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Bob’s Monday Thoughts: Irish get back to winning ways

After a four-game slide Notre Dame basketball is trending in the right direction

NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the NFL playoffs are over, we’re in a bit of a lull before March Madness, Major League Baseball, the NHL Playoffs and the NBA Playoffs all start. On this week’s version of Monday Thoughts I’m going pretty college basketball heavy.

The Irish are #back

After losing four straight games Notre Dame’s season looked to be headed off the rails. Its not that they were just losing, it was the way they were doing it. They weren’t playing the same way we saw them play to start 6-0 in ACC play. The offense wasn’t as efficient, which highlighting this team’s weaknesses.

NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

But just as everyone was starting to doubt and worry about this season, head coach Mike Brey worked his magic and now has the Irish back in position to grab a good seed in the NCAA Tournament

The Irish were 2-0 last week with wins over Wake Forest and No.14 Florida State. The win over Wake was a hard fought victory, but the Florida State win was impressive as they Irish dominated the ‘Noles in the second half.

Notre Dame has two very winnable games this coming week at Boston College and at NC State. The Irish should win both of these games, but as we’ve seen all season there is no easy win in the ACC this year.

Bonzie Colson is making a serious case for ACC Player of the Year

Last week Colson was given 16/1 odds by Bovada to win National Player of the Year. He in turn responded with his two best games of the year. He went for 27 points and 16 rebounds against Wake and then for 33 points and 13 rebounds against Florida State

NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The NPOY might be a bit of a pipe dream for Colson because Notre Dame is not a top five team, but the ACC Player of the Year certainly is in grasp. Colson is the only player in the ACC averaging a double-double of 16.7 PPG and 10.8 RPG. With his recent string of monster performances, Colson has to be in discussion for the award. If Colson can close the final five games on a tear, his name will be tossed around ACC POY.

Other top contenders for the award are Luke Kennard of Duke, John Collins of Wake Forest, Dwayne Bacon of Florida State and Dennis Smith Jr. of NC State.

Notre Dame had four conference players of the year while in the Big East. Pat Garrity in 1997, Troy Murphy in 2000 and 2001, Luke Harongody in 2008 and Ben Hansbrough in 2011. The Irish have yet to have a player of the year in the ACC.

Conference races are heating up

We’re heading into the final stretch of the regular season in college basketball and we have some interesting conference races.

In the ACC, UNC has hold of first place by a half game over Florida State. Duke, Virginia and Louisville all trail by only a game. Duke has been the story of late. Just a few weeks ago they were left for dead, but since have rattled off five straight wins. The Blue Devils still have to travel to Virginia and UNC.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Duke Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame and Syracuse are a game and a half back of first place, but everything would have to fall just right for either team to have a chance. I’m sticking with my favorite in Florida State.

Along with the ACC, the Big 12 has been one of the best, if not the best conference all season. Kansas, who has won the last 12 Big 12 titles, has one game lead over Baylor and a two game lead over West Virginia. In the Big 12 they play a round robin, so the Jayhawks still have matchups at Baylor and at home vs. West Virginia.

The Big Ten is experiencing a down year this year, but they still have a good race going. Wisconsin had a two game lead going into the weekend, but fell at home last night to Northwestern. The Badgers now are one game up on Purdue and Maryland. Even Northwestern still has a shot as they’re two games back.

Most years the Pac 12 gets ragged on for being a weak conference, but they have quietly been one of the better conferences this season. UCLA has been a trendy team this season, but right now they stand in third place in the Pac 12 behind Oregon and first place Arizona. With the way the schedules lineup, you got to like the Ducks. Arizona and UCLA still have to play each other as well as USC. Oregon’s toughest game remaining is against Cal.

Top 16 seeds revealed

This past weekend the NCAA revealed the top 16 seeds for the NCAA Tournament. Villanova, Baylor, Kansas and Gonzaga were the No.1 seeds.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Kansas Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The ACC was well represented with five teams (UNC, Louisville, Virginia, Duke and Florida State).

The Big 12 has three with Kansas, Baylor and West Virginia.

The Pac 12 had three with UCLA, Oregon and Arizona

The SEC had Kentucky and Florida.

The Big East had Villanova and Butler.

The NCAA committee showed what they thought of the Big Ten this season as they didn’t have anyone in the top 16. Not even No.7 Wisconsin could crack the list.

All right, well thats it for this week’s edition of Monday Thoughts. I’ll be back next week. Have a great everyone and Go Irish.