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Looking At Notre Dame And Northern Iowa As Dark Horses For National Title

We have a little less than a month left in the NCAAB season and the dark horse contenders are beginning to emerge in Notre Dame and Northern Iowa.

Notre Dame and Northern Iowa are hovering in the top 15 and neither were expected to to go very far back at the beginning of the season and preseason.

Last year, Notre Dame went 15-17. Meanwhile, Northern Iowa was pegged to play in the shadow of their division rival Wichita State all season.

Northern Iowa handily defeated Wichita State on Jan. 31 and are now ranked No. 13 in the AP rankings. Notre Dame has gotten back guard Jerian Grant and have become one of the biggest offensive forces in the NCAA.

The Fighting Irish are shooting from over 50 percent from the field and at around 40 percent from behind the arc. They have hung in their with the best of them, in large part, thanks to Grant who is averaging 17 points a game.

Grant’s performance is also opening up the court, as three other Fighting Irish are also averaging over 10 points a game.

The problem with Notre Dame is that they are just hanging in there. Recent losses to Duke, a team they previously beat, Pittsburgh and the No. 2-ranked Virginia put real question marks on the Fighting Irish’s ability to compete at a national title level.

Northern Iowa only has two blemishes on their record. They center their game around six-foot-eight senior Seth Tuttle who averages nearly 16 points a game, seven rebounds and 3 assists.

This team went 16-15 last season and are in rout to their first NCAA tournament run in five years.

The question of this teams validity come down to their schedule. The only ranked opponents they have faced, and likely will face, is district foes Wichita State.

The future odds have Notre Dame as 20/1 to win the national title, the seventh best odds in the NCAA. Northern Iowa’s odds are a dismal 75/1, but this could simply be because there is not a lot of basketball action surrounding the mid-western school.

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