Notre Dame’s disappointing basketball season will be capped off with a trip to the NIT as a #2 in the NCAA’s consolation tournament. Notre Dame received a St. Patty’s day matchup with UAB on Tuesday at the Joyce Center. While a game on St. Patrick’s Day for Notre Dame will make Irish fan’s St. Patty’s Day festivities a bit more merry, it will also serve a reminder of how truly disappointing this season has become. A pre-season top 10 ranking and talk of dreaming big from Mike Brey had expectations sky high this year.
Most college basketball observers would have characterized even a low seed for the Irish in the Tournament a disappointing season for Notre Dane, and the thought of missing the tourney completely seemed unthinkable in November.
Despite the disappointment of missing the NCAA Tournament, it will be important for Brey to get his team to play tough and build a little momentum for 2009-10. Brey shouldn’t let his team forget that a trip to the NIT, even if the Irish were to win the it, is not something to be celebrated. If Harangody returns next season, Notre Dame will have a very experienced roster which will add transfers Ben Hansbrough and Scott Martin – both of whom sat out this season.
Tuesday night’s game tips off at 9pm and will be televised ESPN2. Notre Dame joins fellow Big East schools Georgetown and Providence in the NIT. Georgetown, one of the few teams to have a more disappointing season than Notre Dame this year, will play Baylor while Providence will host Miami (Fl) in the first round. Georgetown(16-14), Virginia Tech (18-14), Northwestern (17-13), and Washington State (17-15) are the only teams in the field fo 32 with fewer wins than the Irish (19-14). For the full 2009 NIT bracket, click the image below.