How many teams can lose their best player, a first-team all-conference player as wing Tim Abromaitis was, and seemingly be a better team? For the second time in three years, coach Mike Brey has revamped Notre Dame's offensive and defensive tendencies and are once again, a strong contender in the Big East and national picture.
With an absolute dismantling of West Virginia at home, a 71-44 victory, Notre Dame completed their ninth straight victory to inch into a second-place tie in the conference standings with Marquette. Without Abromaitis in the lineup, junior forward Jack Cooley has taken over as the team leader, both emotionally and production-wise, entering the conference player of the year discussion, and sophomore point guard Jerian Grant is a stud-in-the-making for the Fighting Irish; during this win streak, Cooley is averaging 16 points and 11 rebounds, while the 6'5" Grant is averaging 14 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists per game.
team has come a long way since losing back-to-back games to UConn and Rutgers more than a month ago, taking the shape of a potential No. 4 seed in March.