They were picked to finish in the middle of the pack in the 16-team Big East Conference.
Even after a solid 10-2 start, they weren't given much credit heading into Big East play.
Now, the Irish are 2-0 in the league after wins over West Virginia and UConn. A spot in the top 25 could be on the horizon.
"For me, I always try to find something to play with a chip on my shoulder," junior guard Kyle McAlarney said after posting a career high 32 points in Saturday's win over UConn.
"I know a lot of our guys are like that. That's just how I play and I think that's how we should play."
But the critics are still out there---wondering if the Irish can win a big game on the road.
Notre Dame will have a chance to answer those critics again Next Saturday when they head to Milwaukee to finish 11th ranked Marquette.
"We're 2-0 in the Big East but Marquette they are a heck of a team," McAlarney explained. "They have a heck of a backcourt---one of the best in the country---and they're ranked. We're not going in there and kissing their feet or anything; we're going in there playing as hard as we can."
"We're going to go for it. We don't want to play like we're 2-0. We want to play like we're 0-2 and we're down."
Part of the reason the Irish have been so resilient is their heart.
A perfect example is sophomore guard Tory Jackson who after being drilled in the eye late in the 1st half, refused to sit out the rest of the game.
Jackson played the 2nd half looking more like Rocky Balboa then a basketball player. His right eye was swollen and he could not see out of it.
"Coach kept asking if I was ok, but I couldn't let him down and I couldn't let my team down," Jackson said after the game.
"I just kept fighting and gave it my all. It was like a boxing match out there. It was aggressive. Everyone was out there fighting. It's the Big East."