Monday, December 12, 2011

Back-2-Back 4 Brey

Last night was an Irish love fest of sorts as Luke Harangody was named the Big East Player of the Year and Mike Brey was tabbed the Coach of the Year for the second straight season. Brey becomes only the third coach in league history to win BIG EAST Coach of the Year honors in consecutive seasons. The others were P.J. Carlesimo of Seton Hall (1988-99) and Lou Carnesecca of St. John’s (1985-86).

Picked ninth in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches Poll, the Irish finished tied for second place under Brey with a 14-4 conference record. Overall, Notre Dame is 24-6. Brey is in his eighth season as the Irish head coach and owns a 166-84 record.

What is more amazing is the fact that Brey is now the 6th All-Time Winningest Coach by percentage in Big East games with a .638 average. Three Hall of Fame coaches, John Thompson, Jim Calhoun, and Jim Boeheim, along with John Thompson III, and Jamie Dixon are ahead of Brey.

Brey also moved up the Big East record books in all-time conference wins with 83 victories. He is now in 8th place behind Thompson, Calhoun, Boeheim, Carlesimo, Carnesecca, and Steve Lappas. Not bad for a coach who supposedly can’t teach, motivate, or recruit. Brey has definitely hushed his critics and rightfully deserves everything that is coming his way. Obviously his peers think so.

The question now is whether Brey can make it the Triple Crown next season?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Crazy World of College Hoops

Last Saturday's contest with NIU, wasn't so much of a contest after the second media timeout. To say the Irish were hot, would be an understatement. ND shot 72 percent in the first half (the best shooting first half in the Mike Brey era) against NIU, en route to a 57-25 lead at halftime. The 108 points scored were the most under
Brey in a game that ended in regulation time. The game got so out of hand that the Huskie Coach Patton joked around saying that even the Notre Dame managers scored on his team. That would have been a laughing stock if it were true, since one of the managers is a female.

The win over Northern Illinois was the Irish’s 25th straight at the Joyce Center, a school record. The home winning streak is the second longest in the nation. Forward Luke Harangody helped in the win with 14 points and 12 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season. Forward Rob Kurz and guard Kyle McAlarney each scored 17 points.

For his output last week, Harangody made the Big East Honor Roll for the second time this season by averaging 16.5 points and 13.0 rebounds in their wins over Kansas State and NIU. Nationally, he is 39th in rebounds per game with a 9.2 average.

Harangody isn't the only Irish player in the Top 40 national statistics. Kyle McAlarney is 22nd in 3pt. FG percentage (49.2%) and 29th in 3pt. FG per game (3.3). He's also tops in the Big East in both of those categories.

As for the team as a whole, I was shocked to see that Irish didn't receive any votes in either one of the polls. Syracuse, f'ing Syracuse even received votes. The Orange just lost their second contest to a Atlantic 10 opponent (Rhode Island) at the Carrier Dome. I don't care that they currently have the eighth hardest schedule in the nation. What they do have is a 2-3 record versus opponents in the Top 100, and 4-0 against teams ranked 101-200. If the Cuse doesn't make the Tournament again this year, they definitely don't have any reason to bitch and whine; something Jim Boeheim does quite frequently.

Georgetown (5, 4), Marquette (10, 13), Pittsburgh (11, 9), Louisville (22, 20), and Villanova (23, 18), are currently ranked in both the AP and Coaches Polls, respectively. West Virginia is also receiving votes in the Coaches Poll, alongside the previously mentioned Syracuse squad.

Being in the fourth-best conference, according to the latest RPI rankings, the Big East has only one team, DePaul (2-3), with a losing record. Even though the conference had two big blows over the weekend, Syracuse losing at home Rhode Island and Louisville losing at home to Dayton, the Big East still holds strong in getting eight bids to the NCAA Tournament. Where do the Irish stand put in this mix?

Well looking at the recent RPI ratings, Notre Dame is currently the 11th best team in the conference. The rankings are a little misleading and here is why. Below, in order, is the RPI rankings for each Big East squad. Included in the rankings is the overall record, strength of SOS, record vs. 1-50 ranked RPI teams, record vs. 51-100, record vs. 101-200, record vs. 200, and highest RPI opponent win.

Big East Conference RPI Ratings
12. Marquette (5-1), 18 SOS, 0-1, 1-0, 3-0, 1-0 (59 Wisconsin)
13. Providence (6-3), 4 SOS, 2-2, 1-0, 2-1, 1-0 (10 Arkansas, 47 Boston College)
34. Syracuse (6-3), 8 SOS, 0-2, 2-1, 4-0, 0-0 (73 Siena)
38. Villanova (7-1), 122 SOS, 1-0, 1-1, 3-0, 2-0 (37 George Mason)
39. West Virginia (6-1), 96 SOS, 1-0, 1-1, 2-0, 2-0 (43 Winthrop)
40. Louisville (5-2), 24 SOS, 2-1, 0-1, 1-0, 2-0 (26 Miami, OH, 27 UNLV)
45. Pittsburgh (8-0), 216 SOS, 0-0, 2-0, 5-0, 1-0 (56 Duquesne)
51. Seton Hall (7-2), 128 SOS, 0-1, 1-0, 1-0, 5-1 (89 Virginia)
53. St. John's (4-1), 99 SOS, 0-1, 0-0, 2-0, 2-0 (122 Long Island)
63. Connecticut (6-2), 67 SOS, 0-2, 0-1, 4-0, 1-0 (79 Morgan State)
68. Notre Dame (7-2), 93 SOS, 0-1, 1-1, 4-0, 2-0 (86 Kansas State)
69. South Florida (7-3), 82 SOS, 0-1, 1-1, 4-1, 2-0 (52 Florida State)
84. Georgetown (7-0), 297 SOS, 0-0, 0-0, 4-0, 3-0 (139 Old Dominion, 150 Alabama)
145. Rutgers (6-3), 226 SOS, 0-0, 0-1, 2-2, 4-0 (149 North Dakota State)
220. DePaul (2-3), 164 SOS, 0-2, 0-0, 1-1, 1-0 (194 Northwestern)
285. Cincinnati (4-4), 295 SOS, 0-0, 0-1, 0-2, 4-1 (230 Fairfield)

So out of the non-conference wins, the Irish's victory over Kansas State will suffice for their tournament resume. If the Wildcats can finish strong, Notre Dame's numbers will increase, as well as, the Irish's conference wins.

It will be a little break for finals for the Irish, but they should shake off any rust when they return to the court on Dec. 22 against San Francisco. Here's to number 26 at the JACC!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Beano Says Irish Will Be Cooking in 08!

At least someone from ESPN likes us! College Football guru Beano Cook had his first offseason chat today on No he didn't go so boldly to predict three Heisman Trophies for Jimmy Clausen or Dayne Crist, rather he felt there are good things ahead for the Irish; maybe sooner than what others might think!

Here's what Beano had to say about Notre Dame during his chat:

Burr (NJ): Welcome back Beano! Are you excited to see what the Irish will do next year? Coaching changes, great recruiting classes from the past 2 years.... what do you think?

Beano Cook: (3:16 PM ET ) If Notre Dame beats Michigan, and that is possible, watch out. I feel the schedule is not that tough. The addition of Jon Tenuta as the defensive coach will help. Hey, they won't go 3-9 again. If I had to predict right now, I would say no worse than 9-3. Then again, last year I thought they would win nine games. In my opinion, it is incredible and hard to believe that Notre Dame would go 20 seasons without winning a national title. I don't want to hear about academics, it has nothing to do with Notre Dame's record at all.

Mike (Chicago): Beano, is Weis gone if he has another year like 2007?

Beano Cook: (3:18 PM ET ) It would be behoove him to have a better record. It is possible but I don't think so. He will not go 3-9 this season and he has learned that he cannot walk on water.

junior (madison west virginia): beno who do you think will be most improve team next year

Beano Cook: (3:31 PM ET ) Iowa. Miami-Florida. Notre Dame.

Beano has made some wild predictions in the past about Notre Dame, but somehow I feel he is due. You know the sun shines on a dog's ass someday. Maybe 2008 is his year to shine with accurate picks!

Smith Not Interested In Coming Back Home

Ohio State Athletic Director and Notre Dame Alumnus, Gene Smith has taken his name out of consideration for the vacant AD position.

"I have the utmost respect for Notre Dame and great admiration for the university and its athletics department, but I will not be a candidate for the job there," Smith said in a statement. "I am very happy being at The Ohio State University and am excited about its new leadership of the university. I am thrilled with the direction we are going in the department and am pleased and thankful for the support of President Gee and the administration."

Smith went on to say,
"I have not been contacted by Notre Dame," Smith said. "I am honored that many consider me to be a candidate, but I have no desire to leave Ohio State."

Looks like SMU's Orisini could be the front runner.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside Get The Irish Ready For the Long Haul

Everyone can now put it to rest, the Fighting Irish won a game on the road. In fact they won a league game on the road against a nationally ranked opponent. Notre Dame's 90-80 win over Villanova showed the Big East and the national media that the Irish can play some ball on both ends of the court.

Saturday, Mr. Outside, Kyle McAlarney light the Wildcats up for 30 points. By channeling in the power of "5", McAlarney made five 3-pt. baskets, five 2-pt. field goals, and five free throws, for his second 30 point effort of the season. Mr. Inside, Luke Harangody produced his ninth double-double of the season with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Despite being out rebounded by Villanova, the Irish never relinquished the lead after trailing 4-0 at the start of the contest.

Brey was masterful on Saturday as he not only tweaked the starting lineup by inserting Zach Hillesland for Ryan Ayers, but he installed the 1-2-2 defense to stifle Scottie Reynolds and the Wildcat offense. Ayers finally showed some glimpses of what type of player he can be by netting 10 points on 19 minutes of action. Hillesland helped the Irish on both ends with ball control and key defensive stops.

Senior Captain Rob Kurz got it going early with five quick points, en route to 12 points and four rebounds. Tory Jackson was masterful controlling the game from the get-go as he assisted on seven buckets and scored nine points.

Even though the Irish are on the outside looking in both the AP (30th) and ESPN/USAToday (T-27th) polls, Notre Dame is getting the right numbers needed for their NCAA resume. Gary Parrish of has Mike Brey's squad 16th in his weekly poll. At 14-4, and 4-2, in league play, the Irish are currently in sole possession of third place in the Big East. Also their current RPI rating has jumped up to 41.

Below are the current Big East standings with RPI rankings, records, and national poll rankings for all the conference teams:

Georgetown: 9 (RPI), 16-2, 6-1 (BE), 6 (AP) and 6 (ESPN/USAToday)
Louisville: 36 (RPI), 15-5, 5-2 (BE), NR (AP) and NR (ESPN/USAToday)
Notre Dame: 41 (RPI), 14-4, 4-2 (BE), 30 (AP) and T-27 (ESPN/USAToday)
Pittsburgh: 18 (RPI), 15-4, 4-3 (BE), 18 (AP) and 21 (ESPN/USAToday)
Marquette: 20 (RPI), 13-4, 4-3 (BE), 17 (AP) and 16 (ESPN/USAToday)
UConn: 23 (RPI), 14-5, 4-3 (BE), 27 (AP) and T-27 (ESPN/USAToday)
WVU: 32 (RPI), 14-5, 4-3 (BE), NR and NR
Seton Hall: 51 (RPI), 14-6, 4-3 (BE), NR and NR
DePaul: 118 (RPI), 9-10, 4-3 (BE), NR and NR
Syracuse: 40 (RPI), 14-7, 4-4 (BE), NR and NR
Cincinnati: 112 (RPI), 9-11, 4-4 (BE), NR and NR
Providence: 50 (RPI), 12-7, 3-4 (BE), NR and NR
Villanova: 61 (RPI), 13-5, 3-4 (BE), NR and NR
Rutgers: 162 (RPI), 10-11, 2-6 (BE), NR and NR
S. Florida: 122 (RPI), 10-10, 1-6 (BE), NR and NR
St. John's: 150 (RPI), 7-11, 1-6 (BE), NR and NR

Personal accolades are also in store for Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside as well. Luke Harangody was one of 30 players named to the John Wooden Award Midseason list. In fact, Harangody is one of three Big East players (Georgetown's Roy Hibbert and Pittsburgh's Sam Young) to be mentioned on the list. Meanwhile, Kyle McAlarney was named the Big East's Player of the Week for the first time in his career. It's a shame that this is first POW honor, because he deserved it after his 32 point explosion against UConn. Anyway, both players are definitely setting themselves up for post season league honors!

The Big East and media pundits take notice, Notre Dame is for real.

Tenuta Finds Home With Irish

The Irish defense is going to be stacked, that's for sure! Not only will Notre Dame have some of the top high school recruits signing with the Irish come next week, but it was just announced that former Georgia Tech Defensive Coordinator, John Tenuta, will be joining the coaching staff. Tenuta will be replacing Bill Lewis' vacated, who has decided to call it quits. In fact, he will be taking over the linebackers and will be an assistant Defensive Coordinator.

No word yet of whether Brian Polian has been dismissed from the coaching staff. Defensive Coordinator, Corwin Brown will be coaching the defensive backs. A former defensive back himself, Brown will only help which was a much improved unit last season. No more will you see defensive backs not look back for the ball!

Don't panic about the coaching change being so close to National Signing Day because the Irish coaching staff let all the recruits know of the change. So far it is a positive because none of the current 22 have wavered their decisions. In fact this will be a good thing for recruiting, because of Tenuta's tenacious defense.

Tenuta had some of the most explosive and blitz-happy defenses in the country while at Georgia Tech. Irish fans had first hand knowledge of what his style and defense was capable of. Tenuta will bring a lot of knowledge and added wealth to what has been a progressing defense under Corwin Brown.

The Yellow Jacket defense ranked 20th overall in Total Defense (330 yards per game), 21st in Scoring Defense (20.8 pts. per game), and 1st in the land in sacks (3.69 per game).

Notre Dame will get better with the recruits they are bringing in, and now they have the coaches on the defensive side to get them at the top of their game.

As always, GO IRISH!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Final Countdown.....or is it?

There is some Irish glee, as we sign 23! Faxes flooded the GUG complex this morning as National Signing Day finally has arrived. From the first two letters hand delivered (Sean Cwynar and Trevor Robinson are already on campus), to the last one sent in by Steve Filer, Notre Dame is looking to secure the best recruiting class in the nation. But the Irish's ranking could definitely go over the top with another possible commitment later today.

California running back Milton Knox will be making his attentions be known in front of a national audience around 4 pm PST. Knox will choose from UCLA, Florida, and the Irish.

Here is the order of when the Letters of Intent were faxed in:

Sean Cwynar
Trevor Robinson
Mike Golic Jr.
Jamoris Slaughter
Robert Blanton
Michael Floyd
David Posluszny
Dan McCarthy
Kyle Rudolph
John Goodman
Deion Walker
Lane Clelland
Brandon Newman
Braxston Cave
Darius Fleming
Kapron Lewis-Moore
Jonas Gray
Hafis Williams
Ethan Johnson
Anthony McDonald
Joseph Fauria
Dayne Crist
Steve Filer

Irish fans alike were waiting patiently to get word when each signed, while some fretted that some might not commit to Notre Dame. Rumors of Deion Walker having second thoughts were squelched real early as he confirmed his allegiance with the Irish. Kapron Lewis-Moore was the surprise recruit Jason Sapp posted about this past weekend, while Milton Knox is the possible West Coast decommit pickup.

Adding Knox will be the icing on the cake for the Irish staff, as this group will now and forever be linked to bringing back Notre Dame's national dominance!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

1, 2, 3....You're Out!

If anyone stayed up late Saturday night, early Sunday morning to watch the Hawaii - Washington game got to enjoy an instant classic. This seemed all too familiar to us Irish fans, indeed! Not only did the Huskies lose the game in epic Tyrone Losingham fashion, but he might have lost himself another head coaching position.

The fate of coach Willingham could be in question after the team blew a halftime lead for the fourth time this season — and in this case, a 21-point lead in the second quarter. That wasn't something Willingham wanted to address afterward. He delivered a cold stare at the ESPN reporter who asked if he was confident he would return in 2008. Athletic director Todd Turner said last week he had "no doubt" in his mind Willingham would return next season. But UW president Mark Emmert is also surveying the situation and he has been more noncommittal, though he hasn't also offered anything publicly to indicate he's making a change.

If this glorious event does happen, I wonder what all the pundits will have to say about Notre Dame, or better yet, the University of Washington? Will they call them racists? Will Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton come to Coach Willingham's rescue again? Who knows. All I know is that this just proves that Willingham can't coach anywhere at the major Division I level.

Throw out all the comparisons between Charlie Weis and Ty Losingham. Not only is it pointless and idiotic, it doesn't come close. Willingham has had several head coaching gigs at Stanford, Notre Dame, and now Washington, with minimal success. Coach Weis has had three years at the helm at ND and has brought the Irish to 2 BCS bowls, whether you agree or not about their inclusion.

Washington wants to turn the corner and restore a once proud football tradition. That will only happen when they get rid of Losingham. They have a replacement just a few miles away from campus in Jim Mora, Jr. The timing is right if the Washington Administration pulls the trigger. Time will tell though.

One more note of interest. Washington didn't leave Hawaii until this morning to go back to Seattle. I wonder if Ty brought his golf clubs with him????? I guess some things will never change!

NOTE: Click on the Title for an article from the Seattle Times about Coach Willingham

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bench Puts the "Fight" Back in the Irish

When the Irish needed a whole team effort, it didn't know it would get this type of spark the bench provided Saturday against Marquette. The 27 points, including 8-of-9 FT's, 10 rebounds, and 2 turnover output, throughout the combined 49 minutes gave Coach Brey and Irish fans more confidence for meaningful minutes.

Luke Zellar led the bench players with 11 points. Zellar played with so much intensity against the Eagles, that he had forced his way to four rebounds and one thunderous dunk in the first half. Ryan Ayers and Jonathan Peoples had nine and seven points, respectively.

The 27 bench points were the fourth highest output on the season for the Irish. Notre Dame had 45 points against Northern Illinois, 30 against Brown, and 29 versus Long Island earlier this season. For the season, Brey's bench has been averaging 17.3 points a night. In conference play, the Irish are just below average at 16.2 points per night, however, during the current five game winning streak, Notre Dame is averaging 17.4. Coach Brey's decision to move Ayers from his starting position ha definitely paid off.

Below is the point production of the Irish bench so far this season:

Long Island - 29 points
Monmouth - 24 points
Baylor - 11 points
Georgia Tech - 12 points
Youngstown St. - 16 points
Colgate - 25 points
E. Michigan - 11 points
Kansas St. - 8 points
N. Illinois - 45 points
San Francisco - 11 points
Brown - 30 points
North Florida - 13 points
West Virginia - 5 points
Connecticut - 2 points
Marquette - 10 points
Cincinnati - 16 points
Georgetown - 25 points
Villanova - 12 points
Providence - 10 points
DePaul - 17 points
Seton Hall - 21 points
Marquette - 27 points

The bench will be needed more than ever in this next stretch of five games, which could possibly determine not only conference standings, but first round byes in the Big East Tournament. Also the Irish will be playing for the important seeding in next month's NCAA Tournament. I don't want to get too ahead of myself but Notre Dame is playing itself into a possible 3 seed. If things turn out like my new predictions, (24-6, 14-4) to finish the regular season, I believe they will not fall below a # 4 national seed!

We shall see in the coming weeks if that prediction holds true or not. But one thing is for sure, if the Irish bench keeps putting up big numbers; good things will happen!

More on Meyer

Preliminary talks with Urban Meyer's agent went according to plan yesterday, as every Notre Dame fan from the Irish nation had their own opiniion about the future of Coach Charlie Weis and the direction of the program. The bait has been dangled to Meyer and his "boss", wife Shelly. Everyone in the media and around the UF program have said that to get to Urban is to get to his wife. An interesting bit of information the past two weeks out of Atlanta, might turn in the favor of the Irish.

Nicki Meyer, the Meyer's oldest daughter, is a freshman on the Georgia Tech Volleyball team, has been contemplating transferring schools. Whom might you ask is at the top of the list for possible schools? You've got it Irish fans, Notre Dame. Nicki has only seen action in four games from her Libero/Defensive Specialist position, and wants more considerable playing time. Meyer has also mentioned that she would like to be closer to family and friends as another reason for leaving the Yellow Jackets.

So what does this all mean in the scope of landing Meyer? Shelly Meyer is big into family and would love the idea of having her children close by. Nicki snubbed UF last year, and has no interest of playing for the Gators. Daughter Gigi, a junior at Buchholtz High School has been Notre Dame's Volleyball camps the past several years, and has been a future target for Debbie Brown's Irish squad.

This added bonus could be the key to landing Urban Meyer back to South Bend!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Irish Lacrosse Moves Up In Poll After Last Second Win Over Albany

The Fighting Irish Lacrosse team jumped up three spots in this week's Media poll after needing a last second goal by Peter Christman to beat Albany 7-6. The win improves Notre Dame to 3-0 on the season and moves their program-record home winning streak to 15 games. Notre Dame is currently fifth in the USILA coaches poll and sixth in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse media rankings; which is the highest the Fighting Irish have been ranked in either poll this season.

Notre Dame is now 3-0 for the first time since the 2003 season. The Fighting Irish are back in action today at Villanova. Game time is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. (ET) at Villanova Stadium. Notre Dame leads the series 7-4 and are 4-1 against the Wildcats in Philadelphia.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

New IBB Forum

With the ever rising popularity of Irish Band of Brothers, I have taken it upon myself to keep up with the joneses and start a message board. You can now talk everything Notre Dame 24/7 in the Leahy Lounge, the Brey Basketball Banter, Recruiting Rumblings, or the ever popular, What Grinds My Gears forum.

To access any one of the forums, click on the appropriate board on the upper right hand side. Registration is free!

Feel free to post away, and as always GO IRISH!

IBB Weekly Motivator: Week 2

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hansbrough Likes What He Sees With Irish Hoops

Ben Hansbrough's trip to South Bend was a memorable one as he looks for his right fit after transferring from Mississippi State. Hansbrough, a 6-foot-3 guard, started 28 games and was State's fourth-leading scorer (10.5) this past season as the Bulldogs advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 3.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and shot 36 percent from 3-point range. He also averaged 33.5 minutes per game, which was more than most Fighting Irish players averaged this season, except for Kyle McAlarney (35.7).

His brother, Tyler, is an All-American at North Carolina and this season's consensus player of the year. Gene Hansbrough confirmed that Ben had thought about leaving Mississippi State last season, but after this season felt like it was the right move.

There is no timetable for the decision.
"Ben loves Notre Dame," Gene Hansbrough said. "I think he wants to play in a competitive program and be able to excel as a team."

Don't be surprised if Psycho T's brother pulls the trigger and commits to the Irish this week. If Hansbrough does indeed sign with Notre Dame, he will have to sit out the upcoming 2008-09 season, and will have two years eligibility remaining for Mike Brey's squad.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tiller Moves Up the Ranks of the Football Rumor Mill

With all the coaching hirings and firings taking place the last few weeks, rumors upon rumors have been spread across Internet message boards. One site that is very good, The Football Rumor Mill, posts their coaching hot seats. Purdue's Joe Tiller has moved up to the charts as the Boilermaker faithful feel there needs to be a change made.

There has been a ton of chatter among Purdue's higher ups that if Tiller doesn't win their bowl game, he will be shown the door. PU's el foldo down the stretch, plus their Old Oaken Bucket loss to Indiana at the end the regular season also left a bad taste in AD Morgan Burke's mouth. I wonder if they would replace Tiller with Defensive Coordinator Brock Spack? One could only hope for that Christmas gift!

Here is a snippet of the Rumor Mill's Coaching Hot Seat. To view the whole list, click on the title above.

THE BURNT ASS - Already Fired/Job Open
Phil Bennett – SMU
Lloyd Carr – Michigan (retired)
Karl Dorrell – UCLA

THE SCORCHED HINEY – Firing Seems Likely
Joe Tiller – Purdue

THE TOASTY TUSH – Firing a Definite Possibility
Joe Glenn – Wyoming
Ty Willingham – Washington
Mark Snyder – Marshall

On a side note, doesn't Tiller look like actor/Quaker Oates spokesman, Wilfred Brimley? Maybe Wilfred is thinking he could be the next coach of Purdue, or better yet, he's thinking that Veronica Vaughn is one fine piece of ass!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In Remembrance

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Northern Illinois University community.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

IBB Uncovers the Mole's Secret Identity

Last night ABC brought back their original reality show The Mole. Even though this is not Notre Dame related, we felt obligated to unveil who the real "Mole" is and always will be.

To find out who the Mole is, click on the Title above. The person on the left of this picture is indeed the Mole!

Now I'll get back to our orginally scheduled blogging.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Numbers Behind The Streak

37 straight games are quite impressive for a bunch of guys that weren't supposed to be anywhere near the top of one of the best conferences in the country. But the Fighting Irish are, and will most likely add more come next season with a veteran squad. As the first Big East team ever to post consecutive unbeaten records at home, there are more impressive facts behind this streak.

5 - Ranked opponents the Irish beat at the JACC
5 - Games Notre Dame scored less than 70 points
11 - Contests the Irish scored 90 points or more
18.1 - Average margin of win against opponents
24 - Opponents held under 70 points
83.8 - Points per game average during the current streak
2-0 - Versus the SEC
18 - Big East wins (every conference team except for Georgetown)
10.5 - Average margin of Big East win
78.7 - Points per game against Big East opponents
68.2 - Points per game Big East teams averaged against the Irish
18-12 - Average of Big East squads record during the streak

Most naysayer’s will claim that Notre Dame didn't have the hardest home schedules the past few years. I say the heck with that, because NO Big East team ever did this in the league's existence. Especially with so much parity in college basketball in recent seasons, this accomplishment makes it even more spectacular.

As the lone senior, Rob Kurz, ended his Joyce Center career, one can wonder how long the streak will last with a solid core group coming back. The Irish should break the overall school unbeaten streak next season with a few wins before the brutal Big East portion kicks in.

Hopefully with a little bit of luck and a sure bet Top 20 squad, the Irish will try and make an encore repeat undefeated season next year!

USC the Next Ivy League School?

Southern Cal has toughened their admissions process to get the best students in the World!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fugetaboutit! Irish To Bounce Back Against Rutgers

It could be real easy to sulk and mull over what could have been last Wednesday when the Irish had an opportunity to beat Connecticut. Thank goodness for Rutgers! Yes, Notre Dame has had it struggles in New Jersey, 3-7 all time at the RAC; but the Irish are facing the last place team in the league. The Scarlet Knights, losers of five straight, are dead last in the conference in scoring (62.9 pts per contest), FG % (40.0%), 3pt. FG% (31.0%), and have the most turnovers (15.3 a game). Did I mention that they have only two wins in league play?

Even though Rutgers has beaten Pittsburgh on the road, the Knights are 1-5 in the Big East at home. The Irish can improve their road record to .500 with the win, and still keep on pace for their second consecutive first round bye in the Big East Tournament. Notre Dame just needs to get out of the gates early and not let up, like the Seton Hall contest.

Luke Harangody will dominant in the post when he faces a fairly small Rutgers defense. Rob Kurz will bounce back after having an off game behind a strong family contingent in the crowd. Kyle McAlarney will have some family and friends in attendance, which means another solid performance for the Staten Island, NY, sharpshooter!

If it comes down to Free Throw shooting, the Irish will dominate. Notre Dame owns a decisive advantage from the charity stripe over its opponents. The Irish have outscored their opponents 392-198 from the line in 23 games and 2007-08 against BIG EAST foes. Rutgers is one of the worst in the conference, shooting only 64.9% from the line. OUCH!

The key for the Irish will be strong guard play from Tory Jackson, and bench production from Ryan Ayers, Luke Zeller, and Jonathan Peoples. If Notre Dame can get around 20 + points from their reserves, the Irish will win easily. Look for the Irish to deepen their bench on Sunday for their 19th win of the season.

Prediction: Notre Dame 89 Rutgers 70

Baseline Bits

~ Notre Dame leads the all-time series 13-11 with 19 of those contests taking place since both schools became members of the BIG EAST Conference in 1995-96. The Irish have won each of the last two meetings, including last season 73-66 win at the RAC on March 3, 2007, which marked the final regular contest of the 2006-07 campaign.

~ The Irish have won 16 of their last 19 games and are off to an 18-5 start through the first 23 contests of the season for the second consecutive year. The best start for an Irish team following 23 games under head coach Mike Brey was in 2002-03 when that squad raced to a 19-4 start in his third season at the helm.

~ Luke Harangody recorded a career-best sixth straight double-double against Connecticut on Wednesday night when he scored a career-high 32 points and matched his career-high with 16 rebounds. It also marked the first time in his career with six consecutive double-doubles. In the last six contests, he has averaged 26.2 points and 13.0 rebounds.

~ Harangody has 14 double-doubles on the season and 14 in the last 19 contests, including nine of 11 BIG EAST games. The last Irish player to register six consecutive double-doubles was Ryan Humphrey in 2001-02 when he ended his career a double-double in the final 11 games of his career.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Irish Look to TKO Cardinals Tonight

Tonight’s matchup of Big East heavyweights is slated to go the distance, as long as, the Irish have the same energy it did in their last major road contest against Connecticut. Despite the loss to the Huskies earlier this month, Notre Dame was in it towards the end after missing shots they’ve normally made during the season. However, against Louisville the Irish will have to be on their “A” game to pull out the most important game of the season to date.

With a win tonight, the Irish will be in the thick of it for the regular season championship, as well as, having the coveted first round bye in the Big East Tournament. But there might be too many “ifs” for Notre Dame this evening.

1.) If Tory Jackson can play under control and know that he doesn’t necessarily have to take it all on himself.

2.) If Notre Dame can hit their Big East leading average (40.9%) from 3pt. range.

3.) If Jonathan Peoples and Luke Zeller can provide meaningful minutes and points.

4.) If Rob Kurz, Luke Harangody, Zach Hillesland, and Ryan Ayers can win the battle of the boards.

Something has to give as Notre Dame has the highest scoring offense in the league (80.8), while Louisville combats with the second-best scoring defense in the Big East (60.5). To make matters worse for the Irish is the 37.5 field goal percentage defense for the Cards, ranking fourth nationally. Louisville has held 16 teams under 40 percent shooting this season, including 10 of its last 12 opponents. The Cards held Syracuse to 29.1 percent shooting two games ago. 15 of Louisville’s opponents have scored 60 or fewer points this season. So the Irish will see an unrelenting defense and a deep bench tonight.

On the flip side, the Irish do have a few things in their favor tonight. If it comes down to the wire and to free throw shooting, Louisville is one of the worst in the Big East. The Cardinals are shooting 66.2% from the charity stripe. Louisville is also middle of the pack in 3pt. FG % too at 34.7.

After the Syracuse win, many alike were discouraged by the fact that the Irish were out rebounded by a huge margin to the Orange. As the best rebounding team in the Big East, Notre Dame should dominate the boards defensively, as the Cardinals are the second-to-worst offensive rebounding team in the Big East. Louisville does have some decent size, but can 6-11 David Padgett really bang around with Harangody? We shall see.

Speaking of Luke, he would be just the second Big East player in the last decade to average 22 ppg and 11 rpg in conference play for a season. (Georgetown's Mike Sweetney did it in '02-03.) Only five players have averaged 22 and 11 in league play for a BCS conference in the last decade. If he does not get the Big East POY, then there is no justice in college basketball.

Year Player PPG RPG
'07-08 Luke Harangody (Notre Dame) 22.4 11.9
'07-'08 Michael Beasley (K-State) 28.3 11.9
'07-'08 Tyler Hansbrough (UNC) 24.5 11.6
'06-'07 Kevin Durant (Texas) 28.9 12.5
'02-'03 Mike Sweetney (G'town) 25.1 11.4

Harangody will definitely get his points tonight; that is not the issue. Whether or not a few others can step up and have solid games is the question. A win would mean a whole lot tonight, but a loss would not be devastating either. With that said, I’m still sticking to my midseason prediction that the Irish will end the regular season 24-6 and lose this contest.

Prediction: Notre Dame 72 Louisville 80

Baseline Bits

~ Louisville leads the all-time series 13-8, including 8-1 in Freedom Hall.

~ This will be the third time the two schools have met as BIG EAST foes with each team winning on its home floor. The Cardinals earned an 89-86 overtime victory against the Irish on Feb. 4, 2006 and Notre Dame came back last season to post a 78-62 victory at the Joyce Center which snapped an eight-game losing streak.

~ The Irish have won 19 of their last 22 games and are off to a 21-5 start through
26 contests of the season which also matches the best start by an Irish team under head coach Mike Brey.

~ Notre Dame ranks in the top 15 of the NCAA statistics in two categories: assists (4th-18.6), rebounding margin (10th-7.5) and three-point field goal percentage (7th-40.9).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Close, But Still No Love For The Irish

What a week the Fighting Irish had on the hardwood. First it was a hard fought, 13 point win over West Virginia on Thursday. Then Brey’s Boys did it again on Saturday, as they held on to defeat Connecticut 73-67, in front of a near sellout crowd. For those efforts, the Irish are still not in the Top 25 of either the AP or ESPN/USAToday Polls. So why no love for the Irish?

During today’s ESPN Sports Nation chat with Bracketology guru Joe Lunardi, one Irish fan posed a simple question. In typical ESPN anti-Notre Dame fashion, Lunardi retorts with a crappy answer:

Mike B. (Notre Dame, IN): Joe, Why no love for the Irish? They have the 3rd longest home court winning streak in the nation, a current 10 game winning streak, and quite possibly one of the best big men in the country in Luke Harangody. So why are they not in the Top 25 polls, or better yet, only an 8 seed?

Joe Lunardi: (1:31 PM ET ) It couldn't possibly be that Notre Dame will be the last team in America to play a true road game, could it??

Here’s another Sports Nation chat from today with ESPN columnist Andy Glockner. At least I can live with this ass clown’s response:

Frank (Boston): Notre Dame may be the best team in the Big East this year, T or F? They are right up there as the best passing and shooting team in the league, and their defense/athleticism is up a tick from prior years with McAlarney, Jackson, Hillesland and Harangody. Watch out for my IRISH!!!

Andy Glockner: (2:31 PM ET ) False, but ND was another one of my preseason sleeper teams, so I have liked them from the get-go. McAlarney is a little up and down at times (with Saturday being one of the ups), but he's been good, which has helped because Tory Jackson has been down a bit this season. The fact that they have two guards that can handle and create helps, and they have come to realize that Harangody inside is their meal ticket. Plus, they apparently can’t lose at home. I had no idea they had the third-longest home winning streak in the nation until I watched them beat WVU. If they can get a couple quality road wins in league play, I'll feel better about their overall upside, but this is a good team.

How in the world did this moron end up writing for ESPN? A good journalist, especially a college basketball junkie, would know that the Irish are sporting the third best home court winning streak at 30, behind Memphis (40) and BYU (39). I'm not sure if this is typical anti-Notre Dame, or just plain stupid. I guess anyone could be an ESPN columnist these days. Wow!

At least Luke Harangody is getting the proper attention he rightly so deserves. Harangody was named BIG EAST Player of the Week as he averaged 21.7 points and 10.7 rebounds in a 3-0 week for Notre Dame, which extended its overall winning streak to 10 games and its home-court streak to 30 games. Harangody had 29 points and 16 rebounds in a 69-56 win against West Virginia and delivered 14 points and 10 boards in a 73-67 decision against Connecticut. He began the week with a 22-point effort in a 77-58 win against North Florida.

For the season, Luke is averaging 18.1 ppg (71st in the nation) and pulling down 9.5 rebounds per contest (27th in the nation). He has also recorded 10 double-doubles in the Irish’s 14 contests.

Baseline Bits:

* As for the actual rankings that came out today, the Irish are currently 27th in the AP and 29th in the ESPN/USAToday Polls, respectively. As for the other Big East Conference members, Georgetown is 7th (AP) and 8 (ESPN), Marquette is 15th (AP) and 16th (ESPN), Villanova is 19th (AP) and 17th (ESPN), Pittsburgh is 20th (AP) and 18th (ESPN), while West Virginia is 30th and Syracuse is 36th in the ESPN/USAToday poll.

* The Irish start the season 2-0 for only the second time in Big East play. Besides the Irish, Syracuse and DePaul are 2-0, while Georgetown is 1-0 in the conference.

* So far, the home teams in the Big East Conference have been holding their own. Only three teams have one a conference game on the road, Georgetown (@ Rutgers), Connecticut (@ Seton Hall), and Cincinnati (@ Louisville).

* The current ESPN Bracketology Bracket is out and the Irish currently stand pat as the 8th seed in the East Region. Notre Dame would face 9th seed Kent State in the first round, and a possible matchup with the Top Ranked North Carolina Tar Heels in the second round. If the season ended today, the Big East would have a total of nine teams playing in March Madness:

Georgetown # 2 (East)
Marquette # 4 (South)
Pittsburgh # 6 (Midwest)
Notre Dame # 8 (East)
West Virginia # 8 (Midwest)
Villanova #9 (West)
Providence #10 (East)
Syracuse #10 (South)
Connecticut #11 (West)

* CBSSportsline’s Bracket has the Irish as a 9th Seed, with possible opponents being Ohio State, St. Mary’s (CA), or Gonzaga. The Irish’s latest victim, UConn was the other 8th seed.

Irish Look For More Rocky Mountain High Magic

The second round game of Notre Dame and Washington State will be more like a chess match of strength versus strength. Notre Dame's high octane offense will try and get something going against the stingy Cougar defense. Just like the George Mason game, Washington State will try and dictate the tempo with their slow, methodical style.

Washington State, like the Irish, goes about 7-to-8 players deep and is lead by guard Derrick Low. Low is the Cougars top scorer at 14 points and their leading three point shooter (39.7%, 64th in the NCAA). 6-10 center Aron Baynes is Washington State's leading rebounder at 5.8 per game. Below are the Cougars national averages:

Scoring Offense - 213 (67.1)
Scoring Defense - 3 (57.1)
Scoring Margin - 10 (10.0)
FG% - 24 (47.8)
FG% Defense - 94 (42.2)
3pt. FG% - 52 (38.1)
FT% - 50 (73.3)
Rebound Margin - 176 (0.1)
Assists - 137 (13.7); Taylor Rochestie 77 (4.6)
Turnovers - 4 (10.3)
Assist-to-Turnover Ratio - 12 (1.33); Rochestie 9 (2.72)

Even though the Cougars are a great defensive team, they do, however, lack on getting the rebounds. They also give up high percentage shots which will bode well for the Irish, who shot exceptionally well against George Mason.

Keys to the Game:

Fast Start. Like Thursday's game, Notre Dame needs to come out of the gate early and control the tempo of the game and force the Cougars to run.

X-Factor. Last time it was Zach Hillesland as he held Folarin Campbell to four points. Tomorrow it will be Tory Jackson who needs to control the Irish offense. If Jackson can penetrate, find the open shooter, and limit his turnovers, the Irish will be hard to beat. Hillesland will also be counted on to duplicate his stout defense and 11 rebound performance as well!

Make every possession count. If Notre Dame is subjected to Washington State's slow ball control game, the Irish will have to give Luke Harangody a touch every possession. Whether Luke makes a move or dishes it out, the offense will have to go through him.

See the 3, Be the 3. Kyle McAlarney, Ryan Ayers, Rob Kurz, and Luke Zeller, could have another good shooting night. If Washington State concentrates down low, like George Mason tried to do, the open trey will be there for the taking. Look for the Irish to connect on double digit field goals from behind the arc.

Prediction: Notre Dame 77 Washington State 72

Irish survive and advance to the Sweet 16 to face top seed North Carolina!

Buzz Around Team Camps 12/18/08

Here's the latest Buzz Around Team Camps for this Thursday, December 18th:

San Diego St. via
Brady Hoke, San Diego State's new football coach, said yesterday that he is in the midst of ongoing discussions with Ball State Athletic Director Tom Collins and Cardinals offensive coordinator Stan Parrish regarding the latter's potential hiring as the Aztecs' offensive coordinator.

Under Parrish, who worked with Hoke for six years at Michigan before joining Hoke's staff at Ball State in 2005, the Cardinals ranked 11th nationally in total offense during the regular season.

On Tuesday, ESPN reported that Parrish, who likely will coach Ball State in Hoke's absence in the GMAC Bowl on Jan. 6, is in line to become the Cardinals'head coach. Parrish and Collins denied the report. Attempts to contact Parrish yesterday were unsuccessful.

“Obviously, (Parrish) is the logical choice,” Hoke said. “In talking with Stan and with Tom Collins, I think they're still going through the gyrations of everything that goes along with a situation like that. (Parrish) hasn't made a decision, but we'll have more contact and see where it goes.”

Michigan via
Following a season in which the University of Michigan football team allowed the most points in school history, defensive coordinator Scott Shafer has resigned.

The university announced the resignation in a news release Tuesday afternoon.

"Scott and I agreed that moving in a different direction was in the best interest of the program," Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said in a written statement. "I appreciate Scott's hard work on behalf of Michigan football the past year. He is a good football coach, a good person and a true professional. We wish him well in the future."

Michigan St. via
Michigan State running back Javon Ringer has added another honor to his nation-leading 477 carries and 1,590 rushing yards and school-record 21 touchdowns. On Tuesday, Ringer was named first-team All-American by The Associated Press.

"By playing for Michigan State, I've been fortunate enough to have an opportunity to perform on a national stage," Ringer said in a statement released by MSU. "In this offensive system, I've been asked to play an important role, and that's certainly not something that I've shied away from.

"I've taken my share of hard hits, but I've been fortunate to play the entire season with just some bumps and bruises. I also have to give credit to all of my teammates, but especially my offensive line, fullbacks and tight ends. Those are the guys that gave me room to showcase my ability."

Last week, Ringer became MSU's 77th All-American when he was selected to the Walter Camp All-America team. He was the first Spartan running back named to the team since Lorenzo White was a consensus selection in 1987.

Stanford via
Adding another impressive honor to his 2008 season, Stanford defensive end Tom Keiser was named to the Sporting News All-Freshman first team today. Keiser, who finished among the Pac-10 Conference leaders in sacks and forced fumbles, earned a spot on's All-Freshman second team last week and also garnered honorable mention All-Pac-10 accolades.

Keiser burst onto the scene as a redshirt freshman in 2008, ranking third in the Pac-10 Conference in forced fumbles per game (0.25) and was 10th in the conference in sacks (6.0). The Wexford, PA native played in all 12 games, compiling 24 total tackles (17 solo efforts) and two pass breakups.

Keiser is one of only two Pac-10 players to land a spot on the Sporting News All-Freshman team, joining Arizona State defensive tackle Lawrence Guy.

Washington via
With an offensive coordinator hired, defensive coordinator now becomes the most high-profile opening left on UW's coaching staff.

Rocky Seto of USC turned it down Tuesday and explains why in a blog item in the Orange Country Register.

Former New Mexico coach Rocky Long has been rumored as another possibility. Sarkisian said only that he had a couple of guys in mind and that no offers had been made.

Louisville DC Ron English has also been rumored, but this report says he is also in the mix to be the head coach at Eastern Michigan and one source indicated English wasn't all that interested in coming to UW.

Indications are also that DeWayne Walker doesn't have much interest in coming to UW, either.

The story with English mentions instead that Walker could be a candidate for the DC job at LSU, one of several big-name schools that has an opening for coordinator, including Clemson, Syracuse, and most recently Michigan, which opened Tuesday.

Pittsburgh via
Pitt Coach Dave Wannstedt formally announced yesterday that freshman Shayne Hale (Gateway) has moved from linebacker to defensive end. Wannstedt said Hale had a good scrimmage Monday at defensive end and "has a chance to be real good there." ... Redshirt junior defensive back Dan Cafaro was named a finalist for the Rudy award, which annually goes to a college football player who "demonstrate exemplary character, courage, contribution and commitment as members of their team." The award is named for Rudy Reuttiger, former Notre Dame player and inspiration for the movie "Rudy."

Syracuse via
The Syracuse University football team could sure use another tight end. Here's one who apparently is looking for a new home. This was reported by John Jiloty of

Inside Lacrosse has learned that Will Yeatman has asked for and received his release from Notre Dame and is in the process of transferring. The 6-foor-6, 260-pound lacrosse attackman and football tight end played one season for the Irish lacrosse team. In 2007, he earned honorable mention All-American honors after scoring 21 goal and 25 assists.

His next destination is unknown, though a source told IL that it most likely will be a school where he can play both lacrosse and football. The release is still being finalized and it likely will go through, according to a source and an online article by the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.

Southern Cal via
Linebacker Rey Maualuga was announced Wednesday night as USC's most valuable player during the team's annual awards banquet at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel.

Maualuga, a senior from Eureka, also has been selected to several All-American teams, was the Pacific 10 Conference defensive player of the year and won the Bednarik Award.

Maualuga sat out one game because of a knee injury but still has a team-best 73 tackles and also two interceptions for the Trojans, who resume practice today in preparation for the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl game against Penn State.

Other team award winners: Senior defensive end Kyle Moore (most inspirational); sophomore center Kristofer O'Dowd (offensive lineman); senior defensive tackle Fili Moala (defensive lineman); senior kicker David Buehler and senior defensive end Clay Matthews (special teams).

Quick Kicks
Maualuga and safety Taylor Mays were selected to the All-America and the Sporting News All-American teams. . . . Linebacker Brian Cushing was selected to's All-American team. . . . Jared Blank, USC's assistant director of football operations, will join Steve Sarkisian's staff at Washington as director of player personnel. Former USC graduate assistant Demetrice Martin was hired to coach the secondary. . . . The Trojans are tentatively scheduled to practice today through Sunday at 1 p.m. and Monday at 11 a.m. They will be off Tuesday through Christmas Day.

Hawaii via
The Warriors spent the past three days working on techniques and fundamentals. But they already have studied videos of the Fighting Irish, and crafted a game plan. Because of the extra days afforded for bowl preparation, McMackin used the final hour of yesterday's practice "to have some fun and get some looks" at developing players.

"It was really competitive," McMackin said. "They were going back and forth. It was fun. You've got to have some fun when you're playing this game, especially deep into the season as we are."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Irish Have Tough Road to Hoe

As the regular season and conference championship games conclude this weekend, the overall statistics of Notre Dame still might be a little hard to swallow for several Fighting Irish fans.

Although this year's numbers are better than last season's 3-9 squad, it still didn't pan out the way Charlie Weis and the Irish had hoped for.

Offensive Statistics

Rushing: 98th (113 ypg)
Passing: 46th (231.4 ypg)
Total Off.: 74th (344 ypg)
Scoring: 85th (22.6)

With some incredible skill position players, specifically at wide receiver and tight end, I'm a little disappointed in the overall numbers, especially the scoring average. This football team, inside their opponents 30-yard line, did not finish at the rate you wanted to see them finish off drives. In the second half of the season they did not get the ball into the endzone. There were too many field goal attempts for one's liking. So I'm very disappointed in the scoring average being 85th in the country. Just too much talent there to be scoring that low.

Total offense, I have to say is very disappointing at 74th among the Football Bowl Subdivision teams. That passing offense at 46th is livable, but everything in the world about the Irish offense gets better if they could run the football than 98th in the nation. Passing should have been better, especially the way things heated up from the second half of the Michigan State game through the third quarter of North Carolina. Top 25 easily with the receiving corps of Golden Tate and Michael Floyd.

Defensively, this was an area of concern many Irish fans alike had coming into the start of the 2008 campaign. Luckily, they improved drastically from last season.

Defensive Statistics

Rushing: 96th (195 ypg)
Passing: 2nd (161.5 ypg)
Pass Eff.: 22nd (111.78)
Total: 39th (327 ypg)

Notre Dame's pass defense, statistically, ended up very, very solid. You would have to say that is was a decent number when they couldn't get to the opposing quarterback frequently. It could have been a lot worse, as I understand sacks don't take away from the pass defense numbers. But at the same time you're asking a lot from your secondary to cover pretty well when you don't get pressure on the quarterback.

The Irish didn't see many great QB's this season until last week when Southern Cal's Mark Sanchez popped up on the their schedule. I wouldn't qualify Sanchez as a great QB, but a very good one. The defense was indeed shredded at times during the season because they didn't get to the quarterback. And that has to be a point of emphasis next season, as well as, getting a defensive line that can push people around. That will only make it a whole lot easier for the Irish to excel in 2009.

And what happened to this defense that wanted to attack? They blitzed a lot in the early going, but if you noticed they called off the dogs a lot during the second half of the season. Well if you're not going to get there, why take the gamble?

Two other statistics that were glaring was the turnover margin and tackles for losses. The Irish were 84th (-.42) and 112th (4.3 tfl avg.), respectively. That definitely has to change or we'll see some wholesale changes in the football offices.

Speaking of changes, here are the "for certain" candidates that will be seeing pink slips in the near future for the Notre Dame staff:

John Latina (Offensive Line Coach)
Ron Powlus (Quarterback Coach)
Mike Haywood (Offensive Coordinator)
Reuben Mendoza (Strength and Conditioning Coach)

Once these changes will be made with suitable, proven replacements, the Irish tread into the spring with hopes of a better 2009.

For now, there's still some unfinished business to attend to in Houston!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bad Hand Dealt Along Irish Defensive Front

It's been a rough two weeks defensively for the Fighting Irish football team. First, Pat Kuntz was not enrolled at the University anymore and was taking classes at Ivy Tech in Indianapolis. Citing "personal reasons", Kuntz has been known to have had academic difficulty in the past. Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibit Notre Dame in disclosing any information regarding Kuntz's situation. So if you can put two and two together, Kuntz was dismissed for academic difficulty and can hopefully return in the summer on probationary status. Basically what this means is if Patrick can shore up his academic deficiencies, he should be back with his Irish mates in the summer before two-a-days.

This week, Derrell Hand's career reportedly could be sidelined for good with a spinal cord injury. With a thin line on defense already, losing both Kuntz and Hand was a major blow to the Irish's 2008 season. That now leaves six players (Justin Brown, Paddy Mullen, Andrew Nuss, Emeka Nwankwo, Kallen Wade, and Ian Williams) with EIGHT combined starts! It doesn't look good when you face the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue, in weeks 2, 3, and 4 of the early season.

Out of the six, only three have actually played in games. Justin Brown has played in 26 games, while starting in six throughout his career with the Irish. Paddy Mullen has had some spot duty, alongside some special teams play in three games last season, while Ian Williams played in all 12 games last season, starting two of them, as he earned Freshman All-America honors.

If all of the current verbals solidify their commitments, the Irish will add four top notch players to the defensive line. Sean Cwynar, who's currently enrolled, Ethan Johnson, Hafis Williams, and Brandon Newman, could definitely push for immediate playing time. Look for Chris Stewart to possibly make the switch over again to add some depth. Newman and Cwynar should definitely see action right away, while Johnson will compete soon once his knee heals properly.

With such a young and barely tested group, the Irish should have their hands full early on, or do they? Looking ahead at next year's schedule, the majority of the teams the Irish face in the first quarter of the season, will have about two returning starters along the offensive line. Overall, there are 27 returning starters on Notre Dame's opponents roster. That's an average of 3 returning starters. Below is the breakdown:

San Diego State (4-8) 1 returning starter (Trask Iosefa)
Michigan (9-4) 2 returning starters (Justin Boren and Stephen Schilling)
Michigan State (7-6) 2 returning starters (Roland Martin and Jesse Miller)
Purdue (8-5) 2 returning starters (Zach Reckman and Zach Jones)
Stanford (4-8) 3 returning starters (Ben Muth, Alex Fletcher, and Chris Morielli)
North Carolina (4-8) 4 returning starters (Kyle Jolly, Aaron Stahl, Calvin Darity, and Garrett Reynolds)
Washington (4-9) 2 returning starters (Ben Ossani and Ryan Tolar)
Pittsburgh (5-7) 2 returning starters (CJ Davis and Joe Thomas)
Boston College (11-3) 3 returning starters (Matt Tennant, Cliff Ramsey, and Anthony Costanzo)
Navy (8-5) 1 returning starter (Anthony Gaskins)
Syracuse (2-10) 3 returning starters (Ryan Durand, Corey Chavers, and Jim McKenzie)
USC (11-2) 2 returning starters (Butch Lewis and Jeff Byers)

With the exception of Boston College (11-3), the teams with three or more returning starters across the offensive line had a combined record of 10-26! So with a youthful defensive line, the Irish might not have that much of a disadvantage. Obviously there are a few "IFs" that could help make or break the defensive line for Notre Dame.

1) "If" Pat Kuntz can come back, the Irish won't have to speed up the learning curve for the incoming Freshmen;

2) "If" all the verbal commits stay on track, Notre Dame will have 10 players to compete for playing time;


3) "If" the NCAA adopts the NFL clock rules, offenses will have to work on minor adjustments. Next month, Dave Perry will head up a 12-person panel that will "look long and hard" at implementing the NFL's timing system when it convenes in Indianapolis. The NFL clock rules that the NCAA could implement would be: 1) The clock doesn't stop on first down; 2) Penalties stop the clock in the final two minutes of each half; and 3) The Play clock begins at 40 seconds.

Not that the those are significant changes, but it will give offenses some extra work in camps if it does pass.

Notre Dame is resilient. They are called the Fighting Irish for a reason, correct?
"Sometime, when the team is up against it -- and the breaks are beating the boys -- tell them to go out there with all they got and win just one for the Gipper...

Monday, September 12, 2011

MIA in Milwaukee

WOW! Last Saturday's 26 point blowout at Marquette was very painful to watch to say the least. 24 turnovers, 39.7% FG shooting, including a season low 21.1% 3pt. FG shooting, left a sour taste in many Irish fan's mouths. The only bright spot in this contest was the dominant play of Luke Harangody. Luke recorded his 11th double-double of the season with 29 points and 14 rebounds.

One of the more disturbing trends playing out this season is the play of Junior swingman Ryan Ayers. I hate throwing players under the bus, but Ayers' play has to be addressed. For two seasons now, we've heard how Ryan just lights it up in practice and is one of the best shooters on the team, period! I'm not denying that he isn't a good shooter. When he actually does shoot the rock, he generally makes it. On Saturday, he was non existent; not that it would have made a huge difference in the game because of the Irish's poor shooting, but, MAN, can't he penetrate or shoot the damn ball? 0-for-3 shooting, one assist, one steal, and two rebounds, is not going to cut it in the Big East. Ayers is supposed to be a leader on this team, so he better start playing like one soon. Good news for him is that Cincinnati comes to town tomorrow night. If you recall, Ayers had a career day hitting on four treys in a key conference road win for the Irish last season. Maybe this will be his breakout game to ignite his season.

Now for all the Brey, nay-sayers. Yes this was an awful loss. In fact it was Brey's worst loss as head coach for the Irish. The previous worst for Brey's boys was last season's 66-48 loss at Georgetown. Overall during his tenure here in South Bend, Brey has lost a total of 81 games, which roughly averages about 10 losses per season. Out of his 81 losses, 21 (25.9%) of them have been by 10 points or more,
6 (7%)of those losses were by 15 points or more, while 15 (18.5%) of those losses were between 14 and 10 points. 39 (48%) of Brey's losses have been by five points or less, and 21 (25.9%) losses were between nine points and six points. 25 (30.8%) of his losses have been at the JACC, 16 (19.7%) are at a neutral site, and 40 (49.3%) have been at visiting arenas. To sum it up, Brey's squad has been very competitive during losses and rarely lose at home, which could not be said during the John MacLeod years.

74 percent of Mike Brey's squad's losses were by 10 points or less. 74 PERCENT, people! I know that he doesn't have a lot to show for it, but in one of the best leagues, year-in and year-out, I do believe he deserves a little bit of slack too! He's the first coach in ND history to lead the Irish to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments, which includes a Sweet 16 appearance, and a Big East West Division Title. On a football first campus, men's hoops has basically been the red-headed stepchild of the athletic department. Playing in one of the worst facilities in the conference and amongst BCS confence schools, it would be very difficult to field a Top 25 program every single year.

What makes it even worse is the fact, that the athletic department and upper administration don't care about some of the Olympic sports, such as, men's and women's hoops, and the perennial Top 10 ice hockey program. So you mean to tell me, ND cannot build a new basketball arena, like Pittsburgh, and also build a separate ice hockey arena for a much deserving program? Don't tell me there isn't space on campus, because that's hogwash. I'll leave that debate for another day. But to get back to my original point, is that Mike Brey is a good coach and is the right man for this job.

I do post a question for all of Brey's critics,namely, Georgia Irish, you putz!. Name me someone (other than Bobby Knight, Coach K., Bill Self, Roy Williams, etc.) who can do better with what we have? I bet the list will be very short, to say the least.

Mike Brey and his squad are still on track to have a phenomenal year. I don't see anymore losses like the one that took place Saturday happening again anytime soon; and that's a fact!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Irish Look to Extend Streak at the JACC

Tonight's matchup with the Providence Friars is very intriguing. Although the Friars are 12-7 overall and 3-4 in league play, including losing two straight, Providence has a well balanced offensive attack this season. Five different players are averaging more than 10 points per game and six players have recorded 20 or more points in a game this season for the Friars. But tonight will not be the night for Providence.

Away from the friendly confines of the Dukin Donuts Arena, Providence is 1-4. The last contest was a 71-64 loss at the Carrier Dome to a Syracuse squad that has only six healthy scholarship players! Yes, SIX scholarship players. To their credit, Providence did beat UConn in Hartford 77-65 on January 17. So which Friar squad will show up tonight, the one that beat Connecticut, or the one that has lost at Syracuse and DePaul? My money is on the latter!

Providence reminds me a lot like Cincinnati. They've got some quickness and some size, but nothing too overbearing. The Friars' leading scorer is Manhattan transfer Jeff Xavier. Xavier is averaging 13.1 points per contest, while Geoffrey McDermott is their all-around guy (ala Rob Kurz) with 10.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. PC's big man, 6-11 Randall Hanke, should not give Irish stud Luke Harangody too much trouble. Hanke is only averaging 3.2 rebounds per contest, YIKES!

The Friars lead the Big East in 3 pt. field goals made per game at 8, but that is very misleading. Providence is chucking up around 25 to 30 shots behind the arc a night. And only hitting at 38% is not that great too! The Friars live and die by the three point shot. Good thing the Irish have excelled in holding their opponents to 32.7% from 3 pt. territory.

Notre Dame, once again, needs to get it going from the get-go. Look for Kyle McAlarney and Ryan Ayers to pick up where they left off on Saturday against Villanova. Ayers, who came off the bench with 10 points and six rebounds in 19 minutes, looked great hitting the trey and driving the lane to create scoring opportunities. McAlarney is becoming deadly from long range and in the lane with his driving one handed floaters. Good things definitely happen when he has the ball in his hands.

Rob Kurz, Luke Harangody, and Zach Hillesland will control the boards and will dominant down low, as Providence doesn't have the height or man power to stop the Irish. Look for Kurz to have a breakout performance, while Harangody will put up another double-double game. Hillesland is good for his usual six to seven boards, and four assists. Maybe he'll get some more poster dunk opportunities.

Overall, I don't see the Irish letting this one slip through their fingers. The streak is intact for another game, as they will take over sole possession of second place in the Big East standings.

Prediction: Notre Dame 86 Providence 71

Baseline Bits:

~ Notre Dame leads the all-time series 11-9 and has won four straight against the Friars, including last season’s 81-78 victory at the Joyce Center. Providence is 4-6 all-time at the Joyce Center. Its last win in the series came at the Joyce Center when the Friars defeated Notre Dame 73-58. Since the Irish joined the BIG EAST in 1995-96, there have been 15 meetings between the two schools during the regular season and in tournament competition. In BIG EAST play, Notre Dame holds a 9-6 edge.

~ Notre Dame ranks in the top five of the NCAA statistics in two categories: assists (6th-18.9) and rebounding margin (7th-9.1).

~ Tonight’s game against Providence is the first of consecutive home matchups in less than 48 hours as the Irish will play host to the DePaul Blue Demons on Saturday night at 6:00 pm.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Latest on the Poodle

USC Coach Pete Carroll refused to answer reporters' questions about a possible return to the NFL while all signs continued to indicate that offensive lineman Chilo Rachal was on his way to turning pro. Carroll's name had been linked to at least two NFL openings last week while he was on vacation in Hawaii. He reportedly spoke with Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank at least once about the team's search for a head coach. He also has been mentioned in media reports as a possible candidate to succeed Joe Gibbs with the Washington Redskins. "I'm not talking about anything," Carroll said Monday upon his arrival at Heritage Hall. "I'm not commenting about anything."

Click on the title to get the LA Times article.

In fear of being thrown up against Vick's dogs in the fighting ring, the Poodle has pretty much written off the ATL. With Joe Gibbs retiring last week, Carroll is very interested in hearing what the Redskins have to offer.

Ding, dong, the Poodle will be gone! You can take that to the bank.

The Worldwide Leader in BS

Poor, poor, Dana. I really feel sorry for you. Not only are you Mr. Ed's and John Kerry's love child, but a week long vacation from your hosting gig on ESPN's First Take, must be rough. So once again, ESPN dropped the ball on this one.

It took ESPN a little over a week to finally address this issue, since the parent company got flooded with a bunch of emails. These emails were not only from Notre Dame alums and fans, but from Christians! That's the whole issue here. Yes, she mentioned F#$% Notre Dame, but she said F@!* Jesus. She opened up a can of worms there.

This is not a Notre Dame or Catholic thing. Rather it's a Christianity thing. A follower of Jesus thing! ESPN and Jacobson failed to mention that in their sorry attempt at an apology:

Dana Jacobson, co-host of ESPN2's "First Take," is currently being disciplined for remarks made at a Jan. 11 celebrity roast for ESPN Radio personalities Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic.

Her characterizations of the Notre Dame football program, which have been criticized by a Catholic organization, were deemed "inappropriate" by the network, which issued the following statement from Jacobson:

"I am sorry. My remarks about Notre Dame were foolish and insensitive. I respect all religions and did not mean anything derogatory by my poorly chosen words. I also deeply regret the embarrassment I've caused ESPN and Mike and Mike.

"My actions at the roast were inappropriate and in no way represent who I am. I won't make excuses for my behavior, but I do hope I can be forgiven for such a poor lack of judgment."

ESPN is not the only one that missed the point on this too. South Bend Tribune columnist and Charlie Weis hater, Jeff Carroll talked about this Jacobson debacle and Catholicism. Yes, the Catholic Church didn't look at Jacobson's remarks lightly, but folks of Catholic faith are not the only ones that had an issue with this. Click on the title to get Carroll's article.

I don't think a slap on the wrist or sweeping it under the rug, like ESPN tried to do, is justifiable. Her comments were just as bad as Don Imus' when he called the Rutgers women's basketball team nappy headed ho's! It really didn't matter to me that she said F$%& Notre Dame, however, I have a real big problem when she said F#@& Jesus. That's totally uncalled for.

Just watch the video.

You'll have to download it, but you can see that Ms. Jacobson meant what she said. I don't buy her or ESPN apology one bit!

Also, if you had a Christian call out a Jewish person like that, or a specifically a Notre Dame person say something like that, LORD Help us! It would be plastered all over the television 24/7! Bigotry, especially Catholic bigotry has been tolerated for so long. It's about time someone stood up for it.

People need to take responsibility for their actions. Ms. Jacobson needs to do more than bury her head in the sand and give a bogus apology. Plus I don't think a one week absence does this any justice. If Imus was fired, then so should Jacobson!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fighting Irish Do It Again: 60 Minutes Away from First National Championship

Notre Dame continues it magical ride with a 5-4 overtime win over favored Michigan. At 5:44 of overtime, Dan Venard’s shot was stopped by Hogan, but he left a big rebound for Calle Ridderwall, who beat the Michigan goaltender low-stick.

The fourth line and third set of “D” come through for the Irish, who will play Boston College on Saturday for all the marbles. This will be the first all-private school matchup in the championship since 1985, when RPI played Providence in Detroit. It will be the 10th all-private school matchup overall. This will also be the first all-Catholic school matchup in the NCAA hockey final, and Notre Dame’s first appearance in the national championship game.

By the Numbers:

Jeff Jackson is now 6-1 in the Frozen Four as a coach. Jackson has never lost a semifinal game at the Frozen Four.

“I’m just fortunate that we’ve had the opportunity,” said Jackson. “You try to get your team prepared to peak at the right time. I can’t say that happened this year, but we turned the corner and we’re back on the rise again, and there’s no easy way to bottle peaking. The biggest thing is getting your team to believe in something.”

More NCAA 09 To Wet Your Appetite

Here's another ND pic for the upcoming NCAA 09 game. Unlike last year's version, the Irish have their alternate "Green" jersey's to choose from. Who knows, maybe you'll have better luck with the Green?

I don't know about you, but I wish the college football season would come soon!

Buzz Around Team Camps 12/5/08

Here's the lastest Buzz Around Team Camps for this Friday, December 5th:

San Diego St. via
Former Texas A&M and Alabama head football coach Dennis Franchione has had contact with San Diego State representatives about the vacant head coaching position there, according to a source close to the situation.

Franchione could not be reached for comment yesterday. Sources said others who have been contacted about the position include UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Martz, former Minnesota coach Glen Mason and Utah defensive coordinator Gary Andersen.

Andersen was named Utah State's new coach yesterday. Martz declined to comment when asked about it Wednesday. Mason's agent didn't confirm or deny involvement, instead referring questions about it to SDSU. Walker has made his interest known and is believed to have an interview set up soon.

Franchione, 57, resigned from A&M last year. He failed to meet expectations at A&M with a 32-28 record over five seasons but before that had developed a reputation as a program-builder at New Mexico and TCU.

SDSU is seeking a replacement for Chuck Long, who was fired Nov. 22. The Atlanta-based firm Parker Executive Search is assisting SDSU with the search.

Michigan via
The crowd was relatively small, the speeches were short, and the University of Michigan football team wrapped up its 88th annual bust about two hours quicker than usual.

After a 3-9 season, the Michigan awards banquet on Thursday was, for the most part, a perfunctory affair.

School president Mary Sue Coleman addressed the audience of more than 700 and explained that "transitions are hard. We're in it for the long run."

McGuffie a No Show via
When members of the Michigan football team took their seats at the annual football bust Thursday night, Sam McGuffie was absent from the group. The reason for his absence was unclear.

Coach Rich Rodriguez spoke before the team filed into the Laurel Manor, but said he would not address personnel issues or the status of assistant coaches.

Last week, Rodriguez said that McGuffie was dealing with some family issues at home in Texas, but said he expected that the running back would return to the Wolverines next season.

Carson Butler was also missing from the banquet Thursday night. Butler, who just completed his junior season, had lost his starting job at tight end and moved to the defensive line during the '08 season.

Running back Avery Horn was also not in attendance.

Rodriguez also said Thursday he expected to sign a full 25-member recruiting class this offseason, an estimate higher than the 20 to 23 he projected last week shortly after the season ended.

Purdue via
Danny Hope has moved quickly to form his first staff as Purdue's head football coach, hiring two new assistants and promoting a graduate assistant Monday.

Gary Nord is the new offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, replacing Ed Zaunbrecher. Shawn Clark takes over offensive line coaching duties from Hope and departing assistant John McDonell, who was in charge of tight ends and offensive tackles under retiring coach Joe Tiller.

In addition to the two hires, Hope has elevated J.B. Gibboney to special teams coordinator, relieving defensive tackles coach Mark Hagen of those duties.

Indications are there will be no further changes to the staff, unless one or more of the current assistants leave for another job.

North Carolina via
North Carolina's football team appears to be the choice of the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte.

"I think the chances are good that it's going to happen," said Will Webb, the executive director of the Meineke Car Care Bowl. He added that an offer had not yet been formally made to the university.

UNC officials could not be reached for comment. UNC (8-4) is likely to play No. 23 Pittsburgh or West Virginia in the Dec. 27 game at Bank of America Stadium.

Washington via
Steve Sarkisian and the Washington Huskies wanted to wait a few more days to make their marriage official. But a search that began Oct. 27 when it was announced that Tyrone Willingham would not be back next season culminated Thursday when the Huskies decided to offer their head football coaching position to Sarkisian, an assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at USC.

The Huskies may make it official at a news conference on Sunday, said a well-placed source. And they had hoped that the news would wait until then.

An ESPN report broke the news about 6:30 p.m. Neither Sarkisian nor Washington athletic director Scott Woodward would confirm the report when talking later with reporters.

Pittsburgh via
Since the Gator Bowl invited Clemson, North Carolina is now the most likely ACC representative in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte. That's good news for Pitt because it pushes Rutgers -- who has already played the Tar Heels -- out of the mix for that bowl and squarely into the Bowl. Pitt still needs Rutgers to beat Louisville tonight to keep Notre Dame out of the mix, but if the Scarlet Knights win, the developments with North Carolina virtually guarantee that Pitt is headed to the Sun Bowl regardless of what happens Saturday against Connecticut. West Virginia appears headed to the Meineke Car Care Bowl. But if the Sun takes West Virginia, Pitt would go to the Meineke Bowl as opposed to the bowl.

Navy via
It is becoming more and more likely that Navy's opponent in the EagleBank Bowl will be Wake Forest.

Ball State's decision to decline an offer to play Boise State in the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl greatly increased that possibility. It now appears the Humanitarian Bowl will select Maryland and the way the rest of the Atlantic Coast Conference is sorting out Wake Forest may be the only team left for the EagleBank Bowl.

Syracuse via
LSU football coach Les Miles has apparently inquired about bringing former Syracuse coach Greg Robinson to Baton Rouge as his defensive coordinator. Contacted Thursday night, Robinson did not deny the contact about the LSU job, though he said the information might be "reaching a little bit." He said he's weighing all his options.

"I don't see myself having the ability to do something right now," Robinson said. "First of all, I want to continue to work on our coaches to help them (find new jobs). Secondly, I have to weigh all my options. That's going to take some time."

Robinson indicated he's received other coaching inquiries. He said there have "been some calls about certain things. I'm not in a position at this time to make a decision."

At the same time, he said he is putting his own professional opportunities on hold, which "might remove me from some situations, possibly," he said. "That's where I'm at."

Southern Cal via
Safety Kevin Ellison (knee) completed the full practice and said he would play against UCLA. Coach Pete Carroll said a decision on whether Ellison might start ahead of Will Harris would be made at game time. . . . Fullback Stanley Havili, still nursing two sprained ankles, practiced and said he would play.

Safety Advisory via
The Pasadena Police Department on Thursday issued a safety advisory for Saturday at the sold-out Rose Bowl, where UCLA will host USC in football.

In a news release, police announced they would be taking a "zero tolerance policy to drunk and disorderly conduct both inside the stadium and on the grounds surrounding the Rose Bowl."

That includes areas used for tailgate parties.

"We recognize that there are longtime traditions in relation to this well-known crosstown rivalry," Police Chief Bernard Melekian said, "but our mission is to ensure public safety."

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Accolades Start To Flow For Irish Hoops

A 33 game home court winning streak, sole possession of 2nd place in one of the best conferences in the country, a current three game winning streak, as well as, one of the best inside-outside duos in the country, Notre Dame's men's basketball team is finally getting their props! Yesterday, the Irish were ranked 21st and 22nd, respectively, in both the ESPN/USAToday and AP polls. The team is not the only one getting attention though.

Big man Luke Harangody was awarded his second Big East Player of the Week honors. After registering his 11th double-double of the season, Harangody is now averaging double figures in both points and rebounds. In fact, he is currently 29th in the country in scoring (20.4 ppg), and 18th in rebounds (10.0 rpg). If Luke can keep this up, not only should he be the Big East Player of the Year, but he will most likely make some All-America lists.

After their hard fought victories last week, ND has also moved up the RPI ratings at 40. Even though the Irish are currently second place in the conference standings, six conference foes are ahead of them in the RPI rankings. Below is a breakdown of the conference standings, win-loss record, conf. win-loss record, and current RPI and SOS rankings:

1. Georgetown 18-2, 8-1, 6 RPI 51 SOS
2. Notre Dame 16-4, 6-2, 40 RPI 93 SOS
3. Connecticut 16-5, 6-3, 16 RPI 7 SOS
Marquette 15-4, 6-3, 17 RPI 47 SOS
Louisville 16-6, 6-3, 37 RPI 32 SOS
6. Syracuse 16-7, 6-4, 34 RPI 6 SOS
7. Pittsburgh 16-5, 5-4, 19 RPI 37 SOS
W. Virginia 15-6, 5-4, 41 RPI 46 SOS
Seton Hall 15-7, 5-4, 45 RPI 50 SOS
10. Cincinnati 10-12, 5-5, 84 RPI 3 SOS
11. DePaul 9-12, 4-5, 126 RPI 21 SOS
12. Providence 12-9, 3-6, 65 RPI 24 SOS
Villanova 13-7, 3-6, 74 RPI 83 SOS
14. St. John's 8-12, 2-7, 137 RPI 17 SOS
15. Rutgers 10-13, 2-8, 169 RPI 87 SOS
16. S. Florida 10-12, 1-8, 150 RPI 72 SOS

Key Irish opponents, Kansas State and Baylor, are 28th and 32nd, according to the RPI.

With 10 games remaining on the regular season slate and a little over six weeks before Selection Sunday, Notre Dame is in good shape. In all the 31 projected NCAA brackets, the Irish are a lock as a 6th seed. ND was as high as a number 4 seed (Schmolik 64 and CBS Sportsline), and as low as 13th (Joey Bracket Buster). Possible opponents could be UMass, Miami, or UNLV. Big East member, Syracuse, is the other current 11th seed.

ESPN's Bracketologist, Joe Lunardi did have some decent things to say during his weekly chat, but would like to see more from the Irish.

Travis (DC): Enough ACC questions!! Notre Dame is 16-4 overall and 6-2 in conference with the two losses on the road at G-Town and Marquette. If Luke Harangody continues his 20 and 10 pace for the rest of the season and the Irish keep on winning, how high of a seed do you think they can get?

Joe Lunardi: (2:43 PM ET ) What I'll be watching most closely is how well N.D. plays on the road. The Irish have one true road win, at fading Villanova and will need to show better against the other top teams in the conference (away from home) to be seeded accordingly.

Well the Irish will get their chance to shine on the road against two traditional powers, Connecticut (Feb. 13) and Louisville (Feb. 28). Their home slate isn't a pushover either with Saturday's contest against Marquette, and then back-to-back games with Pittsburgh (Feb. 21) and Syracuse (Feb. 24). A 2-2 split or 3-1 record versus those teams will propel the Irish even farther up the ratings chain.

Here is the breakdown of the current NCAA Tournament seedings for the eight Big East teams. Seton Hall is listed as one of the last teams left out in all of the brackets. Lunardi placed the Irish 6th in the Midwest against former Cinderella, George Mason, in Little Rock, Arkansas.

2. Georgetown
5. Marquette
5. Pittsburgh
5. Connecticut
6. Notre Dame
8. Louisville
9. West Virginia
11. Syracuse

With the Irish making their debut in both the AP and ESPN/USAToday polls, that makes five Big East teams ranked, which is the most in the nation. The Big 12 and Big 10 are next with four teams ranked. Kansas State checks out at 20th (AP) and 24th (ESPN/USAToday).

Georgetown 6 (AP), 6 (ESPN), 5-2 (v.1-50 RPI), 0-0 (vs. 51-100), 9-1 (last 10 games)
UConn 19 , 19 , 5-4 , 1-1 , 7-3
Marquette 16 , 16 , 3-5 , 2-0 , 6-4
Pittsburgh 21 , 25 , 3-2 , 2-2 , 6-4
Notre Dame 22 , 21 , 3-3 , 3-1 , 8-2
Syracuse NR , NR , 1-5 , 3-2 , 6-4
Louisville NR , NR , 4-5 , 1-1 , 8-2

As you can see, the Irish compare quite well against their Big East counterparts. It's now down to the final stretch during these last ten games. I predicted before the season started that the Irish would be in store for 22 wins. With remaining games against Rutgers, St. John's, and South Florida, I'm going to up their regular season total to 24. So when the conference tournament comes around, the Irish will have another first round bye with a 14-4 league mark and an overall record of 24-6. For the record, I see the Irish losing on the road to both Connecticut and Louisville, and also see ND going undefeated at the JACC (37 straight). Hey, I'm an alum and I'm bias, so don't shit in my cheerios!

Tomorrow will be another big road contest against Seton Hall. Even though the Pirates are 5-5 in their last ten games, 1-6 against Top 50 teams, and have most of their wins against the lower tier of the conference; this is a trap game for the Irish. But with a solid group that is playing some of its best basketball, Notre Dame will prevail and set their sights on Marquette.