Aug. 18, 2008
Editor’s note: During the Notre Dame men’s basketball team’s 12-day, four-city foreign tour of Ireland, senior guard Kyle McAlarney will file a daily diary after talking by phone with the South Bend Tribune’s Tom Noie. Following are McAlarney’s thoughts on day 6 of the trip.
BELFAST, Northern Ireland — I’m not very good at packing for road trips. I usually have to consult with my mom or my girlfriend, but I didn’t pack enough clothes. I’ve had to break down and do some laundry.
We’re staying in the same hotel as the Poland national team (which Notre Dame beat 104-86 on Monday). We see them in the lobby and on the elevators so the tension between the teams has been building. No one was talking trash or anything bad, but when you walk by the whole team, you kind of size them up in your head. You’re going through some of the things you want to say to them.
The game (Monday night) against Poland was more of an emotional win for us. They had big bodies. They were an older team. You look at their roster and see that they have guys who have been on that team for so many years; they were a crafty group. They played smart, but we were way more quicker and athletic.
We were up eight points at the half and then went on a really big run. Our defense helped break it open. Our ball pressure bothered them. It all starts with Tory (Jackson) and spreads to the rest of us. Tory’s the best on-the-ball defender in the (BIG EAST). When we can get him out in the open court like that, it really opens everything else up for us. It allows us to lock in defensively.
Tory’s energy carries over to the rest of the guys. We were in attack mode. This team really senses when we can go in for the kill in a game and break it open, just demoralize the other team with defense and transition baskets.
The final score made it look a lot closer than it was. It was the closest game since we’ve been here, but they threw in some 3-pointers at the end.
We had another sightseeing trip before the game. After our shootaround, we got a tour of the (Northern Ireland) Parliament (building). It was a nice tour, but it throws off our routine. It’s not often we can go on a field trip the day of the game. I don’t think we’ll do that this season when we play at Pittsburgh.
My back gets really stiff sitting on these buses. I wanted to get in the whirlpool after (Sunday’s) game, but the pool in our hotel closed at 8. We’re on the way back the hotel right now and need to get some food and get some guys hydrated.
I don’t think we’re going out tonight. We’ll probably play cards and watch television. We leave the Olympics on since the stations are limited. We also have Internet access in our hotel to keep up with what’s going on back home. I don’t follow baseball, but I do try to keep up with what’s happening with the Olympics. We keep track of how the U.S. basketball team is doing and, of course, Michael Phelps. I wish we could have watched the U.S. game against Germany.
My dad told me that our family is originally from Cork in Ireland. I’m working with our host tour guide and she’s trying to figure out my family lineage. It would be great to find out, maybe bring some paperwork home for my family. I’m pretty excited to see what we can learn.
We’re going back to Dublin (today) and visiting the Titanic museum. Hopefully the weather will be better. It rained all day here.
Love you, mom.