Rejected: Notre Dame Left Out of NCAA Tournament, NIT Bound

Notre Dame’s bubble finally burst on Sunday night when the official NCAA Tournament brackets were revealed.  After three days of speculation about whether or not the Irish would get the benefit of the doubt from the committee now that they are almost back to full strength, we found out Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell would not get one more chance to lead the Irish on a tournament run.

The news wasn’t overly surprising – even if the committee selected a couple of teams (looking at you Oklahoma and Syracuse) that the Irish had valid arguments over.

When Notre Dame lost to Miami in the final week of the season ti set up a scenario where the Irish needed to either beat #1 ranked UVA in the season finale or win at least three games in the ACC Tournament to ensure their selection.  When neither of those happened, the Irish’s fate was let in the hands of the selection committee.  And in case you haven’t been paying attention to the way the NCAA has been dealing with Notre Dame lately, they weren’t going to do Notre Dame any favors.

By the way, remember when Notre Dame beat Syracuse on their own court without their best two players and then Syracuse got in over the Irish?  Syracuse was the last team in the tournament and Notre Dame was the first team left out. Neat.

Had Davidson not upset Rhode Island in the Atlantic 10 Tournament and took away one of the at large bids from a bubble team, the Irish would have been in.  But back to Syracuse for a minute.  How again does the committee select Syracuse over Notre Dame when the two had identical 8-10 ACC records with the road win minus their best two players in their favor?

Like I said though, this isn’t the first time the NCAA has given Notre Dame the shaft this year so we all should have expected this.

With another NCAA Tournament bid off the table, Notre Dame is headed to the NIT as a #1 seed where they will face off against Hampton Tuesday at 9:00 on ESPN at Purcell Pavillion.   Assuming Colson, Farrell, and the rest of the Irish can get past their disappointment, they could use the NIT to show the NCAA and the world that they should be in the Big Dance.  Even that will be of little consolation though to a team who entered this season with Final Four dreams before injuries turned the season into a nightmare.

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  1. As far as Catholic Schools go, It’s a simple explanation, Notre Dame is known as Football school. Gonzaga, Loyola, Ill. Villanova all in Sweet 16 are basketball institutions. Then you have Marquette, St. Mary’s still in hunt for NIT Title.

    1. Yeah, I don’t get his ire toward Mike Brey, yet when it comes to BK he can do no wrong.

      I’ll admit I was a Brey critic a few years back. It seemed they were perpetual one and dones in the Tournament. But then something changed…around the time he first introduced the burn offense several years ago (I think it was when Harangody was out for a protracted period). A light seemed to click and he seemed to be more open to trying different things since then. Since then they won and ACC Championship (in arguably the toughest league) and made two Elite 8’s in a row. And I think with the recruits coming in and the unexpected experience some bench players got this year that they can use next year, things should be looking up, maybe even next year.

  2. There is no NO comparison between Syracuse and Notre Dame in basketball. NONE.

    Damian said below that Syracuse hasn’t done much lately. Really, Damian?> What was the Syracuse Final four Appearance in 2016? A mirage?

    Boeheim wins and advances. Brey is leading the nation in excuses, as are his pathetic mawing apologists on NDHATENATION, the self-loathing capital of Notre Dame bitter middle-aged, frustrated men.

    Boeheim has won a National championship. Brey NEVER escaped the Sweet Sixteen.

    Boeheim has lost two Final games, by one to Indiana, Knight and Alford in ’87 and by NIne to Pitino and a stacked Kentucky team in ’95. Brey never escaped the Sweet Sixteen.

    Boeheim RECENTLY got the Orange to the Final Four in ’13 and ’16. Brey never escaped the Sweet Sixteen.

    Brad Stevens and Butler, freakin’ Butler, once little more than an archive to Tony Hinkle, got to the final game twice.
    Brey never escaped the Sweet Sixteen.

    And now, Notre Dame and Brey and people like Damian and the excuse makers at NDself-loathing nation can watch that
    game film of the victory over Hampton, avoiding the film evidence of the 10 point loss to TCU, while Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse Orange have three wins in the tournament, and will play Duke in Omaha, while Brey, a career mediocrity, will hide behind his enablers and the usual “wait until next year” fantasizers.

    Basketball Coaches: Brad Stevens, Jim Boeheim
    Career non-achiever and excuse maker-Mike Brey

    You are each entitled to your own opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts.

    Attacking Syracuse is a simultaneous self-confession of sloppy thinking, lazy fact gathering, and the fatal hubris
    that oft plagues Notre Dame fans.

    1. Um, ND got to the Elite 8 two years in a row.

      Not sure why Brey has earned your ire. ND has become a respectable BB school again most years, this year notwithstanding. Before Brey came on board ND BB was an afterthought going back to the Digger Phelps years.

      Re: Syracuse, they and ND has similar records, got ousted in the 2nd round and ND beat Syracuse. Syracuse has hardly been a BB powerhouse this year. I wasn’t talking about 2016. ND had a pretty good run in 2016 too, one of the years they made the Elite 8.

      Frankly I’m surprised. On the Football boards you’re usually the one attacking those of use who have been critical of BK.

      1. Okay, Damian I ought have been more precise.

        In the ancient parlance, in a basketball galaxy far far awaym the “Sweet Sixteen” was a unified field. The Elite Eight is technically correct, so your point is correct and I am incorrect on the precise reading.

        Conceding that point Mike Brey, unlike Brad Stevens of miniscule Butler, has never gotten to the Final Four.

        I have limned Boeheim’s record.

        Brey is a career mediocrity. That is my observation and judgment. He has surfed the wave of the “Soft tyranny of low expectations.”

        Further, there is skullduggery afoot at NDSelf-loathingNation.

        One of the writers wanted to sell books.
        To do so he needed access to Brey.
        So he went full-tilt Goebbels, and got his “propaganda on” and fomented an orchestrate a monumentally dishonest
        trashing of Kelly and elevation of Brey.

        Further, at Notre Dame, even the 7year old EXCUSE memoranda on the NDHATENATION site are revealed,
        as Brey is hoist not by his own petard, but by Muffet’s.

        But, Damian, fundamentally we differ on the definition of the word “lately.” I concede I may have been impacted by
        Janet Jackson’s “What have you done for me lately.”

        Damian said “Syracuse is one of them, even though they haven’t shown much punch lately.”

        I guess the way I, admittedly subjectively, interpret “lately” is that a 2016 Final Four appearance, when Syracuse was equally pilloried in St. Joe County, counts as “lately,”

      2. There was a point I would have agreed about Brey. But I’ve seen ND take great strides the last few years. Winning an ACC championship is nothing to scoff at. And they finally broke the early out syndrome of the Tournament. I think they’ve been getting better recruits and I think that will pay off.

        I have more patience with Brey because of the way the NCAA is structured and the fact that the NBA uses the NCAA as a mini training camp with the one and dones. ND will never get the elite one and dones because they expect their players to graduate. I’m not sure how much higher ND can reach in men’s BB, though I still think they were one play away from their first NC back in 2015. Had they beaten UK I think they would have fared favorably against Wisconsin and Duke (who they had beaten more than once that year already).

        In FB I have less patience for BK because the same problems keep cropping up. Particularly at QB where the same cycle happens, we get a player who’s the ‘perfect fit’, starts off strong then flames out then the next QB comes in, rinse, repeat. With BB I see issues come up, then Brey seems to address them. Defense was an issue, so they made adjustments, rebounding, the same. This year the main problem I saw was the hot and cold shooting. I’m pretty confident Brey will work on that on the offseason, and we have promising recruits coming in.

        Re: my lately comment, it was a reflection of Frank’s article and my belief that ND will never get the benefit of the doubt. Sure Syracuse generally plays well, though I think it could be argued they haven’t been the dominant powerhouse they were about 10 years ago, their Final Four appearance notwithstanding (basically they haven’t been consistently dominant like they once were). But unfortunately this year ND proved the naysayers right.

        I am a big fan of Brad Stevens though, since he coaches my NBA team, the Celtics. The players definitely buy in. Danny Ainge made a great call in that hire for sure.

  3. Embarrassing. Just embarrassing. To lose in the early rounds of the NCAA, at least you could say you made it in. But the NIT. Sad.

    I feel terrible for Colson though. He came back expecting, and wanting big things for the Irish. He cared about this team and thought they would go far. He gets hurt and the team just tanks.

    And WTF happened to Farrell. He just completely fizzled out. And the rest of the team, except for maybe Geben, looked like they just wanted to go home and call it a season. They were uninspired.

    They got owned by PSU. PSU!!!! I mean, they get owned by Duke, Virginia, or even UNC, at least you could say they are BB powerhouses. But PSU. Pathetic. They should have run circles around PSU.

  4. This is a golden opportunity to WIN this tournament and move on to greater glory. Look at TCU ( last year NIT Winner) they have respectable placement and will most likely go up against Syracuse who snuck in the back door. Sure they will get blown out in second round by Sparty. But, that could have been the Irish and we all know what happened vs. MSU during the season. Yes, the # 1 seeds in NIT are up and down teams, one will emerge and use this to make their team better. Hope Bonzie and Matty get that Trophy.

  5. Just like in football, the basketball committee has its darlings. Syracuse is one of them, even though they haven’t shown much punch lately.

    I agree with Frank. ND always gets the shaft. A few years ago it was a decent ND team having to face a tough FSU team in the 2nd round, leading to an early exit. Or the year they won the ACC Championship (and VA won the regular season crown) and who gets a 1 seed, Duke, Duke who the Irish beat 3 times that year. Duke who won neither ACC crown. So is the selection committee impartial? Bull.

    But again, when it came down to it the Irish didn’t get the job done this year. It’s no surprise ND is never given the benefit of the doubt so they needed to make a statement in the ACC Tournament and they didn’t. I’d like to believe that what Frank says is true, that they should go in and dominate in the NIT to stick it in the eye of the selection committee. But even if they were to do that, I don’t think it would matter. The NIT is barely noticed. It’s all about the Big Dance. Unless you’re team is in the NIT, really, do you even know who wins the NIT crown? The selection committee clearly feels the Irish are not worthy and I doubt anything short of an NC will change their minds.

    1. Unfortunately I think it was two losses in December (to Ball State & IU) when the team was at full strength that caused the Irish to be excluded.

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