What To Do With Notre Dame?

I decided to look into this as Notre Dame possesses that classic “ripe for an upset” profile of  high-efficiency offense (#2) and terrible defense (#112).

Based on the tier criteria explained in my research that you have hopefully read by now, Notre Dame does qualify as a low-probability potential Final Four team based on the strength of their offense (Tier 3). Still, I wanted to take a closer look into teams like this and how they have performed in the tournament over time.

Here is a list of all the teams that have been given top 4 seeds in the tournament and that showed AdjDef efficiency numbers of 100+, and where they lost in the tournament:

(*: these teams were ranked 1st or 2nd in AdjOff and therefore were not eliminated as Final Four contenders)

2014 *Michigan‎ (109)- Elite 8

2014 *Duke (116)- 1st Round

2014 Creighton (152)- 2nd Round

2012 *Missouri (146)- 1st Round

2007 Texas (106)- 2nd Round

2006 Boston College (108)- Sweet 16

2006 *Gonzaga (186)‎- Sweet 16

2005 *Wake Forest (134)- 2nd Round

2005 Gonzaga (132)- 2nd Round

2004 *Wake Forest (135)- Sweet 16

2003 *Marquette (119)- Final Four

So, out of 11 teams given a Top 4 seed with AdjD numbers of 100+, just one made the Final Four and just one made the Elite Eight, while three made the Sweet 16, two lost in the first round and four lost in the second round. If we average these results, assigning a value to the round that each team exited the tournament, we get approximately 2.54…which predicts an average exit point between the second round and the Sweet 16, not exactly a ringing endorsement for the Irish.

What about if we look more specifically at the teams whose profile more closely resembles that of Notre Dame- the teams marked with an asterisk above that carried an AdjOff ranking in the top two, and thereby qualifying as potential Final Four teams like Notre Dame does? The results look a tad better, but not much, with the average exit point landing at 2.71…again predicting a loss before the Sweet 16 on average.

Conclusion: It’s certainly not impossible, but students of history should be very wary of supporting the Irish for a deep run in the tournament. With Kentucky a near lock to win the region, this section of the bracket offers value, especially as Notre Dame landed a tough draw having to play a gritty Butler squad or a heavily underseeded Texas team (11 seed with the efficiency profile of a 5 seed) in the second round. Both show stout defenses ranked in the Top 20, and could neutralize Notre Dame’s explosive offense.

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