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Home > News > DAILY DISH: Miami upsets Duke, Notre Dame feeling the luck of the Irish

DAILY DISH: Miami upsets Duke, Notre Dame feeling the luck of the Irish

By: Kels Dayton

  • Pat Connaughton has been a big part of Notre Dame's revival. (AP Photo)

    Notre Dame has put itself right smack dab in the middle of the NCAA Tournament discussion, having won four straight (including wins over Syracuse, UConn and Marquette) and pushing its Big East record to 7-3. It’s been a different leader every night for the Irish, who got 23 points and 11 rebounds from freshman Pat Connaughton in their 76-59 thrashing of Marquette on Saturday. Notre Dame easily could have folded after an early-season embarassment against Missouri and a season and potentially career-ending injury to leading scorer Tim Abromaitis, but head coach Mike Brey’s teams don’t do that. Eric Atkins (12.8 ppg), Jerian Grant (12.7 ppg) and Jack Cooley (10.7, 8.4 rpg) have stepped up in Abromaitis’ absence, and the Irish have somehow managed to “Burn-offense” their way to nine wins in twelve games. Mike Brey just might win Big East coach of the Year for a remarkable fourth time, which is even more amazing when you think about the other coaches in the conference.

  • Reggie Johnson went into beast mode on Sunday in the Hurricanes' 77-73 overtime win over Duke. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

    Besides the New York Giants, the big winner on Super Bowl Sunday was Miami (FL), which provided the biggest shock of Super Sunday by waltzing into Cameron Indoor Stadium and knocking off Duke, 78-74 in overtime. Junior center Reggie Johnson had a career day, pouring in 27 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to lead the ‘Canes to a head-turning victory. The 6-10, 284-pound beast had been averaging just 11.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game coming into Sunday, but may have played his way into NBA Draft consideration with his dominant performance. Head coach Jim Larranaga has done a fantastic job with the Hurricanes (14-7, 5-3 ACC), who must now be considered an NCAA Tournament contender. The ‘Canes have plenty more opportunities for statement wins with North Carolina at home and two games against conference-leading Florida State still left on the schedule, so this may be just the start of a nice run in Coral Gables this season.

  • While Miami’s victory over Duke on Sunday was impressive for the ‘Canes, it also put the final underline on a point that can now be made in bright red marker: This is not a vintage Duke team. Vintage Duke teams don’t lose back-to-back conference home games to Florida State and Miami. They also don’t get manhandled on the road at Temple, or absolutely undressed by the Buckeyes in Columbus. This isn’t one of the nation’s top 5 teams, and the Blue Devils aren’t a Final Four contender. Expect this Duke team to revert to its pre-2010 ways, when it was faltering early on in the NCAA Tournament.
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