Irish No. 3 in rugged Midwest

Notre Dame drew the No. 3 seed in the Midwest, opening with Northeastern on Thursday in Pittsburgh. Butler or Texas awaits in the Round of 32, with Kentucky and Kansas also in play.

Mike Brey wants Notre Dame dreaming big dreams after capturing the program’s first ACC Tournament championship. And making the Final Four as the No. 3 seed from the Midwest Region would qualify as a college basketball fantasy, at least on paper.

The Irish open Thursday (tip time TBA) against No. 14 Northeastern in Pittsburgh, with the winner of No. 6 Butler-No. 11 Texas awaiting Saturday. From there, Notre Dame could face the region’s No. 2 seed Kansas in the Sweet 16, but overall No. 1 seed Kentucky would figure to await in the Elite 8.

The Wildcats enter the NCAA Tournament at 34-0 and are gunning to become the first Division I men’s college basketball program to go wire-to-wire since 1976. That came just two years before Notre Dame’s only Final Four run.

Brey and players will meet with the media on Sunday night to talk about their tourney draw as Notre Dame looks to improve on its recent NCAA Tournament form.

The Irish have won just two NCAA tournament games since making Brey’s only Sweet 16 in 2003. Since then, the Irish are 2-6 overall and have been bounced by a higher seed team in four straight trips.

Notre Dame’s last NCAA Tournament win came five years ago when it was a No. 2 seed and beat No. 15 Akron in Chicago. The only other NCAA win in the past dozen years was a win over George Mason in 2008.

Tipoff time for Notre Dame’s matchup with Northeastern, which finished 23-11 and won the Colonial Athletic Conference, should be announced later tonight.


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