Notre Dame, once written off, look like NCAA Tournament lock now

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When best player Tim Abromaitis went down for the season, Notre Dame was totally written off for the entire college basketball season. Instead, they’ve had a true Ewing Theory going on, just like they did in 2010 when star forward Luke Harangody got injured and missed a lot of games down the stretch.

The Fighting Irish were written off by everyone after some bad losses in November and December. Yet here they are today, among the best teams in the Big East, and a team that beat four ranked opponents in January alone.

Here’s what ESPN.com Bracketology creator Joe Lunardi offered Wednesday (before the Irish men’s basketball win over West Virginia last night):

“Let’s get our Irish up, as in the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. No team in America has enjoyed a greater transformation between the nonconference portion of the season and league play. And no team has seen itself rise up the Seed Curve quite like Notre Dame.

In less than a month, the Fighting Irish have gone from an NCAA whisper (Nonconference RPI 165, Nonconference SOS 209) to a full-throated shout. At 7-3 in the Big East, Notre Dame is approaching near-lock status for Selection Sunday.

Its conference-only RPI is No. 7 in the country, which may be a comment on the Big East, but it is primarily a statement for Mike Brey as conference — and maybe national — coach of the year. Yes, the Irish got Syracuse when the Orange were without Fab Melo. But they’ve also won at Louisville, Seton Hall (before the Pirates collapsed) and UConn. And they hammered a very good Marquette team in South Bend. If the Irish play .500 ball the rest of the way — an achievable goal considering their remaining schedule — they are going to the NCAA tournament and will complete a truly remarkable in-season turnaround.”

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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