It wasn't pretty, but the Irish solidified an NCAA bid and a Big East bye on a day they had very little to gain and a lot to lose. Syracuse's loss made the win insignificant in terms of seeding, but a loss would have reflected poorly to the Committee. A Louisville loss is the only possibility of the Irish moving up in the BET at this point.
73-66. It's official. Congrats to Mike Brey for his best regular season at Notre Dame.
Tory Jackson had a very nice game controlling the offense today. Six points, all from the line, with 9 assists for the freshman guard in a very slowly paced matchup.
Colin Falls scored 22 to lead all players. Five of ten from three-point range. Three rebounds, solid from the charity stripe.
Russell Carter with 17. 5 rebounds, including 4 offensive. Good job crashing the boards even though his offensive output was overshadowed by Falls. Did make a couple very nice dunks.
Kurz and Harangody received 4 fouls pretty early, but still stayed active. Rob scored 13 with 6 rebounds. Bamm-Bamm only scored ten, but did a very good job on defense down low with no fouls to spare. He had the presence of mind to keep both hands straight up and hold his ground, forcing Rutgers players to re-direct shots, and never picked up foul #5.
Off the bench, Hillesland with eight boards. Four personals for him as well. Not much scoring from the subs, although Ayers did hit a three.
Kudos to Adrian Hill for a great game in the loss. 16 points/18 rebounds.
Regular season is in the books, finishing with a 5 game winning streak. I was a little nervous about today's game, because Rutgers had nothing to lose and the Irish plenty. Still, it was a solid win against an outmatched opponent. That's the way you end the regular season.
An at-large bid is all but sewn up and the Irish can now play solely for seeding. That should ease the hearts of ND fans everywhere. From here on in, Brey and the boys can play pretty loose, with nothing to lose. Think of it as a double-elimination tournament. ND can try to win as many games as possible in the Garden, even make a run for the Championship. A loss, however, is not season ending.
As it stands, a second round with UCONN/Syracuse looks to be a good possibility. Either would pose a threat, but Notre Dame should be favored. No matter what, the tournament will be set after the Louisville/Seton Hall game. Pull for the Pirates.