It is rare when fans can look at a basketball season and be both thoroughly thrilled and utterly disappointed, all at the same time. However, after the surprising tenacity and performance of the 2011-2012 Notre Dame men's basketball squad that resulted in a seven seed in the NCAA tournament, many fans believed that they were spending house money when the Irish faced off against Xavier in the second round.
However, the allure of the Big Dance and the fabled optimism that surrounds each team's chances at shocking the basketball world may have eliminated the joy of a surprise regular season and replaced it with the hope that for the first time since 2003, the Irish had the talent to lure Sweet 16 out of her elusive corner.
It was not to be, however, as Notre Dame's weaknesses were thoroughly exposed in the second half of their Xavier matchup. These weaknesses resulted in the Irish loosing a double-digit lead in the second half that sent the Irish home early, wondering what could have been.
All of these disappointments are now ancient history, as this year's squad possesses more talent, depth and athleticism then any of their recent predecessors. As a result, an abundance of optimism is once again flowing through South Bend—an optimism that leads to my seven bold, yet attainable predictions for the 2012-2013 season.