NCAA women's tournament: Once again, they are chasing UConn

Saint Mary's is among the most surprising exclusions from the 2018 NCAA Tournament field. | L.E. Baskow  AP

Saint Mary's is among the most surprising exclusions from the 2018 NCAA Tournament field. | L.E. Baskow AP

However, through it all the most powerful message Notre Dame presented in the unenviable position of having to answer questions after such an enormous disappointment was that they still had plenty to play for.

The news wasn't overly surprising - even if the committee selected a couple of teams (looking at you Oklahoma and Syracuse) that the Irish had valid arguments over.

Baylor, Notre Dame, Saint Mary's (California) and Southern California highlight the 32-team National Invitation Tournament field released today.

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Be that as it may, the Irish - when as healthy as they appear to be right now - are one of the better teams in the country and will likely be considered a strong favorite to win the NIT by both the national media and the oddsmakers in Las Vegas.

Notre Dame (20-14) lost 88-70 to Duke in the ACC quarterfinals on Thursday. Notre Dame looked like a sleeper last week in the A.C.C. tournament and a team that could make noise in the N.C.A.A. tournament.

"It's kind of a fitting end to how our season went", Brey said. With Colson, the Irish beat Pittsburgh on Senior Night and took the No. 1-overall seed Virginia down to the wire on the road before escaping with two wins in the ACC tournament in Brooklyn over Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech. Notre Dame is also 1-4 ATS in their last five Tuesday games and 1-4 ATS in their last five non-conference games. "I know we beat (the Orange) on their floor".

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First round play is scheduled for Tuesday, March 13 and Wednesday, March 14, with the second round running March 16-19.

The first three rounds of the 2018 NIT will be played on the campuses of the higher-seeded teams (the only exception: No. 5 Washington will host No. 4 Boise State because Boise is an NCAA Tournament site).

Of that group, Alabama, Texas, Syracuse and UCLA made the field of 68 - with the latter two programs, Saint Bonaventure and Arizona State composing the tournament's "Last Four In". I think neither one of us are very happy with how things ended in Brooklyn. "I had a team that was really devastated it didn't get in [in 2005] and they lost to Holy Cross here".

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At the same time, what's more exciting: watching Trae Young possibly making incredible memories in the tournament or Notre Dame scrapping just to stay alive?

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