Saturday, March 10, 2012

Irish Go for the Triple Play

A win, is a win, no matter how you can take it. Yesterday's contest against Rutgers was no different. In what turned out to be a wild and wacky weekend of college basketball not only in the Big East, but overall throughout the Division I ranks, Notre Dame inched closer to that coveted first round bye in the conference tournament.

With Georgetown's loss at Syracuse and Connecticut needing a last second shot in overtime to beat South Florida, the Irish are one game out of first place in the Big East. Louisville is tied with the Hoyas at 10-3, while the Huskies are in third with Notre Dame at 9-3. A slew of teams with five losses (Marquette, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Cincinnati) are looking on the outside of the top four.
But with the next three games slated for each of these teams, anything can happen.

Notre Dame's next three opponents of Pittsburgh (6th), Syracuse (9th), and Louisville (T-1st) are a combined 24-14 in league action. Below is a look at the remaining top eight team’s next three contests:


@ Providence (T-13th)
Cincinnati (T-6th)
St. John's (T-13th)

15-23 combined league mark


Syracuse (9th)
@ Pittsburgh (6th)
Notre Dame (T-3rd)

23-14 combined league mark


DePaul (T-10th)
@ Villanova (T-10th)
@ Rutgers (16th)

12-26 combined league mark


@ St. John's (T-13th)
Rutgers (16th)
@ Villanova (T-10th)

13-26 combined league mark


@ Notre Dame (T-3rd)
Louisville (T-1st)
Cincinnati (T-6th)

26-11 combined league mark

West Virginia

@ Villanova (T-10th)
Providence (T-13th)
@ DePaul (T-10th)

14-23 combined league mark


South Florida (15th)
@ Georgetown (T-1st)
@ Pittsburgh (T-6th)

21-17 combined league mark

So these next three games are vitally important for Mike Brey's boys. A 3-0 sweep would be gravy and would almost likely give the Irish one of the four bye slots. Even a 2-1 mark in these three games against RPI Top 50 teams will give them some breathing room. This season, Notre Dame is 4-4 vs. Top 50 teams, which is tied for third-best in the league with Georgetown. Connecticut (6-4) and Louisville (5-4) are the tops in the Big East.

This will definitely be an important week and a half for Notre Dame, not only in maintintaining their current home court winning streak, but keeping pace with the Hoyas, Cardinals, and Huskies for the league lead. Notre Dame will take a win any way they can get it, especially now!

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