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    Hear It From a Student - Shattering Expectations

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    martindunk.jpg Things were looking rough with just over two minutes to go in the second half last night as the men's hoops squad struggled to get some momentum going on the road against a tough West Virginia team. Notre Dame was 2-for-18 from three-point range, and it seemed like a young Irish team was going to have a rough loss in Morgantown.

    It could have been one of those difficult losses that conventional wisdom says every young team has to undergo as a "learning experience" when you play in a incredibly tough conference like the Big East.

    Bang. Eric Atkins drains a three pointer.

    Bang. Jerian Grant, who before was just 1-of-6 from three-point range, calmly strokes a trey with 25 seconds on the shot clock.

    Bang. Scott Martin buries a three.

    Suddenly, Notre Dame had a six-point lead with less than a minute remaining, and the team never looked back. The Irish defeated the Mountaineers, 55-49, and once again went against the script and shattered expectations.

    This season's team is going on the road and beating tough teams at the end of games. That's something you expect from a team of veteran starters, guys who have been playing together for years. But this team is starting two sophomores and a freshman, and every member of the starting lineup could return next year.

    This was supposed to be a rebuilding year. Making it to the NCAA tournament seemed like a pipe dream. Now, the student body is debating how high we should be ranked in next week's top 25.

    What could have been a down year has turned into a showcase for Mike Brey's ability to reload and retool his team. The Irish have grown as a team, using Brey's burn offense to slow down the clock and make big plays with little time left on the shot clock. They've dictated the pace and tempo of games, and managed to hang with the best in the Big East.

    Somehow, Notre Dame is 8-3 in the Big East. Somehow, this team seems like a safe bet to make it to the NCAA tournament. Somehow, Brey has done it again.

    A team that wasn't supposed to come together and be good until next year or the year after that (by the way, imagine how good this team will be with more time to develop) is ready to compete - and not just to compete, but to win - right now.

    As a fan, I can't believe what I'm watching. This mixture of defense, chemistry, and clutch shooting has been absolutely unbelievable.

    I am loving every second of this season, and I am going to follow these players as far as they can take us. The way this team has been playing lately, I wouldn't be surprised if this ride lasts all the way into March Madness.

    And once you make it there, anything can happen, right?

    - Tom McGuire ('14)

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