Notre Dame Basketball Not Getting Much Respect

Mike Brey - Notre Dame Sweet 16
Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As Notre Dame makes its final preparations for their first Sweet 16 appearance in 12 years, the Irish aren’t getting a whole lot of love from most publications who are reranking the tournament field after the first weekend of the Tournament despite the Irish sporting a 7-1 record against the 15 remaining teams.

Notre Dame, the winner’s of the ACC Tournament, may not have been dominant in their first two games, but after their run through the ACC that included back to back wins over Duke and North Carolina – two teams also in the Sweet 16 – a little let down isn’t out of the ordinary.

USA Today, however, has Notre Dame ranked #12 out of 16 of the remaining teams.

12. Notre Dame: The Irish are a potent offensive team, but it was a defensive play — Pat Connaughton’s block to force overtime — that helped Notre Dame edge a pesky Butler team to get here. Notre Dame is playing with confidence and has momentum from winning the ACC tournament title. Coach Mike Brey has five players who can erupt offensively, starting with unselfish guard Jerian Grant (16.8 ppg, 6.6 apg).

Sporting News has the Irish just a spot higher at #11.

11. Notre Dame: The Irish are demonstrably better than at least five teams ranked ahead of them. But none of those teams has to play Kentucky to get out of its region.

NBC’s College Basketball Talk has Notre Dame #10

10. Notre Dame (No. 3 Midwest): Jerian Grant and Demetrius Jackson, when surrounded by the shooters that the Irish have in their lineup, combine to be the most dangerous back court left in the tournament. But their size worries me. Can Zach Auguste and Pat Connaughton hold up against the front lines from Kentucky, Wisconsin and Arizona?

Granted Notre Dame has a tough road ahead of it to get out of next weekend still alive, but their wins over Duke (2x), North Carolina (2x), NC State, Louisville, and Michigan State this season have shown that Notre Dame can play with – and beat – the best competition in the country.

Vegas doesn’t think much of Notre Dame’s chances either placing the Irish as a 35-1 favorite to win it all.  Their opponent on Thursday, Wichita State, meanwhile is a 30-1 favorite showing Vegas thinks the Shockers have a better chance to navigate the potential minefield of teams ahead of the winner of Thursday’s contest.

Notre Dame’s narrow victories over 14th seeded Northeastern and 6th seeded Butler haven’t done much to gain the Irish respect even after their impressive run through the ACC Tournament two weekends ago, but the Irish are still dancing and with their offensive firepower, they can hang with anyone in the country when their shots are falling.  We have yet to see the kind of offensive explosion the Irish are capable of in the Tournament, but we’ll have to see one in order for the Irish to prove all of these rankings have them underrated.


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  1. ND has had a fabulous season. Even if they are too small to play Kentucky they will give it their
    best shot and no matter what it doesnt diminish their season.

  2. If you’re going to “ask” anyone, perhaps you should start with our own Jack Swarbrick.
    You remember him don’t you?
    He’s the one who bartered the deal with the ACC… which put ND in the most prestigious basketball
    conference in the NCAA… which the Irish won… which allowed the Irish to gain a #3 seed in the tournament as a battle hardened team.

    And those uniforms ! Very sharp and very classy!
    I think old Jackie Boy had something to do with that as well.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of the tournament…. you certainly deserve it.

  3. Wichita State may be coming off their most important win ever by beating Kansas. I’m counting that victory more than their victory of Ohio State in the Elite 8 two years ago. They rode a wave of emotion and gave Kansas a lesson on playing 40 minutes of physical basketball. ND must realize that is what they will be in for tonight. ND has answered the bell many times this season. They have show a lot of heart. This Wichita State team has all those elements too. Even though ND has beaten Duke twice, North Carolina twice, and NC State, this Wichita State team will be just as difficult as beating those teams.

  4. Gary,

    Did you not read my comment all the way? I said “at first” I thought Wichita State would be the better matchup but after learning more about that I came to realize Kansas would probably have been the better matchup for ND. I also noted it will take great defense AND great offense to beat Wichita. You’re getting all bent out of shape for nothing.

    And anyway, I’m just a ND fan. My “lack of information” as you call it is irrelevant. Mike Brey will not suffer for “lack of information.” You can bet he’s studied everything he can on the Shockers. If they lose tonight, it will not be because of any lack of information. I’ve been following the Irish all season and I know no team scares them. Being down in a game doesn’t scare them. They are very businesslike in their approach and Wichita State would do well not to underestimate them.

    It seems many in the media are already looking forward to Kentucky-Wichita State. I almost wish the Shockers would take the same attitude because if they overlooked ND, that would be their downfall. But I suspect their coach, like Mike Brey, is too smart to fall for that trap.

    Ultimately, I think this game is a toss-up. ND’s weakness has in the past been its defense. I think we can safely say they are playing much better defense, esp. over the course of the last few weeks. A lot will depend on whether ND can regenerate its prolific offense. They are also going to have to get a lot of shots off beyond the arc.

  5. @Gary Fletcher ND does INDEED have the best back court remaining in the tourney. I dont see either Baker or VanFleet making plays like Connaughton and Grant has. Lol WSU’s guards arent even remotely close to being tenacious on defense as ND. Did u even watch the last game of Nd vs Butler? Defensive plays of the year….. WSU will need luck and lots of it to knock off ND

  6. Your lack of information about Wichita State could be Notre Dame’s downfall. First of all, Notre dame does NOT have the best back court in the tournament. I would put Ron Baker and Fred VanVliet against them any time,date,or place. Damian, Wichita State kicked KU’s ass!! What part of a bad match-up is that ? You are about 3 days late on your comment. Notre Dame will soon find out that Wichita State doesn’t give a damn about BCS tradition and what name is on the jersey. Baker and VanVliet have ice in their veins and nobody is more cool and calm than them under pressure.

  7. The Irish have been surprising people all season and I hope it continues. At first I thought Wichita State would have been a more favorable matchup, though as I learn more about them and Kansas, ND may have matched up better against Kansas. ND has been playing great defense the last few games, but they need to wake up the offense more from this point on. Beating Wichita State will take great defense, but they are also going to have to get more shots to drop too. Each game will get tougher. And then it will take everything the Irish have to hope to beat Kentucky. I believe ND has the ability to beat anyone, but Kentucky obviously is an excellent team and in the tournament, they are not going to let their guard down.

    But Brey and the team have the right attitude. They are basically just focusing on Wichita State right now. Lose and go home, so the most important game right now is Wichita State. All others are irrelevant right now.

  8. I’m a Bay-statA. (Massachusetts) I’m a hockey-man fan. But I’m an Irish fan first; and (especially with 2 fellow Bay-statas gracing the NotaDame hoops court) the hoops team is just way too fun not to watch. And as a Domer, it is my life-duty to SUPPORT ND hoops. GO IRISH!

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