know Butler still has more Final Fours the Notre Dame, but that’s some significant overachievement.
And if it is the end –– if Demetrius Jackson declares (which he should), and if VJ Beachem rides his great play down the stretch into a NBA Draft selection (which I suspect he will) coupled with Zach Auguste’s graduation — then it’s been a heckuva run. I’ve enjoyed it immensely as I’m sure all Irish fans have.
We all like to think of Notre Dame as a football school but, let’s not forget, the Irish rank seventh all-time in men’s basketball wins. This group put that back into focus.