It is not a good time for the Notre Dame basketball team right now. Gone are the happy-go-lucky days of making many 3-pointers. Those moments have been replaced with long faces and quiet locker rooms.
As a man named Heath Ledger would say if he were alive and wearing lots of makeup: Why so serious?
Well, what once seemed like a team that could at the very least play near the top of the Big East is looking like a team that can barely sneak past Boston University at home. Oh wait, that actually happened.
One thing is clear: Just because everyone thought the Big East was guaranteed at least eight or nine bids at the beginning of the season doesn’t mean it’s actually going to happen — and Notre Dame could be the unexpected team not to make it if it doesn’t get things together very quickly.
The Irish have lost four games in a row. That’s a problem, of course. It’s the exact kind of losing slide everyone knew could happen because the league is so tough but nobody wanted to even think about. Now it’s reality.
Aside: Want to know what the problem is? Nobody is hitting shots. Teams seem content to let Harangody get 25-15 and just dog the shooters. Case in point: In Monday’s game against Marquette, Harangody had 29 points and 17 boards while everyone else went 12-for-44 from the field. Guys who usually start, Ryan Ayers and Zach Hillesland, were a combined 0-for-10.
And if they want to make the NCAA Tournament, they’d better get it together in a hurry.
The next seven games include trips to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Providence and UCLA and home games against Louisville and South Florida.
Let’s throw out UCLA (although they could use that game since their RPI is ranked No. 75 according to ESPN.com, right between Northern Iowa and Western Kentucky) and just talk about the Big East. How many wins do you see there?
The only lock looks like South Florida. Pitt is almost a sure loss, West Virginia most likely is and Providence/Cincy are toss ups at best the way Notre Dame is playing. Same with Louisville at home (leaning toward loss).
This all doesn’t add up too well for a team that’s now 12-7 overall and 3-5 in the league, with two straight losses at home to boot.
Panic mode? Absolutely. The losing streak goes to five at Pitt on Saturday. From there the wins have to really start piling up in a hurry or they’ll be looking at hosting a first round NIT game.
Think about what the Selection Committee could be looking at: A team whose signature win is over Texas with a crappy RPI and a sub-.500 league record.
The way I see it: If they don’t finish .500 in the league they don’t have a shot. Remember those Syracuse teams that were on the outside looking in with a 10-6 league record because their non-conference sucked and as a result so did the RPI?
Yeah think about that. And then think about what it’d look like to see Notre Dame playing at MSG in early April or so if they can’t pull themselves to .500 in the conference.
I’m not saying it can’t happen. It certainly can. But after seeing how a team that was once ranked No. 7 in the country has fallen off so fast, one wonders if they can pull themselves up from the depths and make it happen.