Notre Dame is also playing impressive ball after making a run to the Elite Eight the last two seasons. At 23-8 (12-6 ACC), Mike Brey has the firepower to make waves again this year. This might be the best defensive team the Irish have put together under Brey, and the offense has still ranked among the top 20 in efficiency all season.
After starting as the top-ranked team in the preseason, the Duke Blue Devils find themselves in something of a funk right now. Though they’ve lost just eight games — including the season finale in Chapel Hill — seven of those have come in conference play. Grayson Allen has had an up and down year, fading from last season’s more consistently great play. When he’s on, he’s on; but he’s had some bad nights over the last month, averaging just 6.8 points per game in his last five, which is well below his 14.5 season average.
Harry Giles’ preseason injury contributed to Duke’s identity struggles, but Luke Kennard’s emergence has saved the Blue Devils’ season. Kennard is one of the country’s most efficient scorers, and he’s been the team’s lone constant amid an otherwise dervish of a season.
Cleveland entered free agency with more than $105 million to spend this offseason, and has already added Kenny Britt to revamp the league’s 30th-ranked passing offense. The Browns could bring in Cutler to serve the role the since-released Josh McCown held the past two seasons. With all signs pointing toward the Browns selecting a young, developmental passer through the draft, the former Bear could be the next in a long line of seat warmers to patiently wait for Cleveland to dismantle its latest first-round QB.
Cutler could be the latest quarterback to have his dream of a late-career comeback ruined by the Rube Goldberg machine of despair called the Browns. The franchise is currently deciding whether it should cut or trade Osweiler and is also on the precipice of losing dynamic wideout Terrelle Pryor.