Joe Lunardi almost never stops projecting the NCAA tournament. It may not come across your inbox, but the guy keeps at it anyway. The 2017 NCAA Tournament ended on April 3rd. ESPN’s Bracketology was updated for 2018 promptly on the 4th, and then again on the 10th.
Then, Joey went quiet for the month of May. For good reason; the regular signing period for college basketball recruiting ended on May 17th, and the cutoff to withdraw your name from the NBA draft and retain NCAA eligibility was May 24th. Throw those two April projections out, if you even looked at them. Following the month of May, we have a better feel for what teams will look like when the season rolls around, barring injuries and transfers.
In June 1st’s Bracketology, Lunardi has the Irish a third-seed in the West bracket, with a matchup against the Furman Paladins in Wichita. Not a bad draw; the Seton Hall Pirates would be the sixth seed and the Michigan State Spartans the two. MSU would, admittedly, be a tough Sweet Sixteen draw. But then again, it’s June, and we aren’t even close to football yet. Why are we talkin’ about basketball?
Speaking of Transfers: Juwan Durham Update
Really, it’s more of a non-update. University of Connecticut transfer Juwan Durham visited Virginia Tech on May 28th, but has still given no indication of where he’ll chose to play. Durham, one of the top-10 remaining transfers, is also considering Duke and Louisville in addition to Notre Dame and Virginia Tech.
Notre Dame Running Back Stable: Strong but Unproven
Ok, football time. Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans and analysts are high on Josh Adams, Dexter Williams, and even Tony Jones Jr., for good reason. We’ve seen what Adams and Williams can do, and have heard of the potential of Jones Jr.; everyone is are hoping for big things behind a veteran offensive line in 2017. However, only Josh Adams was chosen as a top-40 running back this week by Sports on Earth, sandwiched by guys like James Butler of Nevada and Ryan Nall of Oregon State.
Even if you aren’t super familiar with Notre Dame football, 36 feels a bit low. I’m not saying Adams can be considered on the same level as Royce Freeman, Nick Chubb, Bo Scarbrough or Saquon Barkley, but I wouldn’t have guessed people would slot him so far away. There are even multiple teams with multiple running backs ahead of Adams.
I bet if the 2016 season hadn’t been such a flop for Notre Dame football as a whole, Adams would have moved up in the minds of analysts, rather than falling in the 30-35 range.
Adams and the rest of the Irish running backs will get their opportunities to impress early on. A strong performance against the Temple Owls could propel Adams and Williams into a game in which they’ll square off against two running backs that were chosen towards the front of the pack: Georgia’s Sony Michel and Nick Chubb.