The Notre Dame Fighting Irish need to put on an impressive performance in the ACC tournament if they want a chance to play for a national championship. A few big wins this week may earn Notre Dame an at-large spot in the March Madness tournament, but winning the ACC tournament is the only way the team will feel secure on Selection Sunday. The quest to a conference tournament title began on Tuesday when the Fighting Irish played the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Notre Dame entered the game as huge favorites because the Pitt Panthers had only eight wins in the regular season. The opening minutes of the first half were extremely tight, but everything started going Notre Dame’s way late in the half. The Fighting Irish dominated every aspect of the game as they grabbed a 12-point lead at the halftime buzzer.
Pittsburgh came out with a little more energy in the second half, but the Fighting Irish were able to maintain their large lead for the opening 10 minutes of the half. The Notre Dame players started to coast down the stretch, and it allowed the Panthers to get back into the game. Pittsburgh was within two points in the final minute, but they were unable to pull off the impressive comeback. Notre Dame ultimately won the game 67-64 after hitting a few clutch free throws in the final seconds.
Notre Dame will now play the Virginia Tech Hokies in the second round of the conference tournament on Wednesday, March 7.