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Rankings Roundup: Entering the Home Stretch

With just three games left in the regular season, see how the Irish stack up with the rest of the country.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Ranking AP Poll Coaches Poll ESPN Power Ranking RPI BPI KenPom SBN Bracketology Palm Lunardi
Last Week 19th 18th 16th 20th 20th 25th 5 Seed 5 Seed 5 Seed
This Week 23rd 20th 23rd 26th 21st 23rd 5 seed 7 Seed 6 Seed

While there's little difference between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish place in the human and computer polls, the three bracketologies have a wide range of seeds projected for the Irish. Despite the loss at Georgia Tech, the Irish stayed in both the AP and Coaches polls which were released on Monday before the Irish win at Wake Forest. The Irish fell seven spots in ESPN's power ranking, but are still ranked there as well (again, this was released before the WF win). The loss to GT dropped the Irish in the RPI a few spots, and the win over Wake didn't help much due to their 125+ RPI ranking. That said, the Irish should get a boost from their remaining games. Miami (7), Florida State (76), and NC State (99) are all top 100 opponents. A nice finish to the season could vault the Irish into the top-20 in the RPI before facing even more tough competition in DC during the ACC Tournament.

The BPI and KenPom didn't change significantly, but the components going into the Pomeroy rating did change quite a bit. The Irish offense has come back to the back after struggling to score against both Georgia Tech and Wake Forest. Both games were in the bottom three this season on a points per possession basis. As such, while the Irish are still the most efficient offense in the country, Duke has narrowed the gap to just 1.9 points per 100 possessions down from 3.3. That said, the Irish actually improved their overall KenPom ranking because of their success on defense. The performance against Wake Forest was the best Irish defensive effort against an ACC team this season (Boston College does not count as an ACC team). ND was also better than their season average against Georgia Tech on the defensive end as well. As such, the Irish have moved from 231st in the country on defense to 190th in the span of a week. Last season's Irish squad made a similar move up the defensive charts at the tail end of the conference slate, although they were starting from a better position. If Notre Dame can keep turning up the defensive effort down the stretch, they'd have enough balance to make another deep run in both post season tournaments.

The NCAA Tournament projections are all different  this week. SB Nation's bracketology projects the Irish as a 5 seed heading to Denver. The other teams in the pod are Utah (4), St. Mary's (12), and Stony Brook (13). Despite being a the five seed, the Irish have a higher KenPom ranking than the Utes (27), the Gaels (39), and Seawolves (56). Lunardi, ESPN's bracketologist, has the Irish facing Temple, and then the winner of a game between Maryland and UNCW. Interestingly, despite being a higher seed, Temple looks to be a much easier opponent (KenPom 86) than St. Mary's. That said, the following round matchup would be much more difficult as Maryland (KenPom 20) is a stronger opponent than Utah. Lastly, Palm from CBS sees the Irish heading to Spokane where they would face Seton Hall in an interesting matchup between former Big East members. The second round matchup would be Oregon unless they slipped up against 15 seed New Mexico State. While it would stink to drop to the seven line, Oregon wouldn't be a horrible matchup. They're only 19th in KenPom, and are similar to the Irish in that have an ELITE offense (12th adj O) and less impressive defense (72nd adj D). Against Duke, Indiana, UNC and Iowa, teams with similar profiles, ND has had quite a bit of success going 3-1 with the only loss coming after leading most of the way against the Hoosiers. If they Irish slip up down the stretch, facing Oregon in the second round wouldn't be a terrible punishment.