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Getting Acclimated

Jan 19, 2014, 10:04 AM EDT

Mike Franz, the official 2013-14 men’s basketball beat writer for the In The Paint blog, is currently a sophomore at Holy Cross College. Over the course of the year Mike will bring you insight from within the student section, interviews with Fighting Irish players and stories from inside the team circle. You can follow Mike (and the rest of the Notre Dame student beat writing staff) on twitter at @JrNDBloggers.

Notre Dame Basketball has been on a tough stretch of games this past week and a half. After upsetting Duke at home in the team’s inaugural ACC conference game, the Irish lost the following three games against NC State, Georgia Tech and most recently, Maryland. The team is now 1-3 in conference play with an overall record of 10-7. Although many Irish fans believe the team’s season is in jeopardy of turning from bad to worse, freshman guard Steve Vasturia believes the team can salvage this season.

Vasturia has been getting a lot of playing time recently. His confidence to shoot the ball has increased as of late which started during the Duke game.

“[College basketball] is a lot faster, but practicing every day really helps,” he said. “I have just been trying to get acclimated.”

Pitted against the talented Blue Devils, he responded tremendously. Scoring nine points and snagging four defensive rebounds, Vasturia helped the Irish pull out the win and start off their ACC campaign right. “I just tried to make an impact and help make the win possible,” Vasturia explained. “I believe I was able to help us a little bit.”

That game was really the first time the freshman was able to show his talents to Irish fans. I was impressed with his execution around the three point line. Also, his rebounding ability was much appreciated because you cannot give a team like Duke second-chance points.

His performance in the Duke game did not go unnoticed as he was named ACC Rookie of the Week; the first of any Notre Dame player in the program’s history. “It was a great honor [referring to being named ACC Rookie of the Week],” he admitted. “We all got a really big win and we were really excited about it.”

After that big win, to say the past three games were disappointing would be an understatement. It seemed as though the Irish were digging themselves out of a hole or putting themselves into one late in the game.

Inconsistency would be a word used to describe the team’s play recently. “We’re just trying to take it one game at a time,” the freshman said. “We got a big game Sunday and we’re gonna try to get a little win streak going.”

The Irish are going to have to change some things if they want to get that big W. “We need to keep competing and play great defense.” Vasturia said,”It comes down to executing.”

What I took from Vasturia was this: The team is confident, composed and determined to turn this season around. And Sunday’s game against the Hokies is the team’s first chance to get back in the win column. Sunday would be a big win not only because it would improve their conference record, but also because at halftime former head coach, Digger Phelps, will be inducted into the Notre Dame Ring of Honor. The game is scheduled for 6:00PM and can be seen on ESPNU.

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