Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 28, 2013 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Fitting In Goals remain the same for the Irish in their first season in the ACC N By Andrew Owens otre Dame's March struggles have been well publicized in recent years, but Irish head coach Mike Brey made it clear at media day Oct. 9 that he has a more pressing issue with another season set to begin: Just earn an NCAA Tournament bid in the first year as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. "I haven't really thought about [NCAA Tournament success]," Brey said. "I probably would've thought about it more, 'How do we deal with the NCAA and be better' if we weren't getting in a new league. … "Let's on Selection Sunday make sure you ask that question, and I hope we're in a position where, 'We got a bid, here's our seed, here's where we're going' and we'll think about it more then. I think you can overanalyze that until the cows come home, and I haven't talked anything about it. I think it's been a great motivator for our guys — how poorly we played against Iowa State — through the summer. It's put a little chip on their shoulder that a pretty good regular season kind of got diminished with how we got smacked in Dayton." Brey said the team — which checks in at No. 22 in the preseason USA Today coaches poll and ranked fifth in the preseason ACC media poll — does not need to "reinvent the wheel" or create a new identity for the program after switching conferences, but rather it is attempting to play to the current squad's strengths. "Last time I checked we've got a style of play here that's been really consistent and effective and really effective in this building," he said. "We want to make people adjust to us, but one thing we've also done here is when we have to make an adjustment off the fly, we do that." Senior guard Jerian Grant, who was one of five players named Preseason All-ACC at the league's media day in Charlotte Oct. 16, returns for a team seeking consistent production from the leader. "[This year], he's taking shots right away and not turning them down," Brey said. "That's going to be something we really have to stay on him about. When he's got a look coming off a screen, don't overanalyze, take it. I think he's done a better job of coming off stuff and taking shots. And he's done a good job of balancing shooting it and getting people involved because we know he loves to get people involved and

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