like M wins this hands down. where's the debate?
I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
Alright, I still intend on breaking down the roster of the more historically accurate brackets and where they place Michigan as we head into the final week of the regular season. However, something called a job got in the way of serious bracket crunching this afternoon. I'll spend some time tonight sorting through more mock brackets.
However, allow me a few words to prepare you for basketball action tonight as it pertains the the bubble. It won't take long. There's only one game of true import. But, its a biggie.
Nineteen days ago, the Irish sat at 12-10, losers of seven games in a row. Five of those losses were by double digits. Staying above .500 looked like it would be a challenge, let alone any hopes for the Big Dance. Nobody was playing defense, and, only one could score.
Rather surprisingly, the Irish picked themselves off the mat and, as March starts, according to some, have a fairly manageable road map into the NCAA Tournament. I guess that's what wins in four of six games, including dominating efforts against Louisville and at Providence can do for you, especially in a weak bubble year.
For example, lets turn our eyes to Bracketology 101. Why him? The folks at the Bracket Matrix claim B101 to be the most accurate mock bracketologist over the last three years. He already has Notre Dame in the field. Forecasting tonight as the start of a four game winning streak, B101 has the Irish on the 12 line right now. If that winning streak comes to fruition, expect Notre Dame in the field when pairings are officially announced in two weeks.
After their game tonight, the Irish close the season Friday night in South Bend, against league lightweight St. John's. As the Big East Tournament bracket projects right now, the Irish would open with Rutgers. A win advances them to a 7 vs 10 game against the Syracuse Orangemen. That's the road map that conventional wisdom figures Notre Dame has to navigate in order to get an at large.
Villanova and Syracuse are challenging bookends, but, considering this team was dead in the water less than three weeks ago, Irish fans have to be happy about the fact they're still alive and kicking, right? I mean, they'll be favored to win the first three games of this closing kick, so things are just ducky in DomerVille, correct? Um, not so much. Some are too busy raking Mike Brey over the coals for coaching a team with such promise into such a shaky bubble position with a week to go in the season.
Notre Dame fans think they have coaching problems, but perhaps they should be thankful they dont have Viilanova head man Jay Wright pulling the strings. His violations against Nova Nation have been enumerated in the Wildcats ugly demise against Georgetown over the weekend.
One thing I do know is that the final 10 minutes of that game on Saturday rivalled anything as ugly we've seen come out of the Big 10 this year. That includes that 38-33 classic that Penn St and Illinois spit at us a few weeks ago. At least in the game, some folks scored clutch buckets down the stretch. The Hoyas and Wildcats were stuck at 52-50 for much of the final five minutes of the game with the Hoyas chucking up air balls, which the Wildcats matched with hurried and careless turnovers.
Maybe the Wildcats are beginning the run out of gas. From what I saw out of them over the weekend, plenty of doubt exists that they can go into South Bend tonight and put an end to the Irish threat. In fact, I expect the Irish to cover the -2.5 this evening and do so emphatically.
Let's quickly compare the resumes of Notre Dame and Michigan as it stands now:
Notre Dame, 16-12, 7-9
Best wins: Texas, Georgetown, Louisville and Providence
Bad losses: at St John's......otherwise, the Irish have not lost to a club that's not either in the field or strongly competing for a bid.
W/L vs RPI: top 25, 1-7; 26-50, 2-3; 51-100, 1-1
Michigan, 18-11, 8-9
Best wins: UCLA, Duke, Illinois, Minnesota, Penn State, Purdue.
Bad losses: at Iowa. Probably not as damning as losing to the Johnnies.
W/L vs RPI: top 25, 3-5; 26-50, 3-4; 51-100, 4-2
Compare and contrast those resumes. Play it forward with ND winning four straight, then losing in the Big East quarterfinals. The Irish would be 20-13, with wins over Villanova and Syracuse (likely) added to their resume along the way. If Michigan takes care of business and gets as far as the Big 10 quarterfinals, they would have an identical 20-13 and add a second win--on the road, no less--against Minnesota.
Whose resume is better in each situation? Is there room for both Notre Dame and UM in this field? What if ND advances an extra round, beyond the above road map, in their league tournament and Michigan does not?
like M wins this hands down. where's the debate?
If Notre Dame wins 4 in a row, it adds 2 quality wins (late in the season no less) and is one of the teams that "no one wants to play" If that happens, are they really worse than a Michigan team that had an decent, but not great end to the season. Furthermore, the Big East is, at worst, the competitive equivalent of the Big Ten (conference RPI nonwithstanding), and at best, a superconference that is impossible to survive. So 8-10 in the BE (what Notre Dame would be if that scenario plays out) could equal 9-9 in the Big Ten. I still think M wins the debate, but it's close.
HOWEVA, a loss by Notre Dame tonight makes the argument irrelevant.
You should get TomVH status, or at least start your own blog. Best stuff on M bball out there, man.
I agree on the getting your blog, I'm sure you would immediately have a following from the people who read you here. But regardless, thanks for all the updates, I've never followed 'Bracketology' this closely before.
So we assumed they'd win 4 straight, however it looks like they may be falling to Nova right now. So would they need to upset 'Cuse in the Big East Tourney to have a shot now essentially?
nd just loses...announcers seem like that was there last chance. cant see how they can make it now without going deep in the big east tourney...
Yeah, I think that's it for them. They're going to finish with a sub-.500 record in conference and their schedule was nowhere near the difficulty of G'town, plus that bad loss against St Johns.
Now let's keep seeing the other potential bubble contenders fall, and the one-bid conference champs that would/could make the tourney anyways need to whoop some ass in their conference tourneys. Among others, go Memphis, Butler, Creighton, Gonzaga, and Davidson!
It was during either the Texas/Baylor or ND/Nova game, but espn had Michigan and Minnesota as two of the last four teams out of the tourney.
If espn is close to be correct with that, it makes this weekends game huge. Barring a deep run in the big ten tourney the loser of the Michigan/Minnesota game could be out (of course that depends on what happens to other bubble teams and mid major conference tourneys).
By the slimmest of margins I am entertaining driving to Minny for this game. I took Monday and Tuesday off of work. Would have no one to go with, though. And there's the whole $$ thing.
It would be cool.
As weird as it is to say, I'm not sure that ND is completely out of the picture even with this loss to 'Nova. If they win the next 3 and play very competitively against Lousville in the BET semis (and I think they can win that game b/c Louisville simply doesn't hit its foul shots, and that deficiency seems to flare up in the tournaments), I'm not sure some pollsters wouldn't put them ahead of a UM team that gets knocked out in the second round of the BTT. Personally I think ND should be out, but it seems to me that highly-regarded teams in the preseason, such as G'Town, Baylor, and ND, receive more consideration than similar teams come tournament time.
It had been said that last night needed to start a four game win streak for ND to make the field.
But, what if that 4-game win streak begins Friday night? That will advance them in the semis, with the last 2 wins of that trek against Big East teams likely to get a bid.
They'll get to 20 wins and add 2 nice wins to their resume.....so, its not impossible for them to still earn at an large bid.
But, last night changed some things. Instead of needing 2 BE Tourney wins (against only one quality foe), ND now needs to win at least 3 BE tournament games, all on consecutive nights, with the final 2 being against strong competition.....and, in both of those games, ND foe will be coming off a bye.
I dont think the Irish have the chops to do that, but they are still in play, to some extent, next week.
Good points. I don't think ND will do it either, but stranger things have happened.
BTW, I agree you need your own blog - I have never cared this much about bracketology in my life.
Thanks folks for not only reading, but for all the kind words above.
I really love doing this and am thankful that Brian has provided this diary forum as its given me an opportunity to get back into writing and see if I am up to being a regular blogger.
If I ever get in gear and start my own blog, I am certain the words of encouragement above and from others in other threads will help push me forward.......but, until I start my own, I plan on using and abusing the Diary sections to keep yapping about March Madness.
Not only do I think you should have your own blog, but I will go further. One of the bigger injustices I have seen in the blogosphere is that Maurice Fucking Clarett has his own blog (which he runs from JAIL IN TOLEDO) and you don't have one yet.
For an example of Maurice's sterling prose and inspirational ideas, go to the Big House Blog for an excerpt. It will keep you from actually having to visit Clarett's blog, and you will probably get a great laugh or two from it.
It's not really an "injustice" - the only thing stopping Jamie from getting a blog (which he should) is...nothing. Heard of blogger?
wait a second...i feel like this is a bigger deal than some thread response...maurice clarett has a blog???? there is no way that its his. i can't believe it....
ESPN.com is saying it's his. He even gave a brief interview about it.
If there's any justice in this world, you'll be sprawled out dying somewhere and the doctor will refuse to save you because you are a Michigan fan.
Best. Insult. Ever.