Lose in the First Round- We accomplished a lot this year, but it was all for naught again. Losing to George Mason would be even more disappointing than last season's exit due to the poor showing in NYC and higher expectations. While it was great to just make the tournament last year, this team is should do more.
Lose in the Second Round (Washington State)- Not great, not awful if it is a close game. Losing to a team with a higher seed is expected, but still tough to stomach. Will be a bitter end to the year, but won't ruin all the joys of the regular season. Will hopefully inspire next year's team to a Sweet 16 run or deeper.
Lose in the Second Round (Winthrop)- Same as above, but a little tougher to watch. Would involve another exit to the lower seeded Eagles and be especially rough after last season. Still would make the year a general success and keep up expectations for next year.
Advance to the Second Weekend or Further- Great job by all involved getting over the hump of a poor BET showing and finishing the year the way they should. While a lopsided loss to Carolina or another top 10 team would be a tough way to end the year, still would be a great way to send off Rob Kurz. Will be restless until the team begins play next season after what would be an overall successful year.
Scenario #1 is a step back of sorts, the program stalls after two great regular seasons. Coach Brey needs to show much more in the postseason after providing a pair of strong campaigns. A deep run in the BET and NCAAs in '09 would be required to take away the sting of two embarrassing first round exits.
Scenario #2 and #3 are solid, but not steps forward. Finish off the year as expected and will start next season as a top 20 program. However, deeper runs in March are required to take the Irish to the next level.
Scenario #4 shows improvement for the program. Next year will be the third year of a rebuilding project that started in 06/07. Hopes will be soaring as Harangody continues to improve and the senior class looks to go out with a bang.
Obviously, scenario #4 is preferable. I'll take a 1-1 record and be satisfied with the entire body of work, but this team can accomplish much more. Anything less than survival until Saturday is unacceptable.