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Staff Predictions: NCAA first rounds

Observer Sports Staff | Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sam Werner, Senior Sports Writer

After a pair of lopsided losses in Detroit, Notre Dame will need to learn how to play on the big stage in order to have any success this weekend. The Irish will have learned their lesson from big games down the stretch, and show up in Manchester ready to handle the pressure. Unfortunately, as much as the Notre Dame seniors deserve a trip to Saint Paul, this team seems to be just one year away.

Notre Dame 5, Merrimack 3

Miami 3, Notre Dame 1

 

Allan Joseph, Sports Editor

On the one hand, there’s the team that showed up for most of the season — confident, fast and far from scared. On the other hand, there’s the team that showed up once they got to the top of the conference — nervous, tight and tentative. This time, though, there’s nothing to get caught looking forward to. Irish coach Jeff Jackson will get the team past Merrimack, and the seniors will grind out a revenge win against Miami.

Notre Dame 4, Merrimack 2

Notre Dame 4, Miami 3 (OT)

 

Chris Allen, Sports Writer

This trip to New Hampshire has to feel eerily familiar to the Irish seniors. Back in 2008,  after two losses in the CCHA Championship, the team headed to Colorado Springs relatively anonymously and turned things around to get to the Frozen Four. In a similar situation, this team has a good chance of pulling off the same result. They won’t get the big-arena jitters  in Manchester and the Irish seniors will get another shot at the title.

Notre Dame 4, Merrimack 2

Notre Dame 5, Miami (OH) 4

 

Sam Gans, Sports Writer

This season is  shaping out very similar to 2008’s Frozen Four run. Just like three years ago,  I expect the Irish will win the first round, as Merrimack is playing their first NCAA Tournament game since 1988. But after watching Miami have its way with Notre Dame just one week ago, I think the RedHawks, with their strong senior class, are on an absolute mission and I don’t know if Notre Dame’s youth can handle it, especially mentally.

Notre Dame 4, Merrimack 3

Miami 5, Notre Dame 3