Notre Dame vs. Hampton: 2018 NIT First Round Preview

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

And he even had the preternatural sense to recognize the exact moment that Notre Dame's chances might have been sunk.

Baylor, Notre Dame, Saint Mary's (California) and Southern California highlight the 32-team National Invitation Tournament field released today. Only three of the teams in the 2018 field appeared in the NIT in 2017.

Notre Dame's bubble finally burst on Sunday night when the official NCAA Tournament brackets were revealed.

USC, Notre Dame, Baylor and Saint Mary's grabbed No. 1 seeds for the National Invitation Tournament after their NCAA bubble burst, and Louisville, Oklahoma State, Middle Tennessee and OR joined them in the 32-team field. After three days of speculation about whether or not the Irish would get the benefit of the doubt from the committee now that they are nearly back to full strength, we found out Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell would not get one more chance to lead the Irish on a tournament run.

"I am absolutely thrilled that we played our way into the field, given where we were in January and early February". I guess they had a better strength of schedule and that got them in.

Coach Mike Brey called it a "fitting" chapter to Notre Dame's frustrating season.

"I love Tommy Amaker", Wojciechowski said.

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For the first time in his four years at Notre Dame, New Bedford's Bonzie Colson II won't play in the NCAA Tournament. Senior guard Matt Farrell also was sidelined for five games with an ankle injury.

Syracuse is likely the most surprising of that group based on Bracketology talk leading into the tournament. "He's done a fantastic job at Harvard and we know that they're really good, and so it's going to be a very hard game".

There are some other really fun possible matchups, too.

How have the Fighting Irish been playing as of late?

The victor of the Notre Dame - Hampton game will face the victor of No. 4 Penn State vs.

"We held a team meeting and discussed where we wanted to take the future of this team", senior forward Martinas Geben said. With that being said, the Pirates have been one of the hottest teams since the New Year. "It's nearly kind of a fitting end to kind of how our season (went)".

Notre Dame, making its 13th appearance in the NIT, will play Hampton in the first round.

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