Thursday, November 01, 2007

Season Preview

Tomorrow the 2007-08 campaign begins. Time to break down the schedule:

N 02 St. Ambrose (Ex.)- W
N 07 St. Edwards (Ex.)- W
N 12 LIU- W
N 16 Monmouth (PJ)- W
N 17 Baylor/WSU (PJ)- W
N 19 TBD (PJ)- L
N 24 Youngstown State- W
N 26 Colgate- W
D 01 Eastern Michigan- W
D 04 vs. Kansas St. (JVC)- L
D 08 Northern Illinois- W
D 22 San Francisco- W
D 29 Brown- W
D 31 North Florida- W
J 03 West Virginia- W
J 05 Connecticut- W
J 12 @ Marquette- L
J 15 Cincinnati- W
J 19 @ Georgetown- L
J 26 @ Villanova- L
J 31 Providence- W
F 02 DePaul- W
F 06 @ Seton Hall- W
F 09 Marquette- W
F 13 @ Connecticut- L
F 17 @ Rutgers- W
F 21 Pittsburgh- L
F 24 Syracuse- W
F 28 @ Louisville- L
M 02 @ DePaul- W
M 05 St. John's- W
M 08 @ South Florida- W

Overall- 22-8
Non-Conference- 10-2
Conference- 12-6

I really tried to be unbiased about this and I feel this is a very realistic view of how the season could map out. A little on the hopeful side, as we could drop a couple more Big East home games, but overall a good picture of the year to come.

No tests until the Paradise Jam. That will be interesting, but two wins in three games shouldn't be too much to hope for. Maye the Irish could win three and take home the trophy, but let's be humble.

After that, a neutral site game against Kansas St. provides the next test. The Wildcats are a contender for the NCAAs. O.J. Mayo's old buddy Bill Walker is back, but coach Bob Huggins won't be after taking the job at West Virginia. Hands-down this will be the toughest scheduled nonconference matchup for Notre Dame. A win will set the tone for a very good year, a bad loss could derail preseason hopes. I split the difference and am calling it a close defeat for the Irish.

Two home wins to start 2008. First Huggins and the Mountaineers, then Connecticut. A rough stretch of three road games in four looks to be the first sustained challenge for this team. If they can go 2-2 from Marquette to Villanova, I'd be ecstatic.

Providence to home against Marquette should help. We will need big crowds in all three home games. Providence will provide a challenge, but both DePaul and Marquette will fill the visitors' section. I'm predicting we beat the #3 team in the conference to avenge an earlier loss.

Split the next five. Away at UCONN and Louisville doesn't look good, but Pitt and Syracuse at home are equally as difficult. We could lose one or both of those games to break the winning streak.

DePaul, St. John's, and South Florida should help Notre Dame finish with a bang.

If it plays out like that, the Irish should be in contention for another Big East Tourney bye. Either way, a win or two in the BET solidifies a top 4 NCAA seed. At least, 22 wins puts the Irish in 5-6 range. If we stumble a little more and drop to 20 wins over the whole year, an at-large big should still be in hand. 19 or less and the team is on the bubble.

Things look up, and they should. Looking forward to seeing the team full-speed tomorrow night. Big East preview coming this weekend. Until then, happy All Saints' Day.

No comments: