Brey Looks Ahead To Weekend

Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey had a conference call with the media on Wednesday morning. Brey talked about how his team is responding to consecutive losses, how they are handling the week off and the presence of ESPN on campus.

Mike Brey won't need the hoopla surrounding ESPN College Gameday's arrival on campus this weekend or the chance to extend Notre Dame's home win streak to motivate his squad for Saturday's matchup with Connecticut.

"We have not talked much about Gameday or much about the win streak," Brey said. "The only streak we've talked about… is that one-game win streaks in the Big East this year are pretty good things and that's all we're trying to get to."

"I think certainly when you've lost two, you certainly have your team's attention pretty good too to talk about those issues."

Following Saturday's loss at Syracuse, the Irish watched film on Sunday before practicing Monday and getting an off day on Tuesday. With a week between games, Brey and his staff have no choice but to try to take advantage of the break.

"You've got to make it help you. You've got to turn it into a time to get into some good practice sessions," he said. "We had a good one Monday, couldn't go real long, didn't want to go real long. Tuesday was your off day and now you have three good days to really work and reinforce things that we watched on film, things that we discussed on Monday."

Brey discussed decision-making with his team after the loss to the Orange.

"One of the things that I thought really hurt us Saturday was our shot selection early in the game," said Brey. "For a team that really is good with the ball and understands who they are, I think seven of our first 10 possessions we really didn't take a great shot or we took a quick shot and in turn it led to a transition opportunity for Syracuse.

"We weren't organized, the shots were unexpected for some of the guys. That was out of character a bit, that was disappointing."

The Irish will count on point guard Tory Jackson to make better choices at the start of the game on Saturday than he did against Syracuse.

"We started the [Syracuse] game with two of our first three shots were him shooting threes. That's a little bit out of character," Brey said of Jackson. "Now his percentage from the three-point line is better than it's ever been, but it's because we haven't started games like that, he's picked his spots later in the game, late in the clock.

"We really need him to set the table for us early and deliver because a lot of times when your quarterback if he's out of kilter, the other guys can get out of that a little bit. Now, we still need him to score."

Brey liked what he saw out of Jackson during Monday's short session when he made five of seven shots without taking a three-pointer while handing out five assists. The coach called his point guard later that night.

"That's kind of who you are, you've got to remember who you are and not experiment with that," Brey told Jackson.

Brey made a change to open the second half of the Syracuse game, starting Luke Zeller in place of Zach Hillesland, but he does not expect any shakeups for the UConn game.

"I think you always look at that, but I don't anticipate that in this game," said Brey. "It's more of trying to get the nucleus of guys doing their thing and getting their heads right and bodies right to do it.

"We did make a change at halftime of the Syracuse game with Zeller and he gave us some physical play in the post and we do have another big guy we're playing against, so certainly his value is important, but I wouldn't anticipate changing our starting lineup for this game."

Brey has been hesitant to go too deep with his bench, going with a rotation of six or seven. Brey said that keeping his players confident and playing well together is the motivation for sticking with his top guys.

"I think a general statement is sometimes when you play too many guys you're not as good with the ball because they're not as accustomed to playing with each other," he said.

But back-to-back losses have Brey looking for answers.

"When you lose two in a row like, ‘Hey, we've got to look at coming a different way especially with the bodies in this league,'" he said. "That's something that we've looked at Monday and will the rest of this week, to use another body or two."

Tyrone Nash and Carleton Scott figure to be the extra body or two that Brey is referring to, but Zeller and Jonathan Peoples will continue as the team's top reserves.

"Both of those guys are energy guys," said Brey. "Certainly Nash's body can help us, there's no question about it, but right now Zeller has been given us some good stuff." Top Stories