Five Indiana Teams Make Big Dance, Notre Dame Last Standing

Zach Piatt
Sports Editor

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team locked up a spot in the Sweet 16 with a 67-64 overtime victory over Butler last Saturday. With the win, Notre Dame became the last team from Indiana left in the field and was crowned the “champion” of the Hoosier state.

Five teams from Indiana made the NCAA Tournament (Notre Dame, Butler, Purdue, Indiana, Valparaiso), all were placed in the Midwest region, and only two moved on to the round of 32. This set up a state of Indiana championship game between Notre Dame and Butler, sending the winner to the Sweet 16.

The Irish went 29-5 on the season and won the ACC tournament, defeating Duke in the semifinals and North Carolina in the championship. They were given a huge lift from senior guard Jerian Grant, who led the Irish in points (16.8), assists (6.6), and steals (1.6) per game.

Notre Dame plays extremely good offense and is very good at putting the ball in the basket. As a team, they shoot .510 from the field, second highest field goal percentage in the nation. The Irish also average 78.8 points a game, good for twelfth in the nation. Sharing the load isn’t an issue with this club either, as four players score in double figures.

Notre Dame is in the Sweet 16 as the last team from Indiana remaining. The Irish have a very proficient offense, scoring 78.8 points per game and shooting over 50 percent from the field. Photo from Yahoo images.

Notre Dame is in the Sweet 16 as the last team from Indiana remaining. The Irish have a very proficient offense, scoring 78.8 points per game and shooting over 50 percent from the field. Photo from Yahoo images.

To say Notre Dame’s road to the Sweet 16 was tough would be an understatement. The Irish first survived a 69-65 scare over 14 seeded Northeastern. Then they won a thrilling overtime showdown against in-state opponent Butler 67-64.

The road ahead won’t be easy either. Up next for Notre Dame is Wichita State, who has plenty of momentum after their convincing upset victory over Kansas. If the Irish get by the Shockers, they’ll play the winner of West Virginia and unbeaten, top overall seed Kentucky…so Kentucky. Notre Dame will have to play their hearts out for a shot at the title.

It was a rough first round for Indiana teams this time around, as Purdue, Indiana and Valparaiso all fell short of advancing. Purdue lost a heartbreaker against Cincinnati after a last second shot from Cincy sent the game into overtime, where the Bearcats went on to win by one. IU lost a hard fought, high scoringĀ game to seventh-seeded Wichita State by a score of 81-76. Valpo fell to Maryland in a back and forth battle eventually pulled out by the higher seeded Terps.

Notre Dame is the last Indiana team standing in the NCAA Tournament, but now they’ve got a bigger task at hand. Now all that’s left to do is sit back and see how much fight the Fighting Irish have in them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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