Notre Dame Faces A Must Win Against Villanova

Tourney hopes could ride on a win Monday night

It's been quite the rollercoaster ride for Notre Dame baskeball this season.  They started the year ranked #9 in both polls, but they haven't done a very good job of living up to the expectations. Now three and a half months and a seven-game losing streak later, the Irish find themselves with their backs up against the walls.

Fresh off of a close loss to the Connecticut Huskies on Saturday afternoon, the Irish return home to the Joyce Center to face #11 Villanova with their tournament chances on the line.  According to Joe Lunardi's latest projections, the Irish aren't even close to being selected for the tournament, but a win against the WIldcats on Monday night would go a long way towards putting them back in the picture.

They're currently 7-9 in the murderous Big East, but with two wins in their final two games and a strong run in the conference tournament, the Irish could still find themselves avoiding the NIT.

The good news is that despite the loss to UConn over the weekend, the Irish have been playing a lot better basketball lately.  They've won four of their last six to even put themselves in position to have a chance, and they're playing a Villanova team that hasn't been very sharp their last few times out.

The Wildcats lost their last game at home against a struggling Georgetown, which ended a three-game win streak, but the last win was only a two-point victory over DePaul.  We all know how well DePaul has played this year, don't we?  If not, well, they're 8-21 overall with a glowing record of 0-16 in conference play.  Any victory against them by less than 6 points should count as a loss.

Along with writing for, Tom Fornelli can also be found contributing at FanHouse, SPORTSbyBROOKS, and his own Chicago sports blog Foul Balls.  He thinks Luke Harangody deserves more than the NIT.

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