Irish Earn Top Seed In Postseason NIT

Saint Mary's is among the most surprising exclusions from the 2018 NCAA Tournament field. | L.E. Baskow  AP

Saint Mary's is among the most surprising exclusions from the 2018 NCAA Tournament field. | L.E. Baskow AP

After three days of speculation about whether or not the Irish would get the benefit of the doubt from the committee now that they are nearly back to full strength, we found out Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell would not get one more chance to lead the Irish on a tournament run. The semifinal and championship games will be played at New York's historic Madison Square Garden for the 81st year. Notre Dame beat Syracuse at Syracuse without Bonzie Colson or Matt Farrell and both teams finished 8-10 in the ACC.

Notre Dame senior guard Matt Farrell probably put it as plainly and as clearly as one can after hearing the news that the Fighting Irish had missed the 2018 NCAA Tournament. "This was the most rewarding championship I think we've had", McGraw said last month.

The Atlantic Coast Conference was once again one of the toughest in the nation throughout the 2017-2018 season, as evident in the nine NCAA Tournament bids it received this year.

As it happens, U.S.C., along with Louisville and Oklahoma State who were also snubbed, is embroiled in the F.B.I. probe into corruption among basketball programs.

Over on the Notre Dame side, they're sitting at 20-14 on the year. "It's nearly kind of a fitting end to kind of how our season (went)". With Colson, the Irish beat Pittsburgh on Senior Night and took the No. 1-overall seed Virginia down to the wire on the road before escaping with two wins in the ACC tournament in Brooklyn over Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech. Bonzie Colson leads four in double figures for Notre Dame averaging 20.2 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.

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"Notre Dame was a unique situation from the standpoint that they had a couple kids that they played without for part of the year", Rasmussen said Sunday. Due to Notre Dame's seed - and as long as they keep winning - the Irish will play their first 3 NIT games at home, as the first three rounds of the NIT tournament are played on the home court of the higher seeded teams. The late charge wasn't enough and the Irish will play Hampton in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday night.

UConn has been a No. 1 regional seed in the NCAA Tournament every year since 2006.

"I told them I had two teams that handled it differently", Brey said.

Notre Dame is making its 13th appearance in the NIT.

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