Mike Brey has turned Selection Sunday into an afterthought at Notre Dame.
Following a run to the ACC Tournament title game on Saturday night – a 75-69 loss to Duke in Brooklyn – the Irish had little doubt about making the NCAA field for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.
However, their seeding was in question, both before and after the brackets were announced.
Notre Dame drew a No. 5 seed in the West Region and will face No. 12 Princeton on Thursday at 12:15 p.m. in Buffalo, N.Y. It’s the second time the Irish have been a No. 5 seed under Brey, which included his first Sweet 16 appearance in 2003. A win over Princeton will push Notre Dame forward to Saturday against the winner of No. 4 West Virginia-No. 13 Bucknell.
Notre Dame was one of nine ACC teams to make the field and the one who had the most to complain about when it came to seeding. Duke and Louisville both drew No. 2 seeds despite bring the No. 5 and No. 4 seeds in the ACC Tournament last weekend. Florida State, beaten twice by Notre Dame, drew a No. 3 seed and was the committee’s No. 10 team overall.
Virginia, which Notre Dame beat in the ACC quarterfinals on Thursday, got a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament after being a No. 6 in the ACC bracket.
The Irish didn’t get a break on their start time either after playing late Saturday night after three games in three nights in Brooklyn. Princeton won the inaugural Ivy League Tournament on Sunday by beating Yale in a four-team bracket.
Princeton, which went 23-6 this season and 14-0 in conference play, is on a 19-game winning streak. Leading scorer Devin Cannady (13.7 points per game) is a product of Marian Catholic in Mishawaka, Ind., located about 10 minutes from Notre Dame. Cannady was a prep teammate of former Irish point guard Demetrius Jackson.
Notre Dame and Princeton haven’t played since 1977 and have met just three times.