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How much did Notre Dame benefit from being at home?

The other day, we had a roundtable of SB Nation bloggers to discuss the matter of playing on home courts during the NCAA Tournament in which they all offered opinions from the perspective of their school on the matter.

Mark Seymour of SB Nation's Baylor site Our Daily Bears didn't participate in that roundtable, but found cause to add his voice to the chorus of people criticizing the NCAA's decision to grant regional rounds to schools after Baylor's 88-69 loss to Notre Dame in the Elite Eight.

Tonight, Notre Dame clearly benefited from playing at home, in front of a crowd composed almost entirely of their fans, with refs cowed by the atmosphere.  Their coach said as much in the interview at halftime.  I couldn't hear her since the interviews weren't broadcast, but I'm betting Mulkey said in the post-game.  It's not coincidence that Baylor ended up losing by 19 points a game in which they shot 15 fewer free throws, were called for 8 more fouls (most of which were beyond awful), and lost their second-best player, Nina Davis, with nearly seven minutes to go in the game.

My point in all this is that Notre Dame was a #1 seed in this Tournament.  They didn't need the help.  But because of the NCAA's ridiculous system, they got it.

Of course, things will change next year with regionals being held at neutral sites. And we probably have to acknowledge that Notre Dame is a good team no matter where they play. But as a matter of principle, yes: regional final games in a tournament should be held on neutral courts. Even Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw can agree with that point, as Seymour alluded to.

For more on Baylor's path through the tournament, check out our Notre Dame region storystream.