Wednesday, August 8, 2012
When it rains, it pours, and for junior Kyle McAlarney, it was a tsunami against the Orange en route to the Irish's 94-87 victory. McAlarney set a school record nine 3pt. field goals to keep the Irish on pace for the Big East regular season championship. At 21-5 overall and 11-3 in conference play, Notre Dame is in the drivers seat to be a major player next month in the Big East and NCAA Tournaments.
The Irish extended their Joyce Center winning streak to 36 games with the win. McAlarney's nine 3-pointers were one short of the BIG EAST record, as he finished with 30 points. Note Dame has reached the 90-point mark five times this season. ND currently sits in third place in the BIG EAST with an 11-3 record. Sophomore forward Luke Harangody registered his league-leading 15th double-double of the season with 14points and 14 rebounds.
As Thursday's showdown at Louisville looms large not only in the conference standings, a win will boost either teams possible seeding for the big dance. According to the Bracket Matrix (http://bracketproject.atspace.com/comparison.htm), both the Irish and Cardinals are #4 national seed. The other two #4 seeds have a state appeal with the Irish, as Kelvin Sampson-less Indiana and Purdue round out those respective slots. So if McAlarney can continue his torrid shooting, and Tory Jackson can continue his steady play, the Irish could be in great shape.
NCAA Tournament Seed Projections:
# 2 Seed: Georgetown (22-4, 12-3), 7 (RPI)
# 3 Seed: Connecticut (21-6, 10-4), 14 (RPI)
# 4 Seed: Notre Dame (21-5, 11-3), 20 (RPI)
Louisville (22-6, 12-3), 14 (RPI)
# 6 Seed: Marquette (20-6, 10-5), 17 (RPI)
# 7 Seed: Pittsburgh (19-8, 7-7), 26 (RPI)
# 10 Seed: West Virginia (19-8, 8-6), 35 (RPI)
# 12 Seed: Syracuse (17-11, 7-8), 48 (RPI)
Last Four Out: Villanova (17-9, 7-7), 50 (RPI)
These four remaining contests will test the mettle of the Irish, as Notre Dame cannot afford to take DePaul, St. John's, or South Florida lightly. A slight slip of going 2-2 or 1-3, in the remaining four contests will not only cost them a good seed, but a first round bye in the Big East Tournament. But with the heart and determination these Fighting Irish are displaying, Notre Dame is making believers out of the media with their goals of winning the Big East and making the Final Four!