College Basketball

Luck of the Irish?

PITTSBURGH (WISH) — Notre Dame returns to the NCAA Tournament trying to avoid another early exit.

With all the Big East and ACC success under head coach Mike Brey, the Irish have yet to figure out how to be successful in the NCAA Tournament. Brey has led Notre Dame to just one Sweet 16 and has lost the first tournament game four times.

“I do feel going in that this group has the makings of being different because of how they’ve played in the regular season and certainly how they’ve played most recently,” said Brey.

The Irish (29-5) are expected to at least make the Sweet 16 this year and with a little luck and could advance a little farther.

“At the end of the day what you saw down at the ACC Tournament was this team playing with some of the most energy, passion and most togetherness we have all season,” said senior guard Pat Connaughton.

They open Thursday against Colonial Athletic Association champion Northeastern (23-11). Northeastern is back in the tournament for the first time since 1991, its eighth appearance overall. The Huskies last won a tournament game in 1984, which was a 90-87 win over Long Island.