Notre Dame Tournament Resume: Irish Not Done Yet
The last time Notre Dame took the court (Monday, Feb. 17) we saw sophomore forward Nate Laszewski knocking down a game-winning triple to beat North Carolina. Even though the Tar Heels are struggling it was a much-needed victory for the Irish. Notre Dame doesn’t get back on the court until Sunday when the Irish host Miami.
Notre Dame and its short bench needed this break, and the Irish have an opportunity to regroup in hopes of finishing strong. Notre Dame sits at 16-10 overall and 7-8 in the ACC, which ties the Irish for sixth in the league. Notre Dame’s tournament hopes are on life support, but they aren’t dead.
A strong finish to the season, which would need to include at least one league tournament victory, could be enough to get the Irish one of the last tournament bids.
Before diving into their current NET resume, let’s look at what is left on the Irish schedule.
Notre Dame is currently tied for sixth in the ACC along with Syracuse, Clemson and Georgia Tech. The Irish are just a half game up on Boston College, who defeated Notre Dame early in league play.
If the Irish go 4-1 to finish the season it will finish with 20 overall wins (20-11) and will have a winning record in league play (11-9). The ACC is considered down this season, so simply having a winning record in conference play doesn’t lock the Irish in like it might have in past seasons, but it would certainly give the Irish a great deal of late-season momentum and a more impressive resume.
Notre Dame is just a game behind NC State, who beat the Irish 73-68 back in January. The Wolfpack are fresh off an 88-66 beatdown of Duke, a team that dominated the Irish in its previous game. NC State hosts No. 8 Florida State on Saturday before heading out to North Carolina, who is scuffling. On March 2nd the Wolfpack have to go to Duke, and the Blue Devils will be looking for payback.
The point is if Notre Dame goes 4-1 and the Wolfpack lose to Florida State and Duke the Irish and Wolfpack would tie for fifth in the conference standings. If the Irish run the table in this scenario, or if NC State also gets upset by a team like North Carolina or Pittsburgh, then Mike Brey’s squad would have sole possession of fifth place in league play.
Notre Dame hosts Miami (14-12 / 6-10) and Virginia Tech (15-11 / 6-9) and must travel to Boston College (13-14 / 7-9) and Wake Forest (11-15 / 4-12). Those are all winnable games, and if Notre Dame wants to get an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament it must win those games.
There is one “big game” left on the regular season schedule. Notre Dame hosts Florida State (22-4 / 12-3) on March 4th, and beating the Seminoles would be a tremendous resume builder for Notre Dame. It would give the Irish a second quadrant one victory (see below).
Should Notre Dame run the table - which won’t be easy - it would mean the Irish finish the regular season on a 10-2 run, losing road games to Duke and Virginia.
THE RESUME - WHERE THINGS STAND
Overall Record: 16-10
ACC Record: 7-8
Net Rank: 61
A team’s schedule is broken into four quadrants, with quadrant one being the best teams that hold the most value and quadrant four being the least valuable wins.
Quadrant 1 (Home: 1-30 / Neutral: 1-50 / Away: 1-75)
Quadrant 2 (H: 31-75 / N: 51-100 / A: 76-135)
Quadrant 3 (H: 76-160 / N: 101-200 / A: 136-240)
Quadrant 4 (H: 161+ / N: 201+ / A: 241+)
There are two positives when looking at Notre Dame's resume. The first is three quadrant 1/2 road wins. The other is that Notre Dame has been very competitive in its losses. Notre is 3-9 against quadrant 1/2 teams, but six of those losses were by five points or less. Should Notre Dame finish strong and finally start winning those games it will likely impact the committee in a positive manner.
Notre Dame has one quadrant one game left in the regular season (Florida State)
Notre Dame has one quadrant two game left in the regular season (at Wake Forest)
Net - NCAA Evaluation Tool
KPI - Key Performance Indicators
SOR - ESPN’s strength of record
BPI - ESPN basketball power index
POM - KenPom rankings
SAG - Sagarin rankings