Road To Final Four Would Be Challenging One For Irish
The matchup was just waiting to be made and then Stephen F. Austin came along to spoil it.
As soon as the 2016 NCAA Tournament bracket came out, a potential high-octane matchup between third-seeded West Virginia and sixth-seeded Notre Dame was anticipated. Then, Thomas Walkup and the 14th-seeded Lumberjacks showed up in Brooklyn and knocked the Mountaineers out in the first round.
The Irish had to hang on for a one-point victory over Stephen F. Austin in round two before going on to their second straight Elite Eight run.
Here we go again.
A potential matchup between Notre Dame and West Virginia is again looming in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament in the West Region.
The Irish (25-9) must get by a Princeton (23-6) squad that could be its mirror in many ways in a 5-12 matchup that is always prone to upsets. That game will kick off the Round of 64 with a 12:15 p.m. (EST) tip on CBS. #4 West Virginia (26-8) will follow against #13 Bucknell (26-8), the champion of the Patriot League.
Notre Dame and West Virginia won’t be looking ahead, especially after last season, but there is a decent chance of the matchup missed last year coming to fruition this year for the right to go to the Sweet 16 on Saturday afternoon.
If the Irish are able to get out of the first weekend in Buffalo, N.Y., they’ll be headed out to San Jose, Calif., for the round of 16, where they would likely be matched up against the #1 seed in the West, Gonzaga, a team that has only lost one game all season.
And if this is the year the Irish want to break through and make it to the Final Four, they could have to get past one of the hottest teams in the country to do so, second-seeded Arizona, which enters the Tournament fresh off a Pac-12 Tournament title run.