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.

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