Sunday, June 3, 2012
Through the Sands of Time
Just how important was Notre Dame's 68-59 victory over Kansas State on Tuesday night? Let's just say that this is what the NCAA selection committee will determine from the haves to the have nots!
Currently on the ESPN Bracketology (11/26 issue), the Big East has eight teams slated to make the Big Dance: Connecticut (9 seed, South), West Virginia (12 seed, West), Louisville (3 seed, West), Marquette (3 Seed, South), Villanova (9 seed, Midwest), Pittsburgh (8 seed, East), Syracuse (6 seed, Midwest), and Georgetown (2 seed, East). The conference as a whole, has the fourth best RPI ranking and will only get better once Big East action takes place starting in January.
The Irish have placed themselves in a good spot with their quality win over the Wildcats. Hopefully Kansas State will do their share by having a decent year in the Big 12. One positive so far in the loss column for the Irish is that Baylor is standing at 6-1 on the season. This is the best start for the Bears since the mid 90's.
As for the the potential eight March Madness bound Big East schools, I looked at their current national ranking, overall record, RPI ranking, and overall strength of schedule and compared that to the Irish. What you will see is that Notre Dame is in good shape to make it two years in a row to the NCAA Tournament. If the Irish can snag around 10 to 11 conference wins, they're in, no questions asked. If the number dips to 9 wins, then it might be bubble time. Syracuse last year had 10 conference wins, unfortunately for the Orange, their only quality non conference win was over Charlotte! So ND's win against Kansas State is huge.
Here is the breakdown of the 8 potential Big East NCAA Tournament Teams:
Connecticut (NR), 5-2, 59 (RPI), 47 (SOS)
West Virginia (NR), 5-1, 61 (RPI), 135 (SOS)
Louisville (14), 5-1, 20 (RPI), 30 (SOS)
Marquette (11), 4-1, 26 (RPI), 27 (SOS)
Villanova (25), 5-1, 63 (RPI), 145 (SOS)
Pittsburgh (12), 7-0, 53 (RPI), 220 (SOS)
Syracuse (NR), 6-2, 32 (RPI), 23 (SOS)
Georgetown (5), 6-0, 89 (RPI), 290 (SOS)
Notre Dame (NR), 6-2, 50 (RPI), 55 (SOS)
I'll dive even more into the quality wins and losses category for each of these teams as well. Once again, you'll be pleasantly surprised and breathe a sigh of relief for the Irish's chances.
Quality Wins and Losses
Connecticut: Wins (Gardner Webb); Losses (Gonzaga and Memphis)
West Virginia: Wins (Auburn and Oklahoma); Losses (Tennessee)
Louisville: Wins (UNLV and Miami of Ohio); Bad Loss (BYU @ home)
Marquette: Wins (Oklahoma St.); Losses (Duke); on deck @ Wisconsin
Villanova: Wins (Bucknell); Losses (NC State); on deck LSU and Temple
Pittsburgh: Wins (St. Louis); on deck @ Washington, Duke, and Oklahoma State.
Syracuse: Wins (Virginia and Washington); Losses (Ohio St.); Bad Loss (UMass @ home)
Notre Dame: Wins (Kansas State); Losses (Baylor and Georgia Tech)
Obviously the sands of time can change all of this, but if last Tuesday is any indication, the Irish will be dancing, and you can take that to the bank!