Sunday, April 1, 2012

Black Thursday Hits Irish

Something must have been in the water at New York City yesterday as the second, third, and fourth seeded Big East teams all lost in the quarterfinals of the tournament. The Irish's attempts of making it successive quarterfinal wins came to a screeching halt as Marquette's Jerel McNeal was on fire in the second half en route to his career high 28 points, which included 4-of-7 from behind the 3pt. arc.

Notre Dame placed all of its starters in double figures, led by Kyle McAlarney's 20 points, but only managed seven points from their bench. The Golden Eagles produced 20 points from their bench and out rebounded the Irish by four, 35-31. Big East Player of the Year Luke Harangody never really got into the rhythm of the game and was in foul trouble throughout the night.

Notre Dame must now wait and see what fate has in store for them on Selection Sunday. The Irish should not be penalized too much, because both Louisville and Connecticut also had early exits. As of today, Notre Dame is still holding strong as a #4 seed with Connecticut, Drake, and Purdue. The next line of seeds looking to jump ahead of the Irish are Indiana, Vanderbilt, Washington State, and Butler, while Michigan State, Marquette, Southern California, and Clemson still need to do some more work.

Comparing resumes to Notre Dame, the Irish look pretty favorable:

Notre Dame: 24-7; 23 (RPI); 7-3 (Last 10); 5-6 (vs. RPI Top 50)
Connecticut: 24-8; 17 (RPI); 7-3 (Last 10); 6-5 (vs. RPI Top 50)
Drake: 26-4; 11 (RPI); 7-3 (Last 10); 7-1 (vs. RPI Top 50)
Purdue: 24-7; 37 (RPI); 8-2 (Last 10); 5-4 (vs. RPI Top 50)
Indiana: 25-6; 18 (RPI); 7-3 (Last 10); 6-5 (vs. RPI Top 50)
Vanderbilt: 26-6; 10 (RPI); 8-2 (Last 10); 5-4 (vs. RPI Top 50)
Butler: 29-3; 16 (RPI); 9-1 (Last 10); 1-1 (vs. RPI Top 50)
Washington St.: 24-7; 20 (RPI); 7-3 (Last 10); 4-6 (vs. RPI Top 50)
Michigan St.: 24-7; 14 (RPI); 5-5 (Last 10); 5-5 (vs. RPI Top 50)
Marquette: 23-8; 19 (RPI); 8-2 (Last 10); 4-7 (vs. RPI Top 50)
USC: 21-10; 30 (RPI); 7-3 (Last 10); 4-7 (vs. RPI Top 50)
Clemson: 21-8; 22 (RPI); 7-3 (Last 10); 3-5 (vs. RPI Top 50)

So Irish fans hoping to see Notre Dame as a potential #4 seed will have some rooting interest today for Illinois (vs. Purdue), Minnesota (vs. Indiana), Ohio State (vs. Michigan State), Boston College (vs. Clemson), UCLA (vs. USC), Stanford (vs. Washington State), and Arkansas (vs. Vanderbilt).

Brey's Boys seeding fate is now up to the selection committee. Hopefully they will look at the whole body of work the Irish have done this season when everyone thought they were going to be a one hit wonder after last year. Whatever it ends up on Sunday, you can wipe the slate clean, because the real season begins next Thursday or Friday for the Irish!

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