Notre Dame was given a No. 5 seed for the upcoming NCAA Tournament in Sunday’s selections and will matchup with Ivy League champion Princeton Thursday in Buffalo (which is lovely this time of year).
Now, I just got done breaking Princeton and their chances at winning a game or two in the tournament. What I left out, however, is the hateable dynamics of their student body – they make Stanford students seem normal and down to earth.
No doubt ND was under-seeded, but their positioning in the bracket is great. Princeton will be a tough matchup, but having Gonzaga as the No. 1 seed and a potential match up with West Virginia in the second round is not terrible for the Irish.
It seems to me that ND’s seeding was a continuation of a theme where the committee did not value the conference tournaments very much.
Florida, Purdue, Butler, and Kansas all lost early in their respective conference tournaments, but still maintained high seeds, while strong performances from Duke, ND, Wisconsin, Michigan, and SMU did not elevate the seeding of any of those teams
Either way, I would rather be a five-seed in this region than a three in some of the others.
I will have a more in-depth preview later in the week, but Princeton plays a methodical brand of basketball. They slow down the pace and do not hurt themselves, very much like Virginia.
Similar to the Cavaliers, Princeton is a great front-runner, but struggles when they have to come from behind. A fast start and playing with the lead is critical for the Irish.
Notre Dame will not be able to out-athlete the Tigers, both teams are comprised of academically-inclined players. This matchup will be a convergence of opposing styles and whomever is able to establish their pace early, will have a tremendous advantage.