Ben Hansbrough and the Irish have been officially announced as the second seed in the Southwest Region of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
Coming into their first game against a 23-12 Akron team, the Irish should be able to manage their first round opponents with ease.
Despite the big advantage in their first game, Notre Dame will potentially go on to take the likes of conference opponents in Louisville and Georgetown. If they are to make the Elite Eight, they may likely face the likes of a Kansas team which arguably has the best talent in the nation.
Although the Irish come in as the second place team in Big East and are winners of 12 of their last 14, here are three reasons why they might just be packing their bags earlier than expected.
It seems like a typo or a misunderstanding. How is it that arguably one of the better scorers in the league would be the reason for a Notre Dame downfall?
The numbers might just do the talking.
In their six losses, Hansbrough has averaged 15.3 points, and 2.5 assists while shooting 38.3 percent from the field. For the season, Hansbrough averages 18.5 points, 4.3 assists and shoots 48.6 percent a contest.
Hansbrough is a talent, and will be the reason for a late run for the team, but may also be the reason Notre Dame loses grip of a ball game.
In their 83-77 overtime semifinal loss against the Louisville Cardinals, Hansbrough was three-for-16 from the field.
He may shoot the Irish to the end, or shoot them out of a game quickly.
The Notre Dame Irish are arguably one of the hotter teams in division one college basketball as of late, but face steep competition if they are to move on to the second and third rounds. What makes their bracket that much harder—they play the Louisville Cardinals and Georgetown Hoyas.
Against both, the Irish are 2-1, but haven't played either team in the regular season since February 9th in a 89-79 overtime victory at home against the Cardinals. It must also be noted that none of the three games were played on the road. The two wins come at home and the one loss on neutral court in Madison Square Garden.
Georgetown would be the team the Irish would have to face first in a potential Sweet 16 matchup. The Irish had them spinning circles in their first and only meeting this year, winning 69-55 while holding the fourth-best three-point shooting team in the nation at the time to 18 percent from distance.
The Irish split their two match-ups with the Cardinals, and in their most recent matchup allowed a 14 point advantage to dissipate quickly in the second half.
Despite beating the two teams twice in three tries, there is always difficulties when a team plays familiar foes. Although the Irish would be favorites to win both potential match-ups, look for tough games from either Big East opponent in the third and fourth rounds if they wish to keep dancing.
If there's one thing the Irish do, and do well, it's shooting the three-point shot.
Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis lead the way for the team, hitting a combined 154 of the team's 259 made this season.
At the same time, the nation's sixteenth ranked three-point shooting team may rely a tad too much on the deep ball. Here are a look at the three-point numbers in their six losses this season:
vs. Kentucky - 5/23 - 21.7 percent
vs. Syracuse - 7/21 - 33.3 percent
vs. Marquette - 3/16 - 18.8 percent
vs. St. John's - 3/15 - 20.0 percent
vs. West Virginia - 8/27 - 29.6 percent
vs. Louisville - 8/24 - 33.3 percent
If they have games like they did recently against Villanova, hitting 20 of 32 three-pointers, expect big things from Hansbrough and company.
The three-point shot is what makes the Irish run. It's not to say the team should rely less on shooting from long-range, but to win six consecutive games with that style of play may not be enough to get it done. An off-shooting day might send the Irish home packing sooner than people expect.