As I've often mentioned, I picked Notre Dame to win the 2009 NCAA Tournament. I thought they had the experience and toughness to win the formidable Big East, receive a favorable seed, and then storm their way in and through the Final Four in Detroit.
The season is far from over, but with a record of 12-7 (3-5 in the Big East) and a 4-game skid, the Fighting Irish don't look like they have enough fight in them. If anything, they remind me of short-staffed Duke squads of past seasons, without the overachieving conference play. Their exceptional starters can only get them so far. I hold out hope that they can make a late-season run, but I've already prepared myself to be very, very wrong.
West Regional (Glendale, AZ)
01. Oklahoma: Stories of the season? Big East, ACC, them.
08. Xavier: Maybe they're 2 seed material after all.
09. Marquette: Flying high, but they'll level off soon.
16. Clemson: Probably won't crack ACC's top 3.
South Regional (Memphis)
02. Wake Forest: Now 2-0 along the Tobacco Road.
07. Pittsburgh: A little vulnerable after the Nova loss.
10. Texas: Admit it. You've forgotten about them too.
15. Purdue: Squeaking in on strength of last 5 games.
East Regional (Boston)
03. Connecticut: And now the hard part of their schedule.
06. North Carolina: Comeback vs. FSU both classic and annoying.
11. Villanova: More than just guards and a well-dressed coach.
14. Memphis: Again in the Conference USA driver's seat.
Midwest Regional (Indianapolis)
04. Louisville: Always athletic, now significantly more cohesive.
05. Duke: Even the legendary 1992 squad lost in Winston-Salem.
12. Michigan State: Suddenly the Big Ten looks competitive.
13. Butler: Newish coach and players, same outstanding result.
Also considered: Gonzaga, Providence, UCLA, West Virginia.