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There seems to be pretty overwhelming consensus among the human voters that Notre Dame is the 10th best team in the country, and will correspondingly earn a 3 seed come tournament time. While there has been a lot of worry over potential seeding due to a weaker than expected ACC and ND's weak non-conference schedule, none of the major Bracketologies have the Irish below the 3 line. This differs from the media "mock selection committee" that convened last week to make an "if the season ended today" bracket using the same methodology the real committee uses. The media committee had the Irish as the last 4-seed, something that didn't sit well with Grantland's Mark Titus, the co-chairman of the group.
The mock selection committee had Oklahoma ranked as the best 3-seed and had Notre Dame as the worst 4-seed. A small contingent wanted to put Oklahoma State above Notre Dame, which would’ve bumped the Irish down to a 5-seed. This is the same Notre Dame team that holds a 23-4 record. It has sole possession of second place in the toughest conference in America. It beat Duke and won at North Carolina. It has no bad losses. I wouldn’t blame you one bit if reading all of this makes you question the validity of the mock selection process. I had a similar reaction. At one point, I got so upset with Notre Dame’s ranking on our board that I turned to Mandel and asked him if everyone on the committee was shitting me. Mandel confirmed that there was no shitting going on. The committee seriously thought that Oklahoma was seven spots better than Notre Dame. YET SOMEHOW I’M THE CRAZY ONE.
In addition to ranting about ND's draw in the media's bracket, Titus also explains how the committee decides where teams will be playing. Should ND end up as the weakest 4-seed, it's no guarantee that the Irish would be in Kentucky's region as geography rather than competitive balance is the first criteria in placing teams in various regions. Depending on where the teams above ND end up, the Irish could avoid UK's region (Cleveland most likely). ND's best hope is that only one of Duke and Virginia get a one seed, and the other ends up as a two. This would likely send the second seed to Cleveland, and send ND to either Houston or Los Angeles. While those two options would make for a longer trip, the Irish would avoid UK. Additionally, for those thinking about trying to catch ND's first weekend NCAA game(s) in person, all three bracketologies have the Irish headed to Columbus, Ohio which has games on Friday and Sunday. While it's probably too early to book a flight, checking out prices never hurt anyone.
As far as computer rankings go, ND still lags a bit due to their defense in KenPom and their strength of schedule in RPI and BPI. The Irish moved back up to 2nd in KenPom's offensive efficiency, and are still in the mid 150s defensively. Things are pretty tight in the overall KenPom rankings as ND fell two spots after beating wake by double digits. It wouldn't be surprising to see ND move up or down a couple spots from day-to-day.
ACC Standings and Scenarios
With four games to go, the Irish sit in second place in the ACC, just one half game ahead of Duke. Due to Louisville's loss at Syracuse last night, a 3-1 finish would guarantee ND a top 3 finish in the conference. Additionally, since ND holds the tie breaker over UNC, even a 2-2 finish would give the Irish a top 4 position regardless of other results. Notre Dame doesn't have the tie breaker over Duke due to the Blue Devils' win over UVA. This means the Irish would need Duke to lose one more game than Notre Dame the rest of the way. Lastly, while it's possible ND is probably not going to catch UVA, especially with the Cavs owning the head-to-head tiebreaker. While a double bye is huge for a team that plays its starters for so many minutes, the strength of the top 5 in the ACC, as well as Cuse's postseason ban, makes a top 3 finish even more valuable. A third or better finish would make for a much easier quarterfinal against a team like Miami or Clemson, instead of the team from above that ultimately finishes fifth. ND's next test is Saturday on the road against Boston College. While the waters are still murky, things are beginning to clear up as we get closer to March.