Location: South Bend, IN
Mascot: Fighting Irish
Coach: Mike Brey
Record: 29-5 (14-4 ACC)
Kenpom ranking: 10
Good wins (Kenpom ranking): Michigan State (17), North Carolina (16, twice), Duke (7, twice), Louisville (18)
Bad losses (Kenpom ranking): Pittsburgh (80), Syracuse (62)
Tournament appearances: 34
Best result: Final Four (1978)
NBA alumni: Adrian Dantley, Bill Laimbeer, Troy Murphy
Best name: V.J. Beachem
Famous alumni: Condoleezza Rice, Regis Philbin, Joe Montana
A football Independent from Indiana didn't seem like a perfect fit in the Atlantic Coast Conference, especially after the team's 13th-place finish in their first year in the league. But seniors Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton weren't on board with that: the Irish battled the ACC's bluebloods game-in, game-out, and ended up winning their first ACC Tournament.
Style of play: Small ballin'
The Irish often play a lineup with five players 6'5 or less, but thanks to the gifted creative skills of Jerian Grant, they use this to their advantage: Notre Dame shoots 58.1 percent from inside the arc, the best two-point FG percentage in the country. That said, the small lineup does lead to a defensive disadvantage -- ND's losses tend to feature strong performances by opponents inside.
Key player: Grantland
Grant creates offense effortlessly, both for himself and others. A lanky 6'5 combo guard, the senior scores 16.9 points per game while assisting on 33.8 percent of the team's baskets while he's on the floor. He descends from the bespectacled 1990's NBA twins -- he's Harvey's son, Horace's nephew -- and his younger brother Jerami is on the 76ers.
Pat Connaughton is second on the Irish in scoring and leads them in rebounds, but his athletic future is probably on the baseball diamond. A fourth-round pick of the Orioles in last year's MLB Draft, Connaughton would've been drafted higher if it wasn't for his insistence he finish his Notre Dame degree and hoops career. He had a 2.51 ERA with the Orioles' Short Season A League affiliate last year before cutting his baseball season short to focus on basketball in South Bend.