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NCAA Women's Tournament Bracket: Notre Dame Fighting Irish preview

The Irish rise to the top once more.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Who? The Irish of Notre Dame.

When do they play in the first round? The Irish play Montana on Friday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

What? There are many stories explaining the name. There are fewer explaining the leprechaun.

Where? South Bend, Indiana, which does not have a coast, much less an Atlantic one.

Why? They won the Atlantic Coast conference tournament.

How? Florida State stayed close for a while, but Jewell Loyd and the Irish were too deep for the Seminoles. Loyd's 18 led four Notre Dame players in double figures in a 71-58 win.

Surprise? Predicted to finish first in the conference, they took the regular season crown, one game ahead of Florida State.

RPI: 1

SOS: 3

Record: 31-2 (15-1 ACC)

Good wins: Maryland.

Bad losses: At Miami.

Who's running this show? Muffet McGraw, since 1987, a former California Dream.

Extra, Extra! The South Bend Tribune.

It all starts with junior forward Jewell Loyd, who averages 20.6 points per game and dazzles with electric moves. But don't even think about overlooking freshman forward Brianna Turner, second on the team in scoring at 14.0 points per game and tops down low (7.8 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, 67.1% from the field).

The Irish score a lot and don't let their opponents score a lot, to put it in the most simplistic terms. Notre Dame hovers at 50% from the field for the season, while their opponents are shooting 37.6%, a substantial difference.

I'm interested to see how the two key freshmen, Turner and Kathryn Westbeld, handle the NCAA tournament.