After losing seven straight games, and plummeting to a 13-10 record including 3-7 in conference play, Notre Dame did not look like a team poised to make a late-season run. However, after a 96-85 home win over Boston College on Tuesday night, and a favorable schedule ahead, Notre Dame can close the season strong in search of a tournament berth.
With seven games remaining in the regular season and Notre Dame sitting at 14-10, they most likely need to go 5-2 to give themselves a chance to make the tournament, assuming 20 wins would get them in. In that case, they would have to win a game in the ACC Tournament.
On the other hand, if the Irish go 6-1 or 7-0 during the stretch, a win in the ACC Tournament would only be a bonus, but still huge for their resume.
In their last seven regular-season games, Notre Dame has three home and four road games. At home, they play Florida State, the 25th ranked Miami Hurricanes and Pittsburgh. They travel to face 21st ranked North Carolina, Boston College, Wake Forest, and 2nd ranked Virginia.
I see Notre Dame finishing 5-2 down the stretch and putting themselves in a good position for a tournament bid with a 19-12 overall record and a 9-9 record in conference play.
Earlier this year, head coach Mike Brey told NCAA.com regarding their tournament chances after Bonzie Colson’s injury, “If we could get this thing to 9-9 or 8-10 in the ACC and get to Brooklyn and do something then you’re in the discussion. That may be all we can get. We’ve still got to get to be .500 in this league then this team would have resume wins without him.’’
Brey’s statement may hold true come Selection Sunday, and if it does it is a true credit to the ACC as a whole. In my opinion, it is an extremely competitive league that forces every team to be ready to play on a nightly basis, whether at home or on the road.
Point guards T.J. Gibbs and Matt Farrell, as well as big man Martinas Geben, will be key for the Irish if they look to continue to be successful as the regular season winds down. Usually, when those three play well, good things happen for Mike Brey and the Irish. In their 96-85 victory over Boston College in their most recent contest, Gibbs finished the game with 28 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists, while Farrell had 19 points and 7 assists, and Geben chipped in 16 points to go along with 11 rebounds.
If Gibbs, Farrell, and Geben play like they did against Boston College, then Notre Dame can without a doubt go at least 5-2 in their final seven games, giving themselves a chance to prove themselves worthy of a spot in the NCAA Tournament when they travel to Brooklyn to play in the ACC Tournament.
Trivia Question: What is Notre Dame’s all-time record in ACC Tournament games?
Reply back in the comments section below with an answer, and I will tell you if you are correct.