Notre Dame endured yet another loss -- a blowout at UCLA -- early Saturday.
Then its day actually got worse.
Because Texas subsequently lost at Nebraska, meaning the Irish's best win in a season that features few hardly qualifies as a good win anymore. Meantime, the only other NCAA tournament-caliber school Notre Dame has topped (Georgetown) also lost Saturday (to Cincinnati). And when you combine all these developments and sort through the mess the only reasonable conclusion to reach is that Luke Harangody isn't going to play in the NCAA tournament.
From preseason Top 10 to midseason WTF.
The Irish have now lost seven consecutive games to fall to 12-10, and that they didn't even show up at UCLA might be the biggest concern of all. Faced with a must-win scenario (or at least something close to it), Notre Dame fell behind big early, let UCLA shoot 55.7 percent from the field and eventually lost 89-63. If it sounds bad, that's because it was bad. And with Louisville next on the schedule there's no reason to think the Irish won't be 12-11 heading into next weekend's game against South Florida.
Bottom line, this is almost certainly done.
Even if the Irish win every remaining home game (including the one against Louisville) and split at West Virginia and Providence before losing at Connecticut, they're going to have 13 losses on Selection Sunday unless they somehow win the Big East tournament. Put another way, even the best-case scenario (within reason) has them with 13 losses, and because they won't have the quality wins to offset such a number, this Notre Dame team is set to go down as the biggest disappointment of the season, which is awful because there sure were high hopes back in August.
I remember talking to Mike Brey by phone on a Sunday afternoon last Fall.
It was the weekend before he took his team to Ireland for a preseason tour of exhibitions, and at the time he almost laughed about how ridiculous his schedule would be, though he seemed confident he had a team of veterans capable of handling it. I agreed. But as it turns out, we were both wrong, way more wrong than either of us could've imagined, because now the Irish are sitting here with a 12-10 record, and nobody is laughing anymore.