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!

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