Notre Dame came to New York this week with a sincere hope of stunning the world. It already has succeeded, having provided shock value to this final Big East Tournament by wearing electric lime green uniforms, with animal print pants and non-matching neon green socks and sneakers.
It also really has a chance to pull a stunner because it still has a shot to win the tournament. The Fighting Irish knocked out Marquette, 73-65, at the Garden late Thursday night and advanced to the semifinal round Friday night against Louisville -- which shared the regular-season title with Georgetown and Marquette.
"We love New York City. I'll take that over South Bend for a while," said Mike Brey, coach of Notre Dame (25-8).
Pat Connaughton, a starting pitcher for Notre Dame as well as a shooting guard, scored 18 points, all on three-point shots. The key one came with 3:25 left when foul-plagued center Jack Cooley controlled an offensive rebound and, falling, dished it to Connaughton, who connected to give Notre Dame a 59-52 lead.
Jerian Grant scored 17 points and Garrick Sherman had 16 for the winners, who settled down after trailing 17-4. Brey yelled to his team after a turnover, "Slow down!" In fact, the Irish did show poise and patience, completely reversing the flow and taking a 29-25 lead into halftime.
When the buzzer sounded, the Irish band played the familiar Notre Dame Victory March (at least it is familiar to football fans). This was one of the bigger basketball wins the school has had in a while. Brey said of his team in this tournament, "We expect to be here a while."
That presumably means they brought enough clothes -- and, some people might hope, a different set of uniforms.