Tag: Mike Brey

When Irish Eyes are Smiling (Welcome Coastal Carolina, Northern Iowa, North Florida)

Freshman Bonzie Colson (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Is this the year when coach Mike Brey gets his Notre Dame team to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament. Its something that hasn’t happened for Notre Dame in quite some time, but it looks like Brey finally has the squad to do.

Notre Dame has always been a great jump-shooting team, but now it looks like they have the total package. What’s separating the Irish this year is the late season emergence of freshman Bonzie Colson. Colson, with his long arms give the Irish a legitimate post presence.

Notre Dame looks right for a deep run this year. If they can show some toughness this March, they could be a sleeper in the tournament.

More Previews.

MID-EASTERN ATHLETIC: The MEAC is one of the few leagues that saw a team roll through the regular season undefeated. North Carolina Central looks like the class of a MEAC that is as good as its been in recent memory. Norfolk St and UMES will challenge the Eagles, but expect Central to repeat as champions and return to the NCAA tournament.

MID-AMERICAN: As usual, the MAC was competitive like always with three teams, Central Michigan, Kent St and Buffalo, finishing tied for the regular season crown at 12-6. Behind those three, Bowling Green and Toledo finished tied for fourth with identical 11-7 records. Suffice it to say, this thing is completely up in the air. In the end, Kent St’s history navigating this tournament makes them the pick here.

SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC: Texas Southern, a team that has wins at Michigan St and Kansas St, rolled nearly wire-to-wire here. They have only two conference losses and look primed to make another run to the NCAA tournament. The only teams close, Southern and Alabama St, are ineligible for the postseason but are somehow allowed to compete anyway. Look for the Texas Southern to go dancing.

Last Four In: Illinois, Miami (FL), Texas, Purdue

Last Four Out: Indiana, UCLA, Old Dominion, Texas A&M

This bracket is good for games thru 3/8

MIDWEST

1.Kentucky16.St. Francis(NY)/North Florida(ASun) Louisville

8.NC State9.Dayton

5.Wichita St12.Stephen F. Austin Seattle

4.Louisville13.Central Michigan

6.Providence11.LSU Seattle

3.Gonzaga14.UC Davis

7.Iowa10.VCU Omaha

2.Kansas15.Albany

WEST

1.Villanova16.Texas Southern Pittsburgh

8.Georgia9.Ohio St

5.SMU12.Texas/Illinois Jacksonville

4.Notre Dame13.Iona

6.Georgetown11.BYU Jacksonville

3.Baylor14.Georgia St

7.Cincinnati10.Oklahoma St Portland

2.Arizona15.South Dakota St

SOUTH

1.Virginia16.Coastal Carolina(BSouth) Charlotte

8.St. John’s9.Temple

5.North Carolina12.Wofford Portland

4.Utah13.Valparaiso

6.Arkansas11.Purdue/Miami(FL) Columbus

3.Oklahoma14.New Mexico St

7.Oregon10.Boise St Omaha

2.Wisconsin15.North Carolina Central

EAST

1.Duke16.Montana/Lafayette Charlotte

8.Xavier9.Michigan St

5.West Virginia12.Louisiana Tech Louisville

4Northern Iowa(MVC)13.Yale

6.Butler11.Davidson Columbus

3.Iowa St14.William&Mary

7.San Diego St10.Mississippi Pittsburgh

2.Maryland15.Belmont(OVC)

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Irish Eyes

Notre Dame Guard Bens Hansbrough

Not many teams around the country have been as pleasant a surprise as Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish have gotten off to a great start this season led by seniors Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis.

The Irish have already gone to Orlando and won the Old Spice Classic taking out Georgia and Wisconsin on its way to the title. In addition to that, it has also dispatched of Georgetown, Connecticut and Pittsburgh in Big East play.

The reason why Notre Dame has been so successful however is because of shift in philosophy. Towards the end of last season coach Mike Brey, prompted by an injury to star forward Luke Harangody, changed his team’s style of play from fast-paced to a more methodical or “burn” offense. It’s an offense that the talent he has thrives on.

Hansbrough is surprisingly effective off the dribble along with being a great shooter while Abromaitis is a matchup nightmare with his size and ability to step outside and knock down jumpers. Throw in the supporting cast of Tyrone Nash, Carleton Scott and Scott Martin and the Irish may realistically be a Final Four contender.

Stock Up: North Carolina. A few weeks ago coach Roy Williams went off on Tarheel fans. Well his team has been going off on Tarheel opponents. After a slow start, the Tarheels have managed to set themselves apart from every ACC team not named Duke. A blowout loss to Georgia Tech almost started a coup in Chapel Hill, but now it looks like this team can challenge for the ACC title.

Stock Down: Wichita St’s quality wins. Where are they? They’re nowhere to be found. Wichita St has played four games against opponents in the RPI top-100 and it’s 0-4 against them all. The Shockers are still living off of preseason expectations, but if they expect that to translate into a postseason berth, they’ll have to sweep Northern Iowa and Missouri St on the road.

Stock Up: Harvard. The Crimson is poised for its first ever NCAA tournament berth with a 4-0 start to Ivy League play. The Crimson may also be poised for an at-large berth as well. Harvard has already taken out Colorado and Boston College this season with its three losses coming to George Mason, Michigan and Connecticut. Traditionally Ivy League teams have been very competitive in March and it looks like this year will be no different.

Stock Down: Kansas St. If you declare that you’re not going to play in the NIT, then you better play like you don’t want to play in the NIT. Jacob Pullen has failed in that regard and the preseason top-5 ranked Wildcats are one of the biggest disappointments in college basketball. There’s no leadership on the floor and now players are defecting from the program. Manhattan is morphing back into the laughing stock of the Big XII.

This Week’s Bracket Projections:

Last Four In: New Mexico, George Mason, Georgia, Richmond
Last Four Out: Colorado St, Wichita St, Virginia Tech, Penn St

Good for Games through 1/30

EAST
1.Ohio St16.McNeese St/Bethune-Cookman Cleveland
8.Temple9.Missouri St
5.Syracuse12.Georgia/George Mason Tampa
4.Missouri13.Harvard
6.Florida11.UCLA Washington, DC
3.Villanova14.Bucknell
7.West Virginia10.Michigan St Charlotte
2.Duke15.Belmont
WEST
1.Pittsburgh16.Long Beach St Cleveland
8.Illinois9.Old Dominion
5.North Carolina12.Richmond/New Mexico Tucson
4.Texas A&M13.Oakland
6.Washington11.St. John’s Denver
3.Purdue14.Coastal Carolina
7.Vanderbilt10.Memphis Tucson
2.San Diego St15.Northern Colorado
SOUTHWEST
1.Texas16.Long Island Tulsa
8.Marquette9.UNLV
5.Minnesota12.Washington St Chicago
4.Georgetown13.Charleston
6.Xavier11.Northern Iowa Charlotte
3.Kentucky14.Kent St
7.Utah St10.Boston College Washington, DC
2.Connecticut15.Florida Atlantic
SOUTHEAST
1.Kansas16.Austin Peay/Texas Southern Tulsa
8.Florida St9.Cincinnati
5.Wisconsin12.UAB Tampa
4.Louisville13.Valparaiso
6.Tennessee11.Virginia Commonwealth Denver
3.BYU14.Maine
7.Arizona10.St. Mary’s Chicago
2.Notre Dame15.Fairfield

In Graphical Form