Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Projecting the NCAA Tournament Field

I know it is the middle of December, but it's never to early to discuss March Madness. With the Irish in the midst of final exams, Notre Dame's current five game winning streak has taken notice of several coaches and media alike. If the selection committee chose today, the Irish would be in at a #12 seed. With last week's impressive wins over Kansas State and Northern Illinois, the Irish were one of the last four in, while Big East rival Syracuse didn't make the cut. The Orange suffered another loss at the Carrier Dome to Atlantic 10 Conference member Rhode Island. Two weeks ago, SU lost a stunner to UMass.

According to's Garry Parrish, the Big East leads the way with 8 teams: Georgetown, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Villanova, West Virginia, Connecticut, Louisville, and Notre Dame. Syracuse and Providence are currently sitting on the fence with identical 6-3 records. Notre Dame opponents and Big 12 counterparts, Baylor (11th seed) and Kansas State (9th seed) both made the field of 65.

With the way the Irish have been playing as of late, my prediction of 22 wins is definitely achieveable and hopefully surpassed! Parrish's field is strong with the usual suspects: #1 seeds Memphis (south), North Carolina (east), Kansas (midwest), and Texas (west). Georgetown (2 seed), Marquette (3 seed), and Pittsburgh (4 seed) are the tops in the Big East. In fact, the Big 12, ACC, and the Big East each have three teams seeded in the top four.

What's more interesting is what possible #5 seeds the Irish could face in the NCAA Tournament if it ended today. Currently, Parrish has Indiana, Vanderbilt, Villanova, and Oregon as his potential candidates. Wouldn't it be something if the Irish faced the Hoosiers in the first round.

Here's Parrish's Projected Field by Seeds:

1. Memphis, North Carolina, Kansas, Texas
2. Georgetown, Washington St., UCLA, Duke
3. Michigan St., Texas A&M, Marquette, BYU
4. Xavier, Pittsburgh, Clemson, Tennessee
5. Indiana, Vanderbilt, Villanova, Oregon
6. Gonzaga, Butler, Arizona, Southern California
7. Dayton, Rhode Island, Arkansas, Miami
8. West Virginia, Stanford, UConn, St. Mary's (CA)
9. Louisville, Wisconsin, Kansas St., Southern Illinois
10. Boston College, California, Missouri, Virginia
11. Ohio St., George Mason, Baylor, Florida St.
12. Florida, Creighton, Notre Dame, Western Kentucky
13. Davidson, Miami (OH), Nevada, Sam Houston St.
14. Winthrop, Belmont, Holy Cross, Hampton
15. Siena, Austin Peay, UC-Santa Barbara, Oral Roberts
16. Maryland-Baltimore County, Montana State, Robert Morris

Opening Round Game: Cornell vs. Alabama St.

Once the New Year comes around, the Irish will be going full-throttle on their way towards a second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. This time it will not be a one and done performance. You can count on that!

Note: Notre Dame opponents are in Italics

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