Notre Dame (13-1, 1-0) played an embarrassingly easy non-conference schedule (313th in the country, according to Ken Pomeroy), so I'll admit to being pretty nervous about this team heading into Big East play despite entering with a 12-1 record. Mike Brey's squad put those fears to rest for today at least, as the Irish pounded Seton Hall (12-3, 1-1) by 19 with a 93-74 final.
The Irish were led by a nearly career-high 22 points from Scott Martin, who shot 8-11 from the field and 6-7 from three-point land in one of the most impressive shooting performances in his long career. He led Notre Dame quickly out of the gates in the second half, as they ballooned an eight point halftime lead into a 20 point laugher.
Center Jack Cooley was excellent as well, getting a couple of Seton Hall's best players into foul trouble and putting together yet another double-double performance with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Point guard Eric Atkins continues to impress as well, as he tallied a double-double of his own with 17 points and 10 assists. Atkins has been simply outstanding this season as he figures to give Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams a run for his money for all-Big East first team honors.
Seton Hall was led by guard Aaron Cosby (21 points, 7 assists, 8-14 FG) and wing Fuquan Edwin (21 points, 9-16 FG), but the latter was undone by foul trouble midway through the 2nd half. The Pirates' entire front court was in foul trouble in this one, as Edwin and center Eugene Teague had 4 fouls apiece, and forward Brandon Mobley fouled out in only 20 minutes of game time.
The Irish have a tough week ahead, as they go to 14th-ranked Cincinnati on Monday's BCS Championship night and host UConn next Saturday afternoon. They'll look to keep their momentum in conference play and prove to Big East foes, selection committees, and Irish fans alike that they can beat anybody and have the firepower to overcome their recent March woes.