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Bob’s Monday Thoughts: Irish Making a Push for the Double Bye

The ACC Tournament is just a few weeks away and the Irish are making a bid for a double bye. That and more in this edition of Bob’s Monday Thoughts

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

After losing four straight games two weeks away, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have righted the ship and have won their last four. In doing so, they have vaulted themselves back into the the top four of the ACC standings, which means if the season ended today Notre Dame would have a double bye in the ACC Tournament.

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

With the way the schedule sets up for Notre Dame a double bye looks to be very probable. The Irish have just three games remaining, two of them at home (Georgia Tech and Boston College), and then they wrap up the regular season on the road at Louisville. Assuming the Irish win their home games and drop the contest at Louisville, they would finish with a 12-6 ACC record. In order for schools behind ND, like Florida State and Virginia, they would have to win out in order to jump the Irish for fourth place.

The three teams in front of Notre Dame (UNC, Louisville, Duke) all have tough slates the rest of the way. Duke has to go to Syracuse, Miami and North Carolina, with a home game against Florida State sandwiched in. UNC has Louisville and Duke at home, but also has to travel to Pittsburgh and Virginia. Lastly, Louisville has to go to UNC and Wake Forest, with home games against Syracuse and Notre Dame.

So if Notre Dame can take advantage of their favorable schedule, there is a good chance they can move up in the ACC standings.

2018 recruiting off to a hot start

After closing out the 2017 cycle with a flurry, the Notre Dame football staff has carried that momentum into their 2018 efforts. Since signing day, the Irish have received four verbal commitments from some of the top players in the country.

This past week Notre Dame received commits from Micah Jones (four-star WR), Cole Mabry (three-star OL), Kalon Gervin (four-star DB) and Derrik Allen (four-star DB).

The biggest get of the bunch is perhaps Allen, a Georgia native. The Irish were able to go in and grab him from schools like Georgia, Alabama and Clemson.

Due to the recent commits, Notre Dame’s 2018 class has risen to No.2 overall in 247Sports rankings.

Notre Dame had Houston Griffith, a four-star DB from Florida, in for a visit this past weekend. According to Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated, Griffith is really high on ND’s board.

Duke is back on track

Before the season, the Blue Devils were the popular pick to win the national title. They had a great core of returning players, the No.1 recruiting class and a legendary head coach to make it all work.

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Duke Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

It didn’t start as planned though, as their top three freshman all missed time with injury. Grayson Allen couldn’t curb his tripping habits. Coach K had to take a leave of absence to recover from back surgery. Because of all this Duke started off to a 3-4 start in ACC play. Everyone wrote the Blue Devils off, said they had no chance to win the ACC or grab a high seed in the NCAAs.

Since then the Blue Devils have rattled off seven straight wins and are just a game back of UNC for the ACC lead. In Joe Lunardi’s latest bracketology, he has Duke all the way up to three seed. If they keep winning there is a chance they could get as high as a two seed.

This is a talented group and with a coach like Coach K, this is a team you want to avoid in March.

What were the Sacramento Kings thinking?

In case you missed it, late last night the Sacramento Kings dealt all-star big man Demarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans for Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway and first and second round picks for 2017.

Cousins was starting to wear out his welcome in Sac town, but it’s hard to believe this is the best offer they could have gotten for him. He’s a franchise type of player and on top of that he’s only 26 years old. If you’re going to trade a player like that, you better make sure you’re getting something really good in return.

Evans is a nice player, but not the type of guy you build your team around. Same could be said for Hield as well. The draft picks are nice, but the Pelicans are 23-34, which is not close to some of the worst records in the league. With Cousins and Anthony Davis now paired up New Orleans could get hot and end up with a decent record, which would make that first round pick less valuable.

The Kings definitely got fleeced in this deal. It was like one of those trades you send to your buddy in fantasy football, where you offer 3-4 average players for his/her’s best player. Every time they decline the trade, but in this instance the Kings accidentally pressed the accept button.

That’s it for this edition of Bob’s Monday Thoughts. Make sure to catch me next week. We have sort of a slow week coming up in terms of Notre Dame teams. The basketball team has this week off until they take on Georgia Tech on Sunday afternoon. Hope you all have a great week and Go Irish!