If Notre Dame can repeat last season’s NCAA Tournament success, the Irish road will be a challenge. It will also be much more of an actual road.
On Sunday evening the Irish scored a No. 6 seed in the East Regional, which means a first round matchup with the play-in game winner of Michigan and Tulsa. If Notre Dame survives that on Friday in Brooklyn, a matchup with No. 3 West Virginia or No. 14 S.F. Austin would come Sunday. Win that and the Irish head to the Sweet 16 in Philadelphia.
Notre Dame (21-11, 11-7) has not knocked off a No. 3 seed or better in the NCAA Tournament since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
North Carolina, which routed Notre Dame on Friday night in the ACC semifinals, drew the No. 1 seed in the East. Xavier grabbed the No. 2 seed.
It’s 11th NCAA Tournament bid for Notre Dame in 16 seasons under Mike Brey. It’s also the sixth bid in the past seven seasons.
The Irish have advanced beyond the first weekend just twice under Brey, including last year’s run to the Elite 8 and near miss against Kentucky for a shot at the Final Four.
Last March Notre Dame drew a No. 3 seed, then knocked off No. 14 Northeastern and No. 6 Butler in Pittsburgh on opening weekend, advancing to the Midwest Regional in Cleveland, where it beat No. 7 Wichita State in the Sweet 16 before falling to No. 1 Kentucky, 68-66.
Brey will meet with the media later on Sunday night, as well selected Irish players.