Notre Dame Marches In As A 6 Seed

Tory Jackson and Notre Dame surge into the NCAA Tournament with a first round matchup against Old Dominion on Thursday. (Photo - IconSMI)

Notre Dame’s late season surge and brief run in the Big East Tournament this past weekend paid off for the Irish.  Considered to not even be on the bubble as recently as a few weeks ago, the Irish march into the tournament as a #6 seed in the South bracket with a first round matchup with 11th seeded Old Dominion – the Colonials Athletic Association champion.

Seemingly left for dead after a three game losing streak just under a month ago, the Irish are headed back to the NCAA Tournament after a one year hiatus.  Winners of six of their last seven games, Notre Dame was given a 6th seed after reaching the semifinals of the Big East Tournament and finishing the season with a 23-11 record.  The only blemish on the record for the Irish during the stretch was a three point loss Friday night to eventual Big East Tournament champion West Virginia.

This is the third time that Notre Dame has been a 6 seed in the tourney under head coach Mike Brey and the sixth time they have made it overall.  The only time the Irish have been a higher seed under Brey came in 2008 when Notre Dame earned a 5th seed and the Irish were most recently a 6 seed in 2007.  Neither of the previous two times the Irish were 6 seeds did they advance to the Sweet 16.

Notre Dame hasn’t entered the tourney this hot under Brey either though.  Of the six wins Notre Dame strung together over the last two weeks of the season, three were against teams ranked in the top 20 – Pitt (twice) and Georgetown.  The only loss Notre Dame has since February 17 came to West Virginia – the second seed in the East bracket.

Over the last month, the Irish have changed their approach and employed a slowed down offensive style that allowed Notre Dame to rattled off wins even when Luke Harangody went down with an injury.  Since Harangody has returned, he’s been coming off the bench with Tyrone Nash and Carelton Scott playing int he front court.

The Irish will take the floor on Thursday at 12:25 ET against ODU.  The Monarchs got into the tournament by winning the CAA Tournament over William & Mary. They blocked the Trbie from advancing to the tournament for the first time in school history with their tournament win last week.  They finished their season 26-8 and back in December, gave Georgetown all they could handle in a 61-57 upset at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC.

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8 comments

  1. Drew S 10 years ago

    The team was better without an overrated Gody playing.

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  2. joey d 10 years ago

    MARCHED IN….limped out

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  3. JC 10 years ago

    I wonder where all that talent for a strong defense finally surfaced? Answer: It was there all along. And Guess what……..defense wins championships. I am glad Brey was forced to abandon the run and gun all offense approach. Ask Kansas how they win BIG low scoring games. If ND makes a run in the tournament, hopefully the coach won’t have relasp on what got him there. The players don’t need reminding, they have been playing OUTSTANDING defense!

    Goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo………..Irish!

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  4. zvirish 10 years ago

    Hey Frank,

    Good article. Just a quick note – that the loss to WVU was by two points, not three. Sorry to nit pick. Too bad Jackson didn’t hit the three at the end for the win.

    We did win 6 in a row though. 6 more in a row and we’re national champs!

    Go Irish!

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  5. palk21 10 years ago

    I really like Notre Dame’s new style of play. I think they’ll be able to knock off Old Dominion AND Baylor to get to the Sweet 16. ODU will probably turn out to be the tougher game because I’ll bet ODU plays harder being that they are the underdog. Meanwhile, Baylor could come in overconfident and lose to another good team. They have yet to beat a good team in my opinion, unlike our beloved Irish. The numbers speak for themselves.

    Of the Big 12 teams in the Tourney, (Kansas (1), Kansas St. (2), Okla. St. (7), Texas (8), Missouri (10), Texas A&M (5)) Baylor lost to all but Missouri and Texas, who are lucky to be in.

    On the other hand, of all the Big East teams in the Tourney, (Syracuse (1), WVU (2), Villanova (2), G’Town (3), Pitt (3), Marquette (6), Louisville (9)) Notre Dame has beaten them all except Syracuse (1), Villanova (2) and Louisville (9) and the L’ville was a 3 point OT loss. On top of that 6 of ND’s losses were by 3 pts or less.

    I realize I’m biased towards the Irish because I bleed blue and gold, but I live in Texas now and I’ve seen Baylor on TV a couple times and I’m not that impressed with them and the Big East is FAR better than the Big 12 top to bottom, depsite the fact that the Big 12 had 7 teams, to the Big East’s 8, make the NCAA Tournament. I haven’t been this excited about ND basketball in awhile and I expect them to meet Villanova in the Sweet 16.

    GO IRISH!!

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    1. spiceyirish 10 years ago

      I’ve been running into quite the number of Big XII fans who are saying that the Big XII is better than the Big East because the Big XII has the higher conference RPI. Of course they do not take into account the rigorious schedule that Big East teams play for non-conference, then a conference slate with road games at all very tough envioronments with tradition-rich programs.

      Out of the 16 Big East teams, 15 of them have a great tradition in basketball (exception South Florida). In the Big XII it is Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Missouri, and that is about it. Plus all the Big East schools are in recruiting centers, while the BIg XII falls on Texas, which isn’t like NYC, Chicago, DC, NJ, and Philla.

      It is hard to believe that Baylor, A&M, Kansas St., Missouri, and Oklahoma St. are playing the quality of opponents that Big East teams do game in and game out. I think many of us would agree that these Big XII teams above would be where Seton Hall, Cincy, and UConn ended up in the Big East. I also think plenty of us would agree that Seton Hall, Cincy, and UConn would end up where Baylor, A&M, and K-State ended up in the Big XII. There is no comparing the two. The Big East is far better.

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      1. palk21 10 years ago

        Agreed. I couldn’t have expalined it much better than that. I guess we’ll see how the Tournament plays out.

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  6. spiceyirish 10 years ago

    The accomplishment of getting to the Big East semifinals, then taking WVU to the final seconds, is quite the boost for this program. I hope they saved up some energy for a tourney run. ODU is a tough team. It should be a good first round game.

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