The next three games are against teams that the Irish should beat:
F 15 Providence
F 18 @ Cincinnati
F 20 DePaul
Two are at home and the away game, at Cincinnati, would be a lock, except the woes of the Irish on the Road have made national news.
So, why are these three so important? The fatigue of losses on the road can get a team down. I feel the Irish are doubting their ability to win on the road and this was made obvious with the loss at DePaul. The mental wear of losses like the one at DePaul, can make a team play poor fundamental Basketball.
Providence is a team that can win most games they play. They are fighting for a better seed at the tourney and will come to the Joyce Center with one thing in mind. WIN! Coming from a heart breaking loss at DePaul, ND will need to play well to come away with a win. Providence is just behind the Irish in scoring and total defense. They hit the board hard on offense and will block a lot of shots. ND needs to play solid fundamental offensive B Ball. Simple rules: Follow your shot, box out and rebound. This will be the Key to a Victory.
Cincinnati having a down year and should be a second road B.E. Victory. But UC will come to play. (I will be at the game). They come into this game dead last in the Big East. The Cats have won some games they shouldn't have, but typically are being outplayed at the end of the game. They are young in terms of playing time in D-1 B Ball. Junior College Transfers make up the majority of the team and they are lead by a freshman guard who is starting to play very well. The Cats lack confidence and have given up some big leads recently. Sound Familiar?
The Third game in this crucial stretch is against DePaul. ND has come back from a tough loss on the road to beat the same team within a short span. The Villanova games were like two different teams hit the court. Hopefully Brey can get the guys ready for this one. This game will be important for the strong finish the Irish will need in the final two.
You can blame the officiating, you can blame coaching and you can even blame the loss of a key player. KMac. Pointing fingers never works and this is no different. Handle the ball better, run the play coach sets up and last but not least, do not give up the lead at the end of the game. This is the sign that your team doesn't believe they can win.
Confidence is important, but belief that you can finish a game is crucial. It is time to step up and play ball.
Too bad the B.E. Tourney is not in South Bend.
Remember when ND had these problems. We have come a long way baby...