Notre Dame never got it going this year and barring a stunning run in the ACC Tournament, will miss the real tournament, which makes four empty efforts in a row as the Irish would have been on the outside looking in last season. Things have definitely been better in South Bend for Mike Brey, who is embroiled in the worst campaign during his 21-year tenure. He knows it and the fans know it, treating the coach to a chorus of boos and pleas for her termination after last evening's stinker against North Carolina State.
Brey took the beating in stride and graciously said he understands the frustration. But I tend to agree with WSBT's Pete Byrne, who pointed out an obvious truth: the guy deserves better.
Brey has piloted Notre Dame to 12 NCAA Tournaments, won a regular-season and conference crown, made the second round 10 times, and the Elite Eight twice. He's won over 64 percent of his games and turned the program into a staple of the Top 25 poll. One of those trips deep into March ended at the hands of an unbeaten Kentucky team, 39-plus minutes of incredible basketball that turned into a footnote instead of a historic upset by a few bad bounces.
Before Brey, the Irish had a proud basketball tradition wallowing in purgatory. He made the dance in his first try, erasing a 10-year drought. Fans have short memories, yes, but that's not an excuse to be willfully ignorant of the big picture. This college basketball season will count. It will also be remembered as the weirdest, most random endeavor in the sport's history. Success should be savored and disappointment contextualized.
Booing Brey and calling for his ouster after this season, with the knowledge that you've only recently been allowed in the building due to a global pandemic, is clownish behavior. It's so clownish that I don't even feel the need to go on. Brey was being polite and political and level-headed in his response.
Unencumbered from all his considerations, I can say what he might want to say succinctly: shut the hell up.