Watch: Jon Rothstein lists Notre Dame 40th on preseason countdown

Happy with this ranking, Irish fans?

At the time of this writing, we have exactly 40 days until the college basketball season begins. That mean CBS Sports insider Jon Rothstein has been counting down what he believes are the top programs in the country this season. Rothstein started at 45, so he’s fairly early in the countdown. Still, Irish fans will be pleased to hear that their team has claimed the 40th spot:

When you consider where the Irish were at the start of last season, this is quite the leap forward. Just swap out Blake Wesley for J.J. Starling, and you really do have pretty much the same team that made it to last year’s NCAA Tournament. The returning core of Nate Laszewski, Dane Goodwin and Cormac Ryan is getting a lot more respect than it previously did, and it undoubtedly is because of Mike Brey’s coaching that they’ve taken such giant steps. Here’s hoping those players can ascend even higher this year.

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Joe Lunardi gives Notre Dame one of final byes in latest Bracketology

The Irish have to be pretty pleased right now.

While the baseball team has extended Notre Dame’s current athletic season, there’s no reason not to look to the next one. The men’s basketball team already is as it officially began workouts for the 2022-23 season Tuesday morning:

As if being back together wasn’t exciting enough for the players and coaches, there was another reason for them to have an extra pep in their step. Earlier in the day, Joe Lunardi of ESPN unveiled his latest Bracketology, and it was good news for the Irish. Lunardi now projects them as earning one of the final four byes in the 2023 NCAA Tournament and also moving up from where they were previously. The Irish now would be the 11th seed West Regional and face Michigan, which dropped from the previous projections, in the first round.

All of this is combined with [autotag]Blake Wesley[/autotag] only days away now from realizing his NBA dreams. There’s no reason for the Irish not to be all smiles right now. Wouldn’t you agree?

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Notre Dame announces nonconference schedule for 2022-23 season

Notre Dame is eager to build on the success it had during the 2021-22 season.

Notre Dame is eager to build on the success it had during the 2021-22 season. It won two NCAA Tournament games, and [autotag]Blake Wesley[/autotag] became the program’s first one-and-done player after being drafted by the San Antonio Spurs. For the 2022-23 season, the Irish are returning most of their players and have another freshman with high expectations in [autotag]JJ Starling[/autotag]. We now know how their season will start in that they have released their nonconference schedule.

After everything the Irish accomplished last year, opponents will know not to take them lightly. [autotag]Mike Brey[/autotag] has recaptured his old magic, and that means a team that should continue to get better. All of this means some quality basketball will be played, and that means a product worth the money paid by the fans who come out to see them. After a Nov. 2 exhibition against New Orleans-based NAIA opponent Xavier, here’s who the Irish will face before playing an ACC schedule that promises even more excitement:

UNC lands as one-seed in updated ESPN Bracketology

The UNC basketball program lands as a one-seed in the updated ESPN Bracketology projections.

While we are seven months away from the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the ‘way-too-early’ projections for the 2023 bracket are already out.

For the UNC basketball program, the expectation is a No. 1 seed and a Final Four appearance. The Tar Heels return four starters from last season’s National Championship runner-up appearance and add a very good recruiting class in addition to grad transfer Pete Nance.

With the expectations sky high, the Tar Heels have been a lot of analyst’s top-ranked team heading into the preseason.

This week, ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi released his updated bracket and had the Tar Heels as a one-seed, behind Gonzaga – who was the top overall seed.

Lunardi had UNC in the East Region playing 16-seed Winthrop in the first round. A potential matchup of Purdue or USC would await North Carolina in the second round.

Other notable teams in the East region are projected to be two-seed Tennessee, three-seed Texas and four-seed Villanova.

The other ACC program in the East is Notre Dame, slated to meet St. Mary’s in the First Four matchup as 11-seeds.

In total, there are seven ACC teams projected in the field, tied for most with the Big Ten, SEC and Big 12.

The other ACC programs are: Duke (3-seed), Virginia (5), Miami (8), Virginia Tech (9), Florida State (11-play in) and Notre Dame (11-play in).

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Mike Brey question answered in The Athletic mailbag

Like what the Irish might have in store?

[autotag]Mike Brey[/autotag] proved once again this past season that he could lead Notre Dame to success when given the right collection of talent. By advancing out of the First Four of the NCAA Tournament and then making the round of 32, Brey made the Irish one of the feel-good stories in the early part of March Madness. But what about the Irish going forward?

Eamonn Brennan of The Athletic sought to answer that question posed by a reader as part of a mailbag. The full version only is available to subscribers, but here is what Brennan thinks about Brey:

“It would appear Brey is brewing up a refined version of what he is basically always trying to brew up: an experienced team with at least four (and ideally five) shooters on the floor, punctuated, if possible, by NBA potential. [autotag]Blake Wesley[/autotag] is gone, sure, but bringing in combo guard [autotag]JJ Starling[/autotag] is a coup, particularly because Starling can just vibe while the rest of a very experienced team coming off an excellent postseason handles the rest. Notre Dame will probably be very good on the offensive end, just OK on the defensive end, fun to watch, and not very much fun to play.”

If that’s what we have to look forward to beginning in November, reserve your seats at Purcell Pavilion now. The good times indeed have returned to the Irish.

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ESPN Bracketology: UNC basketball keeps one-seed in updated bracket

UNC basketball is a one-seed in the updated ESPN Bracketology as it remains one of the top teams heading into the 2022-23 season.

The College basketball season is still nearly four months away and March Madness is eight months away but that hasn’t stopped the predictions for what the NCAA Tournament bracket will look like.

In the updated ESPN Bracketology, the UNC basketball program sits as a one-seed following a lot of movement from other teams. The Tar Heels sit as the top seed in the East Region.

The other No. 1 seeds include Gonzaga, the top seed, Kentucky and Houston.

Some notable programs in the East Region include No. 8 Michigan State in a potential second round matchup, No. 2 Texas, No. 3 Arkansas and No. 4 Villanova. The Tar Heels are matched up against Northern Kentucky in the first round.

The Tar Heels return four starters and all of its rotation pieces from last season when they made a deep run all the way to the National Championship game, falling to Kansas by three.

UNC also dipped into the transfer portal and replaced star forward Brady Manek with Northwestern transfer forward Pete Nance. Nance comes to UNC after 14.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. He also shot 45.2 percent from three a season ago.

Other notable ACC programs are No. 3 Duke and No. 5 Virginia. In total, there are six ACC teams projected in this field, with Florida State listed in the First Four Out.

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Notre Dame to play Maryland in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Looking forward to this matchup?

Notre Dame will welcome Maryland to Purcell Pavilion this upcoming season for the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge. It should be one of the better matchups in this year’s iteration as both programs are coming off Sweet 16 appearances. The Irish have the slimmest of leads in the all-time series, 5-4. The teams last met during a 92-victory in the 2014 edition of this event.

The Irish have a 7-1 all-time record in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. A win in this game, which will be played Dec. 1, would make the Terrapins the second program they’ve beaten twice in this event alongside Iowa. The other Big Ten opponents to fall to the Irish are Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State.

While this game is worth looking forward to, it will be far from the all-time series’ highest stakes. Twice, the Irish have downed the Terrapins in the NCAA Tournament. The first time happened in the 2012 regional finals, and the second during the 2014 national semifinals.

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Report: Shawn Stiffler hired as Notre Dame baseball coach

Like the hire?College World Series

With Link Jarrett moving within the ACC to Florida State, Notre Dame needed a new coach to build upon its College World Series berth. Less than three weeks after the end of the 2022 season, the Irish appear to have found their man. According to Matt Fortuna of The Athletic, VCU coach [autotag]Shawn Stiffler[/autotag] has been tabbed as the Irish’s next coach.

Stiffler just completed his 10th season as Rams coach, accumulating a 352-207 record during that time, including a 42-20 record in 2022. Stiffler has led the Rams to the Atlantic 10 Tournament title and the NCAA Tournament in each of the past two years and in 2015. They also won the regular-season title in 2019, and Stiffler was named the conference’ coach of the year.

During Stiffler’s tenure, the Rams produced four All-Americans, five Freshman All-Americans and 43 all-conference players. Here’s hoping that success will carry over against the arguably tougher competition that will come with this new job.

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Three more Diamond Hogs to transfer portal, making seven off last year’s team

Arkansas will likely have to use the transfer portal to find a catcher as none remain on the roster.

Arkansas baseball currently has no catchers on its roster.

Starter Michael Turner has exhausted his eligibility. Top reserve Dylan Leach transferred to Missouri earlier in the week. And now, third-stringer Max Soliz is into the portal, as well.

Soliz’s entry is one of three transfer portal entries Arkansas has had this week. Pitchers Gabe Starks and Heston Tole also join him there. Tole announced on Tuesday he would transfer to Texas.

Starks’ and Soliz’s destinations are not yet known. All three players were part of Arkansas’ NCAA Tournament team and traveled to the College World Series, though only Starks played in the tournament.

Toles worked 14 1/3 innings with a 3.77 earned-run average and 20 strikeouts. Starks pitched 11 2/3 innings, striking out 18 with a 4.63.

Soliz played in five games with one start, at designated hitter. He had 10 plate appearances, going 2 for 9 with an RBI, two runs and a walk. His exit, combined with Leach’s and Turner’s likely means coach Dave Van Horn will examine the portal for catchers.

Arkansas’ 2022 recruiting class is ranked No. 5 in the nation by Perfect Game, but according to that site, none of the incoming players are catchers.

Hagen Smith and Brady Tygart get shot with Team USA

Arkansas freshmen Hagen Smith and Brady Tygart have the stuff to play for the national team.

Hagen Smith and Brady Tygart weren’t just two of the better freshmen on the Arkansas baseball roster this season. They were two of the better freshmen in the country.

As such, Smith and Tygart have been invited to tryout for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. Twenty-six players will be selected for Team USA and will play games next summer, starting June 9, against Japan, Italy, Cuba, Netherlands and Curacao.

Smith spent most of the season as a weekend starter for the Razorbacks during his first college season. He recorded 90 strikeouts with a 4.66 earned-run average of 77 1/3 innings.

Tygart had 51 strikeouts and a 3.82 ERA in 37 2/3 innings as he spent a bulk of the year as Arkansas’ closer.

Team USA will be coached by Mike Bianco. Bianco led Ole Miss to the national championship earlier this month after the Rebels were the last team to get an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.