Resilient Irish hoping for another Elite 8

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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (March 24, 2016) – Notre Dame is back in the Sweet 16 and looking for back-to-back trips to the Elite Eight. They’ll face a Wisconsin team with that same goal in mind: A return to the NCAA quarterfinals.

“We’ve been there last year, but we want to continue to go to reach the Elite Eight and make another run,” said Irish senior Zach Auguste.

Though Notre Dame finds itself in a similar situation to last year, the path the Irish traveled has been much different. They started this season as reigning ACC Champions, having to carry the weight of the expectations that come with that distinction.

“Last year’s team, they just got to play,” said head coach Mike Brey. “This year’s group had that on ’em the whole time, and that’s why I have a lot of respect for them.”

The six-seeded Irish got to the Sweet 16 with a pair of close victories, first over 11-seed Michigan 70-63 (Notre Dame had just a three-point lead with 0:11 to play), and then topping 14-seed Stephen F. Austin 76-75.

“We’ve had a ton of games come down to (late) game situations,” said junior Demetrius Jackson. “In the final four minutes, you have to execute, and I think executing those times, it really made us a better team going forward.”

“Our resiliency is at a great level,” added Auguste. “When it comes down the stretch, two minutes or one minute left, I think that’s when we really excel.”

“It’s a group that really believes,” tacked on Brey. “(We’ve) found great mental and physical toughness to get this way, and I love our frame of mind right now.”

The Irish take on the seven-seed Badgers, Friday night at 7:47 on TBS.

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