Intro: Notre Dame might be one of the most dangerous teams in the NCAA Tournament for the simple reason that they are battle-tested in the Big East Conference. Not just that, but the Irish have proven they can beat teams outside their conference, such as Wisconsin and Gonzaga.
They have one of the more dominant players in college basketball in Ben Hansborough, and their coach, Mike Brey, was the Big East Coach of the Year. Notre Dame was also the only Big East team to go undefeated at home this season.
Record: 26-6, 15-5 Big East
Key wins: Beating Wisconsin early in the season (Nov. 28) was very key, establishing early that Notre Dame was not a pushover this season. Getting a 83-79 win at home against Gonzaga a few weeks later, after a disappointing loss to Kentucky, was also important. Probably the signature win of the whole regular season was the 56-50 win over Pitt at Pittsburgh back on Jan. 24.
Key losses: Feb. 19 at West Virginia. The final was 72-58. This loss likely cost Notre Dame the regular season Big East title, which eventually went to Pitt. Notre Dame was riding a seven-game win streak at the time, but ran into a well-prepared West Virgina team that handled them well.
Player to watch: Ben Hansborough is the unquestioned star of Notre Dame. He was the Big East Player of the Year, and the only unanimous selection to the All-Big East first team.