Despite beating No. 9 Louisville and grinding out a hard-earned victory over a tournament team in Clemson, the Irish only moved up three spots in this week’s AP Poll.
I know the AP Poll is not as meaningful as it used to be, but the lack of respect the ND program receives on a national level is baffling.
Brand plays a huge role in college sports and while Notre Dame football often benefits from the brand bias in polls, the basketball program consistently gets the short end of the stick.
Programs like Arizona and Gonzaga consistently get more preseason hype and favoritism in the polls, while the Irish have been a more successful program in a superior conference for most of the past 15 years.
If you ask Mike Brey, he’d say he likes flying under the radar, but ND, who is the only program to reach the Elite Eight in the previous two years, has earned more national respect that it receives.
Another notable tidbit from this week’s poll is that Baylor has reached No. 1 for the first time in program history. Scott Drew gets shit sometimes for not winning consistently in the tournament, but the job he has done at Baylor is unbelievable.
He took over in 2003 when Baylor was possibly the worst job in the country on the heels of the revelation that basketball player Patrick Dennehy was murdered by teammate Carlton Dotson.
The NCAA came down harsh and there was a toxic stigma around the program – there were even talks of dropping the program altogether. So Drew has guided the program from those depths to now the No. 1 team in the country – pretty remarkable.