Saturday, February 27, 2010

Where does Notre Dame now sit on the bubble

Before Luke Haragody got hurt, Notre Dame was in a tough place in regards to the bubble.

A weak non-conference schedule combined with a couple of questionable losses (Loyola Marymount, Northwestern, Rutgers) is not the way to go about impressing the NCAA Tournament committee.

After Gody went down, Notre Dame proceeded to lose three straight games - at Seton Hall, St. John's at home, and at Louisville in double overtime. I don't think there was a single bubble "expert" on the internet that still gave Notre Dame a chance to play their way in.

Carleton Scott had 17 points on 7-10 shooting for the Irish.
(photo credit: WaPo)

Well, beating two top 25 teams in the span of four days can sway quite a few people.

The win over Georgetown put the Irish at 2-7 against the RPI top 25 and 4-9 against the top 50. They came into the game with an RPI of 72, which will no doubt improve once this win is factored in. By no means is Notre Dame a lock for the tournament, but they certainly are in a much better place today than they were on Tuesday.

Not many teams can say that they own wins over West Virginia, Pitt, and at Georgetown.

More than anything, however, the Irish passed the eye test this week. After thoroughly dominating Pitt at home, Notre Dame beat Georgetown in DC 78-64. Without Haragody, and with Abromaitis struggling. Ben Hansbrough and Carleton Scott both stepped up big time for the Irish, but the reason I say that the Irish passed the eye test is that they did two things very well today that they generally struggle with.

The Irish missed 21 shots against Georgetown, but grabbed 12 offensive rebounds (they got 10 of their 11 first half misses). They also played better defensively. True, Georgetown shot over 50% from the floor and had more assists than turnovers, but the Irish made a couple key steals leading directly to layups and they executed their game plan to perfection -- taking away three point shooters and making it tough for Monroe inside, going 1-on-1.

The Irish are guaranteed three more games - UConn at home, Marquette on the road, and the first round of the Big East Tournament. I'm of the thinking that the Irish need to beat both the huskies and the Golden Eagles and win their first game in the Big East Tournament if they want to get in.

If the Irish do make the tournament, they are going to be a tough out.

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