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Notre Dame VS Penn State: What We Learned

Notre Dame’s season came to an end yesterday to the hands on the Penn State Nittany Lions.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Duke vs Notre Dame Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame basketball had a crazy and unexpected season. It was filled with many ups and downs. The 2017-2018 season officially came to an end with a 73-63 loss to Penn State in the second round of the NIT. There were a few important things I took away from this last game:

NIT Doesn’t Excite...

No matter what the players say, it is impossible to get up for a NIT game when you were expecting to make the NCAA tournament. It is called being a human. The Notre Dame players were not nearly as motivated to win as they needed to be. This team expected to make the NCAA tournament and when they didn’t, a huge emotional let down took place. I am not going to let an NIT game change my opinion on the 2017-2018 Irish basketball team.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Duke vs Notre Dame Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

TJ Gibbs Is The Future

Without a doubt, TJ Gibbs will be the best player for Notre Dame next season. He finished the game yesterday with 17 points and left the season on a good note. Gibbs will be counted on for at least 15 ppg next year in what could be a mini rebuilding year for Mike Brey and co. If DJ Harvey gets healthy from his knee injury, him and Gibbs will be the go to scorers next year.

Seniors Made Their Impact

Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell gave four years to the Notre Dame basketball program and laid out a perfect plan for underclassmen to follow. Both of them were not highly ranked recruits. Matt Farrell was barely recruited by power 5 schools. Bonzie Colson was a 6’6 power forward who was rated as the 28th best player at his position coming out of high school. Both of these guys turned out to be some of the best to play under Mike Brey. Hard work and determination got these guys a long way during their time at Notre Dame and their record has showed it.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Duke vs Notre Dame Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

It will be interesting to see where Notre Dame basketball goes from here. They will be losing a very strong senior class but will be welcoming in the best recruiting class of Mike Brey’s time at Notre Dame. The Irish will be young but might end up being a fascinating team to follow. I trust Mike Brey.

In the meantime I want to send Bonzie Colson some good thoughts in regards to his problems with his left foot. He has a professional basketball career ahead of him and as Irish fans we should hope he gets 100% healthy.