Notre Dame searching for answers to defensive woes after third loss in four games

Many viewed Notre Dame as a contender for the Big East championship at the outset this season with so much talent and experience returning, including all five starters.

Even coach Mike Brey embraced the high expectations after finishing second and third and winning a combined 49 games the past two seasons.

Six games into league play Notre Dame looks far from elite. It lost for the third time in the past four Big East games to Georgetown 63-47 at home on Monday night trailing by as many as 22 at one point. It has been ranked in both major polls each of the past eight weeks, but the streak probably won't grow to nine after Monday's performance.

There is still time for the Irish to turn things around and get back in the Big East hunt but it's going to take a lot of work, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. The Irish are now second-to-last in the Big East in field goal percentage defense and opponent's points per possession. Big East opponents are making 47 percent of their shots against the Irish. That's not going to win a lot of games let alone a championship and it's perplexing because last season the Irish finished in the top half of the conference in points allowed.

Brey called Monday's loss “a thorough beating” and said he was searching for answers, acknowledging that they need to come fast. The Hoyas made 53 percent of their shots against the Irish and shot 47 percent from behind the 3-point line.

Notre Dame's potent shooting ability has probably saved it from a few more losses this season against lesser competition. Now that it is three weeks into league play, Brey's team is finding it can't win games on the offensive end alone. The Irish went into Monday's game as the Big East leader in field goal percentage and 3-point shooting as well, but Georgetown was good on both ends of the floor.

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