Thursday, September 13, 2012

Notre Dame to the ACC: What it means for our sport

The Irish are coming! The Irish are coming!

By now you know that Notre Dame is ACC-bound, setting in motion a number of possibilities for women's basketball for the Commonwealth. Among them ....

*We're envisioning the ACC as the unquestionable top women's basketball conference in the country. Winners of the 2001 NCAA title, Notre Dame (four Final Fours, 10 Sweet 16s)  is among the premier programs in the nation, and we don't expect that to end when Skylar Diggins graduates this spring (though we admit we're disappointed that the move won't be in time for us to see Diggins in these parts this season). Speaking of, check out this snazzy intro on the Irish site.

Just how many NCAA bids are you envisioning with the Irish, Duke, Maryland, Miami, Florida State, North Carolina and Georgia State always in the mix and Virginia on the rise? (Ditto for NC State). We anticipate Virginia Tech challenging as well in the not-too-distant future. What we don't imagine is anyone sweeping a conference this loaded, and winning on the road? That's going to get even tougher.

*Could the ACC be even one better? With 15 schools currently in the fold, a 16th school is no doubt on the way. While folks are lamenting the loss of the Notre Dame/UConn rivalry, we're hoping it will continue, thinking just maybe the Huskies will be Sweet No. 16 for the ACC.

Lots of speculation is out there -- with talk of maybe Rutgers or Louisville, also. Until it happens, we'll dream of the possibilities, including the one involving the Huskies.

*What does this mean for recruiting? It's all good (an expression that originated with the NBA, by the way). The ACC schools routinely boast many of the top players in the country and the addition of Notre Dame can only mean more elite high school talent will one-stop shop at an ACC school.

*Welcome back, Beth! Former VCU coach Beth Cunningham is in her first year at her alma mater as the associate head coach. We love that Beth will be back in our state at least once a year. (Beth recalls her VCU days fondly in this video on the ND website.)

*We look forward to the crowds at McGrady Irish Pub and Trinity Irish Pub in Charlottesville and T. Flynn's and Castles Kettle and Pub in Blacksburg when the Irish are in town. After the game, enjoy some Irish stew and a cold one on us!

*New rivalries! What will they be? You tell us!

Welcome to the ACC, Notre Dame!


  1. The ACC, it would have made more sense for ND to join the Big10, a lot less travel, don't you think? Any who, I can't imagine UCONN joining the ACC, that would be a conf RPI out of this world, and a league that consistently sends 8 or 9 or 10 or 11 teams dancing every year. WOW, but is that really fair... Oh Well, the rich just keep getting richer... wink

    1. The Big10 wanted Notre Dame for all sports. The Fighting Irish were not gonna give up their football independence to join that conference.

  2. Keep in mind that Notre Dame was in the Big East, so geographic considerations don't seem to be a priority these days. Indeed, the rich get richer. The speculation about UConn has been going around for some time now, so we believe it's a real possibility. Another team will be added whether it's the Huskies, Rutgers, Louisville or another power.

  3. You can add Syracuse to the list of ACC potential bids for the NCAA tournament. They have a top 5 recruiting class coming in this year and they have some top recruits committed next year as well. Pitt was ranked in the Top 25 a couple years ago so they could possibly be another one with a future NCAA tourney bid.