GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Fighting Irish are gearing up to battle their way through the NCAA Tournament.
Notre Dame faces Xavier in the second round of play on Friday night, but first they spent Thursday preparing for the big dance.
Head Coach Mike Brey said he wants his team to play loose and have some fun. He said that’s what got them to the tournament after all.
The Irish practiced at a local high school on Thursday morning, and made their way to the Greensboro Coliseum in the afternoon for an open practice. Irish fans even got a front row seat to the action.
“I’m here to see the Irish,” said Caleb Fogle. “I like Jack Cooley, Scott Martin, I’m a really big Irish fan all around.”
For the players, too, it was a different experience for fans to get in on their practice.
“You’re not used to people watching you practice, so it’s a different experience. So you get to get up and down with fans watching you and get used to the game feel,” said Irish Guard Eric Atkins.
The players said they’re taking the tournament one game at a time, and when you get to this level it’s an even playing field.
“When it comes to the tournament everybody is zero and zero. Everyone has a clean slate,” said Irish Guard Joey Brooks.
The Irish face Xavier at 9:45 Friday night, and the two teams measure up pretty well on paper.
The Irish ended their season 22-11, which is pretty close to Xavier’s record of 21-12.
Notre Dame agrees, it’ll be a good game to watch.
“They played a tough schedule, as have we, so it should be a good match up,” said Irish Guard Scott Martin.