Don't Disrespect the NIT...Irish Updates

Jim CowanCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2009

NEW YORK - MARCH 11:  Luke Harangody #44 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish dunks the ball against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the second round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Even if they didn’t make the big dance this year, accepting a bid as a No. 2 seed in the lowly NIT, I’ll call this a successful season yet again for Mike Brey and the boys.

In fact, I’ll go so far as to say getting down to the NIT semis is their most successful postseason since making it to the Sweet Sixteen in 02-03 where they were then bounced by three loss Arizona.

Two years ago, the upset by Winthrop in the first round was a huge disappointment, and even last year where they did beat George Mason in Round One, they got their ass handed to them by Washington State in Round Two.

With the seasons they had in those two years, I call those finales disappointing.

This year however, where they’ve had a few tough breaks in the toughest Big East in a long time, they’re one of the last four teams alive in a NIT filled with some damned good basketball programs.

The NIT truly gets a bad wrap. With teams like Georgetown, Kansas St., Tennessee, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Florida, who, hello, is two years removed from their NC! These are no scrubbini programs here. Whomever comes out on top will have accomplished no small feat.

So back to the Irish…They bounced UAB, squeaked by New Mexico on the last second drive by Tory Jackson, then pretty much handed Kentucky a beatdown in the Joyce Center last night, with the exception of a late UK run.

Harangody has been his normal self scoring 78 points in those three games. But last night, I think proved to be the better win of the three. While I don’t believe Kentucky is that good, they do have talent; they are still Kentucky after all.

The biggest story of the night though I think is this was the last home game for four seniors. Kyle McAlarney, Ryan Ayers, Zach Hillesland, and Luke Zeller. With Harangody testing the NBA waters this off-season, this could shape up to be a huge blow to next years squad.

As a fan, I can only hope Luke decides to stick it out one more year. I think with additions of the transfers and some developing talent, they could actually have a better than solid group next year. More on that later…

But for now, Pennsylvania State University awaits in the Big Apple.
Good luck to the boys…GO IRISH!