After a loss at the Rock to a then surging Seton Hall team, Mike Brey learned that he had lost Luke Harangody for the rest of the Big East slate. To add to the Irish woes, they laid goose eggs against the bottom-dwellers of the Big East, St. John's and Rutgers.
Fast forward a few weeks, and to all of our surprise, Brey has his team slotted as a 6 seed in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament. Yes, the Big Dance.
- Ready to kick their tourney run off on Thursday at 12:25 PM EST, the Irish will face an intriguing Old Dominion squad. The Monarchs feature a team of long, athletic players who love to play hard-nosed defense (5th in the nation, allowing 57.1 ppg) and crash the offensive boards (4th in the nation, 15.2 opg). Led by F Gerald Lee (14.6 ppg, 5 rpg), this Virginian-bred squad will give the Irish all they can handle on the defensive end, but will have to find a way to score more effectively if they are to pull off the classic 11-6 upset.
- Luckily for the Irish, Old Dominion struggles with the three (31.6%) and free-throw shooting (64.5%)-two crucial aspects of a successful tournament team. The final outcome will most likely be dictated by who can control the basketball, score effectively, and most importantly, who can win the rebounding battle. This is shaping up to be a 55-possession game for each time, so turnovers and mistakes must be held to a minimum in order for victory for the Irish.
- Although the Irish have the higher seed doesn't mean they are the favorite in this one. Digital Sports Daily picks the Monarchs based off of Old Dominion's rebounding ability.
- Thanks to Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports, the Irish are getting some love from most experts regardless. Some even have Brey's squad finding themself in a regional matchup with fellow Big East member Villanova in the third round.
- If you haven't checked it out yet (which is highly unlikely), "Barack"-etology has Notre Dame advancing to the second round, losing to Butler after beating the Monarchs. I guess that controversial commencement speech really turned Obama away from Our Lady.