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Bob’s Monday Thoughts: Notre Dame has a shot to win the ACC. That & More!

Bob has some thoughts to share with you this fine Monday.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame has a serious shot to win the ACC

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Last week I wrote about Notre Dame’s path to an ACC regular season championship. It’s quite simple: take care of business at home and split road the roads games. After watching them pick apart Syracuse on Saturday my belief in that happening became that much stronger. Yes I know that wasn’t the best Syracuse team we’ve seen, but they were still a team that has given Notre Dame fits over the last four seasons and the Irish took it too ‘em.

Notre Dame has shown they can play with anyone in the country. Even in the three games they lost, you could make an argument that Notre Dame should have or could have won the game. There is no one on the remaining schedule that Notre Dame doesn’t have a realistic shot of beating. Even tough games at North Carolina and at Louisville aren’t out of the question.

The Irish won the ACC Tournament in 2015, but personally I think the regular season championship would mean much more. Anything can happen in a single elimination tournament. It’s much tougher to make it through 18 conference games and be atop the league. Especially this season where the ACC is widely considered the best and toughest conference in America.

If you didn’t know this by now, this team is fun to watch

The Irish play such an exciting, unselfish brand of basketball. It’s not exciting in the way Kentucky or Duke plays where they have five, five-star players on the court who can jump out out of the gym. It’s more exciting in the way they pass and move the ball. This was evident on Saturday when point guard Matt Farrell had a disgusting behind the back pass to forward V.J. Beachem for slam dunk. It’s plays like that, that makes this team so fun to watch.

I get the sense of feeling that a good number Notre Dame fans aren’t really appreciating what we have here with this basketball team. This isn’t the Harangody years where Notre Dame was competitive and NCAA tournament bids were just good enough. This is team is for real. They can make a run in March. We’ve seen it the past two seasons. Don’t wait until then to start following. Start now this team deserves all the support it gets.

National Signing Day is closing in on us

Brian Kelly and Co. welcomed in 11 recruits this past weekend for official visits. Six of the 11 are already committed to other programs, so the Irish are trying their hardest to try and fill out this class that only stands at 16 commits.

The Irish staff has been hitting recruiting trail hard since the dead period ended a few weeks ago. NSD is just nine days away, so hopefully this final push Kelly and his staff are making will pay off. Lord knows they need it to.

Make sure to keep up with us here at OFD as we’ll have full coverage of NSD.

Check out David Rivers Ring of Honor induction speech

I was at the game on Saturday to see and listen to former Notre Dame guard David Rivers get inducted into the Ring of Honor at halftime. His speech was only suppose to run about two minutes, but he ended up taking up the whole halftime period. But it was so worth it. He thanked numerous people that have impacted his life before, during and after his time at Notre Dame. It was an inspiring speech from a man who just really loves Notre Dame. If you have 10 minutes to spare, I highly advise you to watch the video.

Congrats to Muffet McGraw on win 750!

NCAA Womens Basketball: Notre Dame at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame women’s basketball head coach Muffet McGraw picked up her 750th win on Sunday with a 77-55 win over North Carolina. McGraw has become a legend of the sport. She’s turned Notre Dame into one of the premier programs for women’s hoops. She’s led the Irish to numerous conference championships, multiple Final Fours and the program’s lone National Championship in 2001. McGraw was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011. In terms of winning she is arguably the most consistent coach the University has seen over the last 30 years. McGraw is only 61, so another 5-10 years are not out of the question. If she keeps the Irish program rolling the way they have been, I would not be shocked if she gets to 900 or even 1000 wins some time down the road.

Patriots vs. Falcons in Houston for Super Bowl LI

NFC Championship - Green Bay Packers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Conference championship weekend kept the main theme of what the NFL playoffs have been so far - SNOOZE FEST. Both the NFC and AFC Championship games were absolute laughers. The Atlanta Falcons torched the Green Bay Packers 44-21. MVP hopeful Matt Ryan and star wideout Julio Jones had field days against the Green Bay defense. Ryan was 27/38 for 392 yards, 4 TDs and 0 INTs. Jones caught 9 passes for 180 yards and 2 TDs. The Falcons have one of, if not the best offense in the league. They will be tested though against New England who just shut down Ben Roethlisberger and Co.

NFL: AFC Championship-Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

What do you know? The Patriots are going back to the Super Bowl for a record seventh time in the Belichek/Brady era. The Pats dismantled the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-17. The Steelers played much of the game without star running back Le’Veon Bell, but I don’t know how much of a difference he would have made. Tom Brady had a huge game as he was 32/42 for 384 yards and 3 TDs. Wide receivers Chris Hogan and Julian Edelman helped lead the New England attack. They combined for 17 receptions for 298 yards and 3 TDs.

The NFL Playoffs as a whole have been rather unexciting, so hopefully Super Bowl LI can make up for it. This matchup between the Pats and Falcons could be one of the most high-octane Super Bowls we’ve seen in quite some time. New England gets the edge on the defensive side of the ball, but Atlanta’s D is coming around at just the right time. It should be a good one in Houston, worst part is that we have to wait two weeks for it.

Sad news in Major League Baseball

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

As pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report in just a few weeks, sad news broke on Sunday morning that Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura had passed away in a car accident in his home of the Dominican Republic. Ventura was only 25. In his short MLB career he helped guide the Royals to back-to-back pennants in 2014 and 2015, and helped Kansas City capture it’s first World Series in 30 years in 2015.

One of the saddest parts about this tragedy is that he had his whole life and career ahead of him. He had the talent to be one of the best pitchers in the game. Ventura had electric stuff, with a fastball that routinely reached triple digits. Ventura will be dearly missed by the fans in Kansas City and around baseball.

That’s all for this week’s edition of Monday thoughts. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below. I’ll be back next week, but in the meantime keep up with all the coverage here at OFD. Go Irish!