It’s been an up-and-down last five weeks for Mike Brey’s Notre Dame basketball team, but he’s hopeful the Fighting Irish will get hot in the postseason beginning later this week in the Big East Tournament.
Notre Dame’s record of 23-8 is somewhat disappointing when you consider it started the season 14-1. Since that hot start, the Irish have gone just 9-7, but got a really favorable draw in the conference tournament.
Notre Dame will head to the Big Apple as the tournament’s No. 6 seed, meaning the Irish will get a first-round bye before opening play Wednesday night against the winner of the Rutgers–DePaul game in the No. 11-No. 14-seed game.
Assuming Notre Dame wins its opening game, it will face No. 3-seed Marquette on Thursday night.
Looking even further down the road, a date with Louisville in the semifinals could be waiting on Friday night with No. 1-seed Georgetown possibly in the championship game Saturday if the seeds hold.
Overall the Big East Tournament has not been overly kind to the Irish, who are only 9-17 all-time in the event.
Notre Dame has won eight of those nine games under Brey while suffering 12 setbacks. The Irish have never advanced to the finals after getting to the semifinals five times (2002, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012). It’s worth noting that Notre Dame is the only Big East team to advance to the league semifinals in each of the last three seasons.
This year’s Big East Tournament will have plenty of sentimental value. As it stands, Connecticut, Cincinnati and South Florida are the only holdovers not committed to either the new “Big East” or another conference.
Like the aforementioned, Notre Dame would love to leave NYC next weekend after hoisting the Big East Tournament championship trophy. It appears to be a fairly wide open tournament although Georgetown, along with Louisville, will be the prohibitive favorite. The Hoyas have won 12 of their last 13 games and are in the hunt for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Getting past Marquette in the quarterfinals won’t be easy, but there’s no reason to think this veteran Irish squad won’t be playing Louisville on Friday.
Doug Griffiths is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association. Doug is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ISLgriffiths and Facebook.