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Of Basketball Upsets
By Alan Tieuli
Not that the city of
And, ironically, enough, in a hockey arena inspired by a Disney
movie, four of the best college basketball teams in the land have arrived to compete in
two absolutely delicious West Regional semifinal games.
Three of the squads – top seed
The fourth team, your beloved, fifth-seeded Fighting Irish of Notre
Dame, is still trying to convince people it belongs here.
"I would have thought we were the 12-seed if you listened to
everybody last week in
The national media that has descended on the Arrowhead Pond doesn't
appear to be taking 24-9 Notre Dame too seriously. Four
of the first eight questions Brey was asked in his post-practice press conference related
to his time with Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Ah, guys, Notre Dame plays
From the front row of the press seating, you could feel Brey's
sighs as he professionally answered each question about his old mentor. There were other questions about the challenges of
coaching at a "football school," and the rigors of the admission process. In other words, the media was grasping on to very
familiar story lines.
But Notre Dame has a chance to make hardwood headlines if it can
"When you get into the Sweet 16, the rankings do not matter,"
said senior shooting guard Matt Carroll, who
had a spring in his step during the light practice and looks to have his sprained ankle at
near 100-percent Thursday. "I think our first-round game, people were saying it was
going to be a 5-12 upset. Now we definitely
are against the best team in the country, but we believe in ourselves. It plays to our favor."
Several hundred folks from the Notre Dame Alumni Club of
Perhaps a better omen is that a Walton will be in uniform today. Notre Dame's all-time greatest victory, of
course, was the 71-70 victory over No. 1 UCLA on
"Yeah, he talked about it all the time," Walton said of his
dad. "He said that game ruined his life. But
to me none of it has anything to do with the game tomorrow."
What has everything to do with the Irish-Wildcats match-up is