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Notre Dame Fighting Irish (25-5, 14-4 Big East): Irish Strive For First Big East Tournament Title

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (25-5, 14-4 Big East)

Big East Tournament Seed:  No. 2; play No. 7/10/15 winner on Thursday (7 p.m. on ESPN).

Head Coach: Mike Brey, who's coaching his 11th year at Notre Dame, is the third-longest tenured coach in the Big East Conference. Brey has led the Irish to a lot of regular season success (11 20-win seasons), but he has never captured a Big East Conference Tournament championship.

Team MVP: Don't worry, I wont do be that guy who points out that one fact about senior guard Ben Hansbrough. The transfer from Mississippi State, has made a name for himself this season. Hansbrough, who was the only player to earn a unanimous selection for All-Big East First Team, ended the regular season as the conference's third-best scorer (18.5 points per game) and third-best 3-point shooter (45.1 percent). Since Jan. 19, the Irish are 11-1 and Hansbrough has averaged 19.9 ppg. On Feb. 23, the 6-foot-3 guard netted a collegiate-best 32 points at Providence.

Playing For: If Notre Dame can earn the program's first Big East Tournament title, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament is possible. If not, then the Irish will probably earn a No. 2 or 3 seed.

Breakdown: While Hansbrough has received a lot of attention, it needs to be noted that teammate senior forward Tim Abromaitis is also producing a stellar season. The 6-8 forward is the team's second-best scorer (15.2 ppg) and rebounder (6.2 rpg), but also can hit a 3-pointer (41.9 percent) and does every little thing on the basketball court. Add two more seniors, forwards Carleton Scott and Scott Martin, and Notre Dame, SB Nation New York's Most Surprising Team, has the goods to win the whole shebang. Finally.