In one of the most exhilarating games thus far of the 2015 March Madness men’s college basketball tournament, Notre Dame fell to undefeated Kentucky in the final seconds of the Elite Eight faceoff. Despite the heartbreaking 66-68 loss, the Fighting Irish should be remembered for much greater accomplishments during the 2014-2015 season.
In their first official season as a member of the ACC, the Notre Dame men’s basketball team dominated their new conference with relative ease. The Fightin’ Irish took home the ACC Conference championship title after winning all three playoff games by a significant margin, the closest game being their first matchup with a 7-point victory over the Miami Hurricanes.
Notre Dame only saw six losses during the entire season, a relatively impressive statistic considering this also included 32 victories. Of those six losses, half of the winning teams finished with a #4 ranking or higher, and two of those teams currently remain in the NCAA tournament and will play in the upcoming Final Four games.
Additionally, the close score of Notre Dame’s recent game against Kentucky is overwhelmingly impressive due to the Wildcats’ still undefeated season and their overall dominance of college basketball this season in addition to their long-standing reputation as being a powerhouse in NCAA basketball. Notre Dame led Kentucky a good majority of the game, constantly keeping the score within very reasonable control and never allowing it to slip more than a few points in either direction.
The Fightin’ Irish are also one of two teams that have lost to the Wildcats by only two points. A vast majority of Kentucky’s victories came by a very large point margin, most being well above a ten point spread.
Entering the March Madness tournament as a #3 seed, Notre Dame certainly met expectations, and possibly even exceeding in their game against Kentucky. Being knocked out in the fourth round of the tournament by the No. 1 team in the country is certainly nothing to be disappointed by.
The Wildcats are a team anyone in the league would be challenged, honored, and most of all terrified to match up against. Notre Dame certainly put the Fight in Fightin’ Irish during their 2014-2015 basketball season and it will be interesting to see what the upcoming years bring for their program. A team that played the way the Irish did against Kentucky is one which will continue to draw attention from the crowds as well as potential recruits.
*Section Photo credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports; Featured Photo (above) credit to Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports