Why Notre Dame Will Win The Southwest
By Guest Blogger Brian Murphy:
I will now give reasons as to why the Fightin’ Irish of Notre Dame will win the Southwest Bracket and march on to the Final Four.
Notre Dame finished the season ranked #5 and was one team away from getting that coveted #1 seed for the NCAA Tournament. The Irish fell short to Lousiville in the Big East Tournament in overtime after winning 12 of their last 13 Big East games, including beating #2 (now #4) Pitt on the road. Funny enough, if Louisville can make a run in the top half of the Southwest Bracket, the Irish could face them again in the Southwest Bracket championship.
Notre Dame is led by Big East Player of the Year Ben Hansbrough and if ND wants to make a deep run in this tournament, Ben has to continue to play hot. Tim Abromaitis provides some great long range for a forward and can shoot the ball from all over the court. Just like the traditional successful tournament Irish teams of the past, this team lives and dies by the three ball. They have some amazing 3-point shooters and we all know how important that three point shot is in college basketball. If they can manage to drain some “treys” without getting cold, the Irish will definitely make a run.
Mike Brey’s squad open up against the 15-seed Akron, who should pose no threat for Notre Dame. However, this is the NCAA Tournament and anything can happen. The second round would be against FSU or Texas A&M who are great teams, but not as good as ND. The potential Sweet 16 match-up will be difficult. It could be Georgetown who ND beat handily early in the year. Since then, the Hoyas have really gotten better so it would be a very interesting Big East showdown. Purdue could be the other Sweet 16 match-up and I think Notre Dame would not struggle in this battle of Indiana. Both G’Town and Purdue could get bounced early to some scary higher seeds which would make Notre Dame’s road to the Elite 8 a lot more manageable.
For Notre Dame to beat what could be Kansas in the Southwest Bracket championship, they need to stress their hussle on defense and light up the basket from beyond the arc. Big man play down low for ND will be a crucial key in containing the opponent and also working the high-low to open up some outside shots. If Notre Dame gets hot this tournament and rides some outstanding performances by Hansbrough and Co., watch out for the Final Four and possibly even the National Championship!
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