Man. That Georgetown-Notre Dame NIT Final at Madison Square Garden is going to be AWESOME.
What's to say about our Hoyas? Too young, and just not all that good. They had an 11-point second-half lead and lost the game at home. Jessie Sapp spent the whole game on the bench. The thing's a mess right now, and while I have confidence in Thompson to figure it out, what I mean by that is that I don't think the program is about to plunge back into years of listlessness. This year, I believe, is lost.
Seven games remain -- three they should win, four they should lose. If they all go to form, they finish the regular season 16-13 overall and 7-11 in the conference. Say they win a first-round Big East tournament game, that's 17-14 overall. Tough to sway a selection committee with numbers like that, especially when you finish the season 5-11 (which is what happens if this scenario unfolds this way).
Elsewhere, big win for Villanova over Syracuse, because they play again in two weeks and neither could afford to get swept. If Villanova can beat Marquette on Tuesday, they may start to like their chances of cracking that Top Four that gets two days' worth of byes in the conference tournament. The rest of the Wildcats' schedule is reasonably mushy.
As for the Orange, they're not out of the woods yet -- especially since the tournament committee hasn't shown them a whole lot of love the past two years -- but they're going to have to collapse pretty badly against a relatively soft schedule to miss out on March Madness.
Syracuse is 18-6 overall, 6-5 in conference. They played a pathetic out-of-conference schedule, picking up a good win at Memphis and a bad loss at home to Cleveland State along the way. And their in-conference record doesn't feature many good wins. They've beaten Seton Hall, South Florida, DePaul, Rutgers, Notre Dame and West Virginia while losing to Georgetown, Pitt, Louisville, Providence and Villanova.
But the rest of their schedule, somehow, isn't overly brutal. Assume losses at UConn and Marquette, wins at home against Georgetown, Cincinnati and Rutgers and a win at St. John's, and they're at 10-8 even if they lose at home to Villanova in two weeks. A team that's 22-9 overall and 10-8 in this year's Big East gets in, period. Now, if they slip up and lose a couple of those games -- say to Cincinnati or the Hoyas -- then maybe they find themselves needing a couple of wins at the Garden to get in. But looking at the schedule, I say the Orange are set up.
Which sucks. I mean, the most fun part of Selection Sunday the past two weeks has been the outright screwing of Syracuse and subsequent whining.
But who am I kidding? That's only fun when your team does get in. And sad to say, our Mighty Hoyas are going to have to pull off a miracle to make it in this year.
Monday morning Cardinal news and notes
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