Notre Dame Gets #2 Seed in NCAA Tournament Regional

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Many thought the Notre Dame Fighting Irish would get a #1 seed today, considering that they have won 12 of their last 14 college basketball games. Seven of those wins over teams selected for the 2011 NCAA bracket, and one of them is a road win over #1 seed Pittsburgh. However, the Irish fell to Louisville in the Big East Tournament, and failed to reach the conference tournament championship. (It would have been the first time in ND history).

Duke won the ACC Tournament, and grabbed the final #1 seed. The Irish received a #2 seed, its best since a #2 seed in 1981 when Notre Dame defeated James Madison in a second-round game and then fell 51-50 to BYU in a regional semifinal in Atlanta.

The Irish were last a #1 seed in 1979

-Notre Dame’s third-round Big East Tournament win over #25 Cincinnati by 38 points marked the second-largest victory margin in the history of the league championship tournament.

Notre Dame will take on #15 seed Akron (23-12 and the Mid-American Conference postseason tournament champion- automatic bid) Friday (March 18) in a second-round game in Chicago, Ill., at the United Center. If Notre Dame advances, they would take on the Texas A&M (#7 seed at 24-8)-Florida State (#10 seed at 21-10) winner in a third-round matchup.

The other games played in Chicago also feed into the Southwest Region: sixth-seeded Georgetown (21-10) versus the winner of USC (19-14)/Virginia Commonwealth (23-11) — and third-seeded Purdue (25-7) versus #14 St. Peter’s (20-13). The top four seeds in the Southwest (that NCAA regional will be played the following weekend in San Antonio) are #1 Kansas (32-2), #2 Notre Dame (26-6), #3 Purdue (25-7) and #4 Louisville (25-9).

The Irish previously have made six NCAA appearances in the Brey era:

— In 2010, the sixth-seeded Irish dropped a first-round South Region game 51-50 to #11 seed Old Dominion in New Orleans.

— In 2008, the fifth-seeded Irish defeated #12 George Mason 68-50 in a first-round game in Denver, before losing a second-round contest 61-41 to #4 Washington State.

— In 2007, the sixth-seeded Irish dropped a first-round Midwest Region game in Spokane to 11th-seeded Winthrop.

— In 2003, the fifth-seeded Irish defeated Wisconsin-Milwaukee in an NCAA first-round game and fourth-seeded Illinois in a second-round matchup (both in Indianapolis) before falling in a West Regional semifinal to top-seeded Arizona in Anaheim, Calif.

— In 2002, the eighth-seeded Irish men defeated Charlotte in the first round in Greenville, S.C., before falling to top-seeded Duke in the second round.

— In 2001, sixth-seeded Notre Dame defeated Xavier in the first round in Kansas City, Mo., before dropping a second-round game to third-seeded Ole Miss.

Notre Dame’s men are making their seventh NCAA visit in the 11-season Mike Brey era and the 31st in school history (30-34 record). The Irish played in the NCAA Final Four 33 seasons ago in 1978 in St. Louis.

The Irish are making their 12th straight postseason appearance (NIT in 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2009). That’s the best streak in Notre Dame history in that category — besting the next best run of nine straight from 1973 through 1981 (one NIT, then eight straight NCAAs).

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