The students received their tickets today, so that makes it official: basketball season is back in South Bend.
Black and Green returns for its third year. I am certainly looking forward to joining you for the ride over the next five months. With a much improved football team this season, the hoops squad will stay under the radar until January, but that's not the end of the world. A trip to Maui will make this nonconference schedule rather interesting before the normal December lull. The new year brings Big East action and all the excitement that comes with it.
Its good to be back.
Predicted wins in BOLD
O31 BRIAR CLIFF (Ex.) 9pm
N09 STONEHILL (Ex.) 2pm
Exhibition games are good for playing with lineups and giving redshirts and transfers a chance to play (Carleton Scott got some action last year and I believe Scott Martin and Ben Hansbrough will be eligible for these games, not certain on that though), but don't make for exciting basketball.
N16 USC UPSTATE 7:30pm
N21 at Loyola Marymount
Raise your hand if you had heard of USC Upstate. Raise both if you knew they played D1 basketball. Now, stop lying. That's South Carolina Upstate, the team that only beat dreadful North Florida (a Notre Dame opponent last year) by one. Loyola Marymount is even worse.
N24 vs Indiana (Maui) 5:30pm ESPN2
N25 TBA (Maui)
N26 TBA (Maui)
This will be tough to predict. Tom Crean is a very good coach who we know well and might start playing every year in a nonconference series. Fortunately, IU is so decimated by Kelvin Sampson's departure that they return one varsity player. The Hoosiers are expected to finish last in the Big Ten. If we win, it'll probably mean a date with Texas. I'll give us a loss there or against North Carolina in the final, finishing 2-1 on the trip.
N30 FURMAN 2pm
D02 SOUTH DAKOTA 7:30pm
A team in the upper 200s and a squad entering D1 hoops. Two wins.
D06 vs Ohio State (Indy) 4pm ESPNU
Like Kansas State last year, the team has to show it can win against a solid, if not great, opponent on a neutral court. Good practice for the Tournament.
D13 BOSTON U 7pm
D20 DELAWARE STATE 7pm
D22 SAVANNAH STATE 7pm
Quick sidenote, I've won multiple national championships playing as Boston U. in EA Sports' NCAA March Madness series. This isn't a video game. Irish win all three easily to get ready for conference play.
D31 at DePaul 8pm
J03 at St. John's
J05 GEORGETOWN 7pm ESPN
J10 SETON HALL
J12 at Louisville 7pm ESPN
J17 at Syracuse Noon ESPN
J24 CONNECTICUT 7pm ESPN
J26 MARQUETTE 7pm ESPN
J31 at Pittsburgh 7pm ESPN
F04 at Cincinnati
F07 at UCLA 1pm CBS
F12 LOUISVILLE 7pm ESPN/2
F15 SOUTH FLORIDA
F18 at West Virginia 7:30pm ESPN2
F21 at Providence
F28 at Connecticut 4pm CBS
M02 VILLANOVA 7pm ESPN
M06 ST. JOHN'S
I'll break down the individual Big East games in my conference preview before that part of the season starts.
Predicted Record- 25-5 (15-3)
I have the Irish undefeated at home again this year, but that could easily change with Louisville and Connecticut visiting. For now, I'll say we get the split in both of those home-and-home series.
Overall, I would be extremely happy with 25 wins. More realistically, the team trips up a couple more times but still secures one of the top four spots in the Big East. Lots of difficult opponents are padded by cupcakes (what's wrong with just playing a few decent mid-majors each year?), which will provide tests away from the JACC, but not much excitement at home until the Big East starts. Nonetheless, it should be a lot of fun to follow this team.
Also, an interesting article on the new three point line. A few people have asked about how it will impact the Irish. Tom Crean says it will be beneficial for Notre Dame.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
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I've actually heard of USC-Upstate and knew they made the jump to D1, but only because I live in the Carolinas and follow college basketball far too fanatically.
I think if the basketball team upsets UNC, they won't fly under the radar all the way to January.
We have a winner! USC-Upstate, located in Spartanburg, SC, is home to the Spartans. How clever. In all seriousness, there is some interesting history in the college town that also is home to Wofford, a former ND opponent.
And I think you make a good point about an upset against UNC. If we win it all in Maui, capping off the run with an upset of the Tarheels, some first place votes nationally will follow.
... as they should.
I don't think Zack will be 100% though, so I'm tempering my expectations.
Am really looking forward to some ND hoops this year. Consistancy will be the key...if our guys can play with consistancy we should compete with anyone.
I love your analysis - but just a quick tip - its almost impossible to distinguish between bold and not bold with this color scheme. How about using a different color instead of bold.
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