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    Almost Tournament Time for the Irish

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    We're halfway through day one of March Madness and still have not seen an upset. Judging from Twitter, I missed a wild one in Pittsburgh, as UNC-Asheville nearly became the first #16 seed to knock off a #1 - a victory that also would've put the Bulldogs alongside Cincinnati and Notre Dame in an exclusive 2012 club.

    Speaking of Notre Dame, the Irish arrived at Greensboro Coliseum at approximately 4:15 pm this afternoon for a media session and practice on the court where they will take on Xavier tomorrow night.

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    Opened in 1959, the 23,500-seat arena is in the heart of ACC country. While some universities are hosting this year's second and third rounds, such as Duquesne in Pittsburgh and Ohio State in Columbus, the ACC is doing the honors for the Greensboro brackets, which explains why the conference logo is emblazoned on nearly every sign (including the chairs in the Irish locker room). The arena also frequently hosts the annual ACC tournament.

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    After warm-ups and a few drills, head coach Mike Brey's team spent about ten minutes scrimmaging full speed. As Brey said in his interview with UND.com earlier today, he wanted his team to really get some good work in during its 40-minute open practice.

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    There's no better way to get ready for a game in a new arena than to simulate one. Adjusting to the rims, lighting and feel of the court is something that we might take for granted, but it's certainly important when preparing to play in an unfamiliar setting.

    Before Notre Dame took the floor, local favorite Duke practiced in front of several hundred Cameron Crazies. From the sounds of the fans cheering, most were there just to see freshman Austin Rivers, who is projected as an NBA draft lottery pick. The Celtics fan in me hopes he is someday playing for his father's team.

    During Duke's shootaround, Coach Brey met with members of the media in a small auditorium. A former assistant with the Blue Devils, Brey joked when asked about his time with Coach Krzyzewski. The Irish head coach laughed, saying, "Other than drawing up the Laettner play for him, he did all the other ones."

    A few Irish players, including Tim Abromaitis and Jack Cooley stuck around for a few minutes to sign autographs after practice.

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    Coach Brey also caught up with Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg, CBS's broadcast team that will be calling all four games tomorrow.

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    Afterwards, the Irish returned to the hotel for a team meal and some rest before a shootaround back at the arena tomorrow morning.

    That's about it for Day 2 of the Irish in North Carolina. There is however, still a big night of hoops ahead, as we hopefully await a signature Thursday upset (The ball's in your court, South Dakota State).

    - Josh Flynt ('11)

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