Irish smiling without Doherty

Dec 4, 2001 9:05 AM

Notre Dame seems to have gotten the last laugh over losing head coach Matt Doherty to North Carolina.

Doherty’s Tar Heels are off to their worst start in the storied history of UNC basketball, while Notre Dame is 7-0 for  just the second time ever.

The Irish became 7-0 after an 82-55 trouncing of DePaul last Saturday. Ryan Humphrey, now the main man ­­after the graduation of two-time Big East Player of the Year Todd Murphy,  scored 18 points and grabbed 16 rebounds against DePaul.

Mike Bray, who took over as head coach when Doherty left South Bend for his alma mater last year, has the Irish playing their best ball since the glory year of Digger Phelps in the 1970s.

The only other time Notre Dame was 7-0 occurred in the 1979-80 season when the Irish eventually wound up as high as No. 3 in the polls.          

The Irish were unranked, but that should change this week. Otherwise, there should be an investigation.

The basketball success is a sharp contrast to the Bob Davie firing in football following  five troubled seasons.

Knight fever at Tech

Texas Tech took a chance at hiring the volatile Bob Knight, but the General has shown thus far that neither his temper nor the game has passed him by.

The Red Raiders are off to a 6-1 start after defeating TCU in Lubbock, 99-86. The victory   will probably guarantee a Top 25 ranking for Knight,  who has taken Texas Tech hoops to a level rarely seen.

Knight was full of praise for the Raiders, perhaps showing a more tender side that he said he would try to display after his controversial firing last year from Indiana.

“I have not had a team play better than that, particularly in a game that was a featured game that was on national television, ” Knight said following the TCU contest.

Knight has not only brought a winning attitude to Lubbock, but his mere presence is putting fannies in the stands. Tech is selling out basketball games at at a school where football has ruled. Tech will be a factor in the Big 12.

Mightier than sword

Penn and Princeton have long dominated the Ivy League, but the Quakers may finally have the horses to take things a step further.

The Quakers improved to 6-1 after defeating American this past Saturday. Penn’s lone loss was by just seven points in Las Vegas to mighty Illinois.

Penn owns wins over Georgia Tech and Iowa State on the road. The secret to success has been three-point accuracy.

The Quakers are hitting 44.5 percent from 3-point land, led by Ugonna Onyekwe with a stellar  14-of-24 (58.3 percent).

Penn should win 25 at least.