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Eyeing IU

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Irish knock on Top 25's door

Notre Dame is on a roll.

The team has four wins in a row. Three of the victories during the stretch were against ranked teams, including handing then-No. 1 Syracuse its only loss of the season.

I think the résumé is good enough to earn a spot in this week’s top 25. That’s why I had the Irish at No. 24 in my vote. But Notre Dame just missed out in Associated Press men’s basketball poll, finishing 26th in this week’s list.

Louisville and Harvard return to the poll at No. 24 and 25, respectively. I had the Irish and Iowa State in my final two slots. Gonzaga and Vanderbilt dropped from the rankings.

Notre Dame (15-8, 7-3 Big East) has come a long way since losing to Indiana 69-58 on Dec. 17 in Indianapolis. Notre Dame fell to 7-5 with the loss. The team has an 8-2 record since, with five wins against ranked teams (one of those victories was a double-overtime win at Louisville on Jan. 7).

Syracuse won its first 20 games this season before falling to the Irish on Jan. 21. Notre Dame ended then-No. 15 Marquette’s seven-game winning streak on Saturday.

The Irish will get a chance to impress voters again Wednesday at West Virginia. If Notre Dame wins that game, along with Saturday’s home contest with DePaul, expect to see the Irish back in the top 25.

There were some slight changes in this week’s top 10. The top six spots (Kentucky, Syracuse, Ohio State, Missouri, North Carolina and Baylor) remain the same. Kansas moved up one spot to seventh, Florida jumped four slots to eighth and Murray State is ninth, up from 10th a week ago. Duke fell three spots to No. 10 after losing Sunday to Miami.

Michigan State slid out of the top 10, falling to 11th after losing at Illinois and beating Michigan. The Spartans have a showdown at Ohio State on Saturday.

Three other Big Ten teams are in the top 25. Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana are Nos. 21-23. I had the Hoosiers at No. 23 after losing at Michigan and beating Purdue at Mackey Arena for the first time since 2006.

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