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After three straight overtime games, Notre Dame stumbles at Providence

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(USA Today Sports Images)

A week ago Notre Dame came through with one of the best total-team performances of the season in college basketball beating Louisville in five overtimes and having to rely on the end of its bench to earn that victory.

Fighting Irish fans had to be asking themselves what happened to that team today when No. 21 Notre Dame flopped on the road losing 71-54 at Providence in a game that wasn't really competitive.

It's possible the past three outings have simply taken too much out of coach Mike Brey's team. Each game went to overtime and Notre Dame found ways to win all three, but all that extra time on the court essentially works out to an additional game for the Irish.

Notre Dame made just one of 14 3-point attempts and was outworked on the boards giving up 15 offensive rebounds. Guards Jerian Grant and Eric Atkins combined to score just 13 points. Grant was one of the heroes of last week's win over the Cardinals and had scored in double figures in seven straight games.

Providence is heating up as the end of the regular season approaches and has now beaten two top 25 teams in its four-game winning streak, but the Friars came into the game 13-11 overall and 5-7 in the Big East. That's not the kind of team Notre Dame should be losing to, especially not in such uncompetitive fashion. Providence led by 26 points at one point.

Maybe it will end up being an excusable blip on the schedule that can be blamed on fatigue after those three straight overtime outings, but right now it seems the Irish have lost any momentum that might have been gained from one of the best games of the season a week ago.

The loss also comes at a bad time because the Irish have one of the most difficult finishing schedules in the Big East. They play three ranked opponents in the final five games – Pittsburgh, Marquette and Louisville – and host Cincinnati and St. John's.

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