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Notre Dame: Flawless victory

Head coach Mike Brey of the Notre Dame

Head coach Mike Brey of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish claps while looking on from the bench against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the quarterfinals of the 2011 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament presented by American Eagle Outfitters at Madison Square Garden. (March 10, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Notre Dame coach Mike Brey was brutally honest with reporters following his team's 89-51 thrashing of Cincinnati in a Big East quarterfinal on Thursday: "Obviously we were ready to play. We got out of the gate great."

Boy did they ever. Cincinnati game into Thursday's game with a huge chip on its shoulder. Despite having 25 wins, the Bearcats find themselves at the bottom of the AP Poll (25) and nowhere to be seen in the coaches poll.

Notre Dame (26-5) accentuated the critics' reasoning for not giving Cincinnati (25-8) a lot of respect.

The Irish frustated Cincinnati at every turn, beating the bigger Bearcats on the boards (38-36), on poins in the paint (40-24) and fastbreak points (8-0).

Do we even need to talk about the scoring? Big East player of the year Ben Hansbrough had 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Scott Carleton had 18 points, Tim Abromaitis had 17 and Scott Martin scored 11.

It doesn't get much better than that. Did we mention Notre Dame had 22 assists compared to just nine for Cincinnati. The Irish offense was on fire and finished shooting 56.1 percent from the field.

Brey, who was named Big East coach of the year earlier this week, continued with his honesty and suggested his team could be in line for a No.1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

"Absolutely, we do," Brey said when asked about if the Irish should be in the conversation for it. "I haven't talked to them about that much because we talked about coming here and getting our program to Saturday night."

Based on the way they destroyed Cincy, it won't be long now.


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