Notre Dame was in the 2018 NCAA Tournament until Davidson upset the Atlantic 10 regular season champs Rhode Island on Sunday in the conference tournament title game. Selection committee chairman Bruce Rasmussen couldn’t have been more unequivocal.
“Notre Dame was the team knocked out by the Davidson win,” Rasmussen revealed on the TBS Selection Sunday show. “Notre Dame was a unique situation from the standpoint that they had a couple kids that they played without for part of the year, they just didn’t have enough on their resume to be in as an at-large… even with Bonzie [Colson].”
The Irish star missed 15 games after undergoing foot surgery in January. Notre Dame lost 9 of those games, including 7 consecutive from Jan. 10 through Feb. 3.
Still the program was optimistic about their chances of getting in with wins over tournament teams Florida State and Virginia Tech down the stretch and a hard-fought loss at No. 1 overall seeded Virginia in the regular-season finale. At full strength, many thought Notre Dame would be an incredibly dangerous out in the NCAA Tournament and they would have had the chance to test that thinking if not for the Davidson victory on Sunday.
However, the most frustrating element of Notre Dame’s snub might be that Syracuse made it in as an at-large team. The Irish beat Syracuse on the road on Jan. 6 without Colson or second-leading scorer Matt Farrell.