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1979–80 Notre Dame Fighting Irish men's basketball team

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1979–80 Notre Dame Fighting Irish men's basketball
Notre Dame Fighting Irish logo.svg
NCAA Tournament, Second Round
ConferenceIndependent
Ranking
APNo. 9
1979–80 record22–6
Head coachDigger Phelps (9th season)
Assistant coachDanny Nee
Assistant coachScott Thompson
Assistant coachTom McLaughlin
CaptainRich Branning (Senior year)
CaptainBill Hanzlik (Senior year)
Home arenaJoyce Center
Seasons

The 1979–80 Notre Dame Fighting Irish men's basketball team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1979–80 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The team was coached by Digger Phelps and was ranked in the Associated Press poll for the entirety of the season.

Preseason[edit | edit source]

The Irish were ranked fifth in the preseason AP Poll, behind Indiana, Kentucky, Duke and Ohio State.[1] While they lost frontcourt contributors Bruce Flowers and Bill Laimbeer to graduation, they added a recruiting class ranked fourth nationally by the 1979–80 Street & Smith basketball yearbook.[2] The class included McDonald's All-Americans Tim Andree and John Paxson and highly-regarded forward Bill Varner.[3][4] Key returning players were 1979 All-American Kelly Tripucka and future National Basketball Association (NBA) players Tracy Jackson, Bill Hanzlik and Orlando Woolridge. Woolridge was moved from forward to center to replace Flowers and Laimbeer.[5][6] Senior point guard Rich Branning was selected co-captain of the team with Hanzlik.[7]

Leading up to an Olympic year, Notre Dame played an exhibition game against the Soviet National Team, notching a surprising 86–76 win behind Tripucka's 35 points.[8]

Regular season[edit | edit source]

The Irish suffered an early setback as senior co-captain Hanzlik missed several games with a dislocated finger,[9][7] but fared well, compiling a 6–0 record in his absence, including a marquee win against UCLA.[10] The Irish won the contest behind clutch free throws and defense from freshman John Paxson.[11] After the team's fast start, The Irish found themselves ranked third in the country and facing second-ranked Kentucky at Freedom Hall in Louisville. Despite the Wildcats missing starters Sam Bowie and Dirk Minniefield, the Irish lost the game 80–86.[12] A January loss to San Francisco left the Irish on a two-game losing streak.[13] The highlight of the Irish's season came on February 27, 1980 when they upset top-ranked DePaul 76-74 in double-overtime. The Irish were led by Kelly Tripucka's 28 points and the win was sealed by two free throws by Orlando Woolridge. The Irish were able to overcome a big scoring push by future NBA All-Stars Mark Aguirre (28 points) and Terry Cummings (16).[14][15] A regular-season finale 62–54 win at Dayton raised the Irish's record to 22–5.[16]

NCAA Tournament[edit | edit source]

Notre Dame was selected for the 1980 NCAA Tournament and were the 4 seed in the Midwest Region, slated to play the winner of a first round game between Missouri and San Jose State in Lincoln, Nebraska.[17] Fifth-seeded Missouri upset the Irish 87–84 in overtime behind senior Mark Dressler's 32 points, wasting a 29-point effort by Tracy Jackson.[18]

Schedule[edit | edit source]

Date
time, TV
Rank# Opponent# Result Record Site
city, state
December 1
No. 5 Valparaiso W 92–66  1–0
Joyce Center 
Notre Dame, IN
December 3
No. 5 Iowa State W 87–77  2–0
Joyce Center 
Notre Dame, IN
December 5
No. 4 at Northwestern W 73–56  3–0
Welsh-Ryan Arena 
Evanston, Illinois
December 8
No. 4 Saint Louis W 93–66  4–0
Joyce Center 
Notre Dame, IN
December 11
No. 4 No. 7 UCLA W 77–74  5–0
Joyce Center 
Notre Dame, IN
December 22
No. 4 Fairfield W 69–59  6–0
Joyce Center 
Notre Dame, IN
December 29
No. 3 No. 2 Kentucky L 80–86  6–1
Freedom Hall 
Louisville, Kentucky
January 8
No. 7 at San Francisco L 59–67  6–2
War Memorial Gymnasium 
San Francisco, CA
January 10
No. 7 at Tulane W 79–59  7–2
Avron B. Fogelman Arena 
New Orleans, Louisiana
January 13
No. 7 at TCU W 85–68  8–2
Daniel-Meyer Coliseum 
Fort Worth, Texas
January 15
No. 8 Villanova W 70–69  9–2
Joyce Center 
Notre Dame, IN
January 19
No. 8 at UCLA W 80–73  10–2
Pauley Pavilion 
Los Angeles, California
January 23
No. 8 Canisius W 84–63  11–2
Joyce Center 
Notre Dame, IN
January 26
No. 8 No. 15 Maryland W 64–63  12–2
Joyce Center 
Notre Dame, IN
January 30
No. 8 at La Salle L 64–63  12–3
Palestra 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 2
No. 8 Davidson W 105–71  13–3
Joyce Center 
Notre Dame, IN
February 4
No. 8 Navy W 67–53  14–3
Joyce Center 
Notre Dame, IN
February 6
No. 9 Manhattan W 93–49  15–3
Joyce Center 
Notre Dame, IN
February 9
No. 9 North Carolina State L 55–63  15–4
Joyce Center 
Notre Dame, IN
February 11
No. 9 San Francisco W 78–66  16–4
Joyce Center 
Notre Dame, IN
February 13
No. 12 at Fordham W 86–76  17–4
Rose Hill Gymnasium 
Bronx, NY
February 16
No. 12 at South Carolina W 90–66  18–4
Carolina Coliseum 
Columbia, SC
February 20
No. 10 at Xavier W 85–72  19–4
Schmidt Field House 
Cincinnati, OH
February 24
No. 10 Marquette L 74–77  19–5
Joyce Center 
Notre Dame, IN
February 27
No. 14 No. 1 DePaul W 76–74  20–5
Joyce Center 
Notre Dame, IN
March 1
No. 14 at Dayton W 62–54  21–5
UD Arena 
Dayton, OH
March 8
(4) No. 9 vs. (5) No. 16 Missouri L 84–87 1 21–6
Bob Devaney Sports Center 
Lincoln, NE
*Non-conference game. #Rankings from AP Poll. (#) Tournament seedings in parentheses.

[19]

Players selected in NBA drafts[edit | edit source]

Year Round Pick Player NBA Club
1980 1 20 Bill Hanzlik Seattle SuperSonics
1980 4 78 Rich Branning Indiana Pacers
1981 1 6 Orlando Woolridge Chicago Bulls
1981 1 12 Kelly Tripucka Detroit Pistons
1981 2 25 Tracy Jackson Boston Celtics
1981 8 167 Gilbert Salinas Atlanta Hawks
1983 1 19 John Paxson San Antonio Spurs
1983 5 98 Tim Andree Chicago Bulls
1983 9 202 Bill Varner Milwaukee Bucks

[20]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Indiana no. 1 in preseason poll". The News-Press. November 16, 1979. p. 40. Retrieved March 3, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  2. "1979–80 Official Basketball Yearbook". Street & Smith's Official Yearbook. New York City: Condé Nast Publications. October 1979. pp. 26, 73.
  3. Francisco, Joel (May 26, 2009). "Many players succeeded after '79 game". ESPN.com. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  4. "Golden dome shines brightly for Varner". Pittsburgh Press. June 5, 1979. p. 20. Retrieved March 3, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  5. Goldaper, Sam (November 25, 1979). "A Preview of the 20 Top College Basketball Teams". The New York Times. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  6. "The Top 20". Sports Illustrated. December 1, 1980. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Notre Dame's pied piper plays sweet Irish tune". Indianapolis News. December 28, 1979. p. 24. Retrieved March 3, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  8. "Notre Dame 'outsmarts' Russians". The Dispatch. November 16, 1979. p. 23. Retrieved March 3, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  9. "Bill Hanzlik to sit out UCLA tilt". Indianapolis Star. December 11, 1979. p. 31. Retrieved March 3, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  10. "Notre Dame-UCLA better than expected". Indianapolis Star. December 13, 1979. p. 53. Retrieved March 3, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  11. "Irish rookie sinks 4 free throws, UCLA". Detroit Free Press. December 13, 1979. p. 53. Retrieved March 3, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  12. "Bowie-less Kentucky impressed Irish coach". The Paducah Sun. December 31, 1979. p. 15. Retrieved March 3, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  13. "San Francisco center's about face stuns Notre Dame". Chillicothe Gazette. January 9, 1980. p. 17. Retrieved March 3, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  14. "Woolridge free throws spark Irish past DePaul". The Pantagraph. February 28, 1980. p. 11. Retrieved March 3, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  15. "Irish do unto DePaul as they have others". Decatur Daily Review. February 28, 1980. p. 13. Retrieved March 3, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  16. "Notre Dame bounces Dayton with late surge". The Cincinnati Enquirer. March 2, 1980. p. 33. Retrieved March 3, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  17. "Tourney a matter of momentum". South Bend Tribune. March 4, 1980. p. 26. Retrieved March 3, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  18. "Missouri stuns Irish in overtime". Kokomo Tribune. March 9, 1980. p. 22. Retrieved March 3, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  19. "1979-80 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Schedule". sports-reference.com. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  20. "Notre Dame draft history at basketball-reference.com". Retrieved March 3, 2019.


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