Notre Dame and Xavier both looked lost as they pushed into conference play. Instead, both teams figured out how to regroup from some rough times to make it back to the NCAA tournament.
The seventh-seeded Fighting Irish (22-11) and the 10th-seeded Musketeers (21-12) meet Friday in the South Regional. Notre Dame has overcome a season-ending injury to Tim Abromaitis and an 11-8 start to return to the NCAAs for the third straight year.
Xavier was a top-10 team before an ugly brawl against crosstown rival Cincinnati put the Musketeers into a tailspin. They lost 5 of 6, and alternated wins and losses through all of February. But they reached the final of the Atlantic 10 tournament last week and returned to the NCAAs for the seventh straight season.
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