ESPN.com - Mike Brey is putting together the best coaching job of his career, and that's saying quite a lot for a guy who's won three Big East Coach of the Year awards in the past five years. Is No. 4 on the way? The Irish were gutted by graduation losses, a surprising early defection to the NBA and then a season-ending injury to their best player, Tim Abromaitis. There were some humbling defeats early in the season to Missouri, Georgia and Gonzaga. But the season changed Jan. 7 at Louisville. Notre Dame stunned the Big East with a double-overtime win over the then-No. 10 Cardinals. That was followed up by an 11-point win over South Florida. The Irish fell back to the pack with consecutive losses to UConn and Rutgers, but they had five days to prepare for top-ranked Syracuse and Notre Dame shocked the Fab Melo-less Orange with a nine-point win. And then came this past week. Notre Dame swept a road swing through Seton Hall and Connecticut by clamping down on defense. Neither the Pirates nor the Huskies scored 50 points as the Irish beat the Pirates 55-42 (the Hall's lowest point total since 2005) and the Huskies 50-48. Notre Dame wasn't tearing it up offensively either, but controlling tempo and the clock worked. Nine games into the Big East season, the Irish are tied for third with Georgetown and surprising South Florida. The 6-3 record can turn quickly with a game against Marquette and a pair of matchups with West Virginia to come. But the schedule is certainly laid out for Notre Dame to make a run at an NCAA bid. If that happens, you can book Brey for Big East coach of the year honors.
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