Notre Dame has the solitary honor of being beaten down by three Final Four teams this season. The worst was to UNC in the Maui Invitational, but they also dropped two games to Connecticut and one to Villanova. The New York Times thought it natural to turn to the Fighting Irish for some scouting reports, and here's what they had to say about UNC:
First, Mike Brey, former assistant at Duke and successor to Matt Doherty:
“Carolina to me, we played them in the finals in Maui, with the depth on the front line and how they can rotate with fresh big guys, that and with Lawson ramming it down your throat in transition, was different than anything we played against. And we played everybody. We played Connecticut twice, Louisville twice, Villanova. There was something about them.
Now I want to see Jay (Wright) and Villanove beat them. I’m a Big East fan right now, and they’ve got great karma and momentum. But there’s something, just seeing Carolina up close at Thanksgiving, the number of big bodies they they keep coming in and they’re fresh and skilled, and Lawson ramming it down your throat. I mean, (Notre Dame guard) Tory Jackson is not a slow guy, and we couldn’t slow Lawson down. So I’m very impressed with them."
Guard Kyle McAlarney prefers UConn, we think:
“We played Carolina early on in the year, and they were hitting on all cylinders that game. At that point I would’ve said that was the best team in the country. We played UConn twice, we had their number at their place, and that gives us a lot of confidence going into this thing (the N.I.T.). But they’re obviously a very dangerous team. They’re so tough inside. It gives us confidence in this tournament to know that we played a couple of those teams very well.
Nobody has any love for Michigan State, the one team denied the opportunity to beat Notre Dame.