I’ve mocked Notre Dame for not playing enough road games. It’s as if coach Mike Brey has taken a page from the Jim Boeheim school of scheduling — that is, NEVER LEAVE HOME.
Brey did not schedule a single out-of-conference road game this season. I believe the NCAA Tournament selection committee should downgrade teams that schedule that way. Plus I think it’s no way to prepare for league play; you need to play on the road in hostile environments.
Despite what I think, the Irish are suddenly an excellent road team, especially last week when they won at Miami and Virginia Tech. Brey is an underrated coach, and his teams play unselfish offense and at least try hard on defense.
It also helps to have a guard like Steve Vasturi, who is the personification of a glue guy but has also made some big baskets in the clutch. The Irish have a bunch of versatile offensive players such as V.J. Beachem and Bonzie Colson, which makes them hard to defend.
The road doesn’t get any easier this week as the Irish head to Tallahassee to play Florida State.
Looking back on the last week on college basketball:
ELEVATOR GOING UP
Charleston: C of C has emerged as the threat to UNC Wilmington in the CAA with a seven-game winning streak, including its first six league games.
Florida: The Gators have won seven in a row and are 5-0 in the SEC. A tough trip to South Carolina awaits this week. Kentucky comes to Gainesville Feb. 4.
Illinois State: Doug Collins’s alma matter is in first place in the Missouri Valley after beating Wichita State, 76-62, to win its seventh straight.
Mississippi State: Ben Howland’s team is showing some life with six wins in seven games and is now 12-4. The Bulldogs won consecutive road conference games for the first time since 2001.
Mississippi Valley State: Jerry Rice U ended a 15-game losing streak by winning its first game (over Alabama State, 73-70), then backed that up with an 84-77 win over Alcorn State.
New Hampshire: The Wildcats are 11-6, and the last time their record was that good was 1973-74. Groovy, huh?
UNC Greensboro: The Spartans have thrust themselves into the Southern Conference race by winning at East Tennessee and following that up with a win over VMI. The Spartans are 14-5 and 5-1. It’s the best start for the program since 1995-96 and equals its win total from last season.
Samford: A three-game winning streak might not seem like much, but for Samford, it’s the first time it has happened in Southern Conference play since 2005-06. The Bulldogs are 13-6 overall and 4-2 in the league.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks are 4-0 in the SEC, their best start since 1997 when they won their only regular-season title. Dead ahead: Florida comes to Columbia, followed by a trip to Lexington, Ky., on Saturday.
TCU: Jamie Dixon’s first season coaching his alma mater can already be labeled a success. His team beat Texas and Kansas State to get to 14-3 and has already surpassed last season’s victory total. The win over Texas was the first in Austin since 1987, when Dixon was a player for TCU.
ESCALATOR GOING DOWN
Clemson: The Tigers looked like they’d be a factor in the ACC after a nine-game winning streak. Now, they’re on a four-game losing streak, including a stinker at Georgia Tech.
LSU: The Bayou Tigers have lost five of six, including three home games.
Oklahoma State: A month ago, after a win at Wichita State, things were looking really good for the Pokes. Now? Not so much. They’ve lost their first five games in Big 12 play.
Pitt: It’s been an awful eight days for the Panthers, whose season has taken a turn for the worse with three straight losses: Syracuse (77-66), Louisville (85-80), and Miami (72-46).
Temple: The Owls have been something of an enigma, beating Florida State and West Virginia but losing to the likes of George Washington and by 24 points to Central Florida. They’ve lost five of their last six and have a trip to league leader Cincinnati next.
Xavier: A tough week on the road for X as it got vaporized at Villanova, 79-54, and then lost at Butler. With three home games coming up, it’s time for the Muskies to assert themselves for the big rivalry game at Cincinnati Jan. 26.
THIS WEEK’S FINAL FOUR: UCLA, Kansas, Villanova, Florida State.
Duke has dropped out because it lost to Florida State and Louisville (both road games), and seems to be feeling the effects of various injuries, the absence of their coach, and some hyped freshmen who are talented but maybe not as good as advertised. Despite its loss at North Carolina, I’m still high on Florida State.
THIS WEEK’S NATIONAL CHAMPION: UCLA. The Bruins swept Colorado and Utah. Offensively, they’re a beautiful thing to see.Joe Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeSullivan