Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hoops, Same Old Story for the Irish on the Road

Tom Hamilton Contributor IIJanuary 5, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY - DECEMBER 08:  Jack Cooley #45 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish grabs a rebound during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats in the 2010 DIRECTV SEC/BIG EAST Invitational at Freedom Hall on December 8, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

As well as the Notre Dame men's basketball team has played at home this season, they have not been able to produce the same results when out from under the shadow of the golden dome.

After opening their Big East season with a thorough 72-59 thumping of 22nd ranked Pittsburgh, the Fighting Irish hoped to bottle some of that home hardwood magic for a road tilt against Cincinnati.  

Unfortunately for Notre Dame, three Bearcats who had recently been suspended for six games, following an in-game brawl with players from Xavier, were reinstated just in time to torment the Irish. 

From the opening tip, this game was far more indicative of the sub-par road performances we have seen from the Irish this season.

Notre Dame knotted the game at two after a lay-up by power forward Jack Cooley with 17:38 left in the first half. This turned out to be the last time they were legitimately in the game. 

Led by the return of rugged, skilled Yancy Gates, Cincinnati built first half leads of 13-4 and 27-14 before bouncing back into the locker room with a 31-21 advantage. 

The second half saw the listless Irish sleepwalk through the final twenty minutes without making any sort of thrust to get back into the game. The Bearcats scored the first five points of the frame with the help of Jaquon Parker's three-pointer and were never challenged again. 

The forgone final score on Wednesday night was 71-55. 

This continued a disturbing trend of road and neutral site contests in which the Irish were spanked by superior opponents. This time, it was Cincinnati's defensive pressure which bothered Notre Dame.

Early turnovers got the crowd into the game and the rafters soon began to close in on the flustered Irish. Notre Dame is now 0-6 in road and neutral site games so far this season. 

Things do not get a lot easier from here as the Irish must travel to Louisville on Saturday, where they will once again be a mountain climbing underdog. 

Every thing looked a little brighter for the Irish after the Pittsburgh upset, but the Irish took a major step back with this loss.

Until they can solve this road riddle, Notre Dame will not be a serious player in the Big East this season, nor will they even sniff the Big Dance.