Notre Dame rallies past Virginia Tech, faces Duke next

Posted March 09, 2018

NOTRE DAME (RPI: 71, KenPom: 33, NBC seed: Next four out): I don't know where it came from, but Notre Dame was down by 20 points in the second half against Virginia Tech and came back to win in the second round of the ACC tournament, putting them into a position to seriously challenge for an NCAA tournament bid. But in the month of March, inexplicable things tend to pile up in droves. The Hokies blew a 47-26 lead with 15:07 left and ultimately lost to the Irish 71-65.

"I think that showed toughness and got us a little fired up", Farrell said. You're not going to want to miss this one.

The Hokies led 34-21 at the half but were outscored by the Fighting Irish 50-31 in the second half.

The game really turned during a 13-0 run in the middle of the second half.

Each of the three bubble teams possesses a unique resume, and the Fighting Irish are an intriguing side because they were affected by Bonzie Colson's injury for most of conference play. Rex Pflueger had 14 points and nine rebounds, and T.J. Gibbs added 13 points and seven assists for Notre Dame. The Fighting Bobby Hurleys have just three Quadrant 1 wins and an 8-9 record against the top two Quadrants with two Quadrant 3 losses, but they have happen to have the best pair of wins of any team in the country, beating Kansas in Phog Allen Fieldhouse and knocking off Xavier on a neutral court. I think you can point to a lot of things. I didn't say much at halftime.

In order to restore the faith of the public, the Fighting Irish must beat Virginia Tech in dominant fashion, and play well against Duke in the quarterfinals in order to make a legitimate case for a spot in the field of 68.

Devon Hall scored 17 points to lead Virginia against the Irish, but Kyle Guy is leading the team in scoring with an average of 14.3 points per game.

A back-and-forth start saw both teams control the ball extremely well. Farrell's theatrics sent him into press row on the baseline, and Clarke was called for the technical foul. Syracuse attempted to make a second-half run, but it fell short 78-59 - and the Orange will now face a long wait until Selection Sunday.

"We disintegrated", Hokies coach Buzz Williams said. "We've got the best strength of schedule we've had in years". Notre Dame was almost automatic with their free throws, only missing one free throw in the last three minutes.

The Hokies made two three-pointers in the final minute, but they could not climb out of the hole they had dug, and the Irish won the game to advance in the tournament.

Colson made two from the line with 22.3 seconds left after a loose-ball foul on Carr that drew loud complaints from Pitt coach Kevin Stallings.

"I don't know if I've ever been prouder of a team in a game that really matters", Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "I mean, there have been some ups and downs, but I think guys like [freshman catcher David] LaManna and [freshman infielder] Niko Kavatas, [freshman infielder] Jared Miller, [freshman outfielder] Ryan Cole, [freshman infielder] Spencer Myers, I think they've all made a pretty good transition". "If it's good enough, we'll win some games; if it isn't, we won't and we'll go back to the drawing board and do it all over again the next day".

Notre Dame will now take on No. 2 Duke. Farrell finished with four 3-pointers and 22 points, while Gibbs went for 13 points and seven assists. This time around, he said, it's a whole different ballgame. Notre Dame will be playing its third game in three days and I think that will play a role as this game goes on. "It's going to be another opportunity for us, and we're excited about it".