NOTRE DAME, Ind. - As Notre Dame men's basketball fans eagerly await a new era in the program's 109-year history with its entrance into the Atlantic Coast Conference, they'll not have long to wait for one of the league's most storied teams to pay a visit to Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
Head coach Mike Brey and his Irish squad will usher in 2014 and the new conference on Saturday, Jan. 4 when four-time national champion Duke comes to Purcell Pavilion to tip off the 18-game conference regular-season slate. The contest will be televised by CBS Sports at 4:00 pm (ET) and is one of 15 regular-season games that will be televised nationally throughout Notre Dame's 2013-14 campaign.
"It's funny how the ACC and television worked to get that one scheduled as our first conference game," Brey says with a laugh. "I know that our fans our going to be excited to have the Blue Devils in our building. Even though our student body is still on Christmas break for that game, it's going to be an electric atmosphere in our building on that day."
The Blue Devils ventures to South Bend riding an 11-game win streak against the Irish who have been victorious just twice in the 17 previous meetings between the two schools. Duke owns a 4-2 record all-time at Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame's last win against the Blue Devils was a 70-66 overtime victory at home on February 15, 1987.
The matchup between the two schools will reunite Brey with his former mentor, Mike Krzyzewski. Brey was an assistant under the Hall of Fame coach for eight seasons from 1988-95 at Duke and is 0-2 all-time against his former boss. Notre Dame and Duke last played on March 16, 2002 in Greenville, S.C., where the Irish dropped an 84-77 decision to the defending national champions and then number-one ranked Blue Devils in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
As a head coach, Brey owns a 32-41 record all-time against schools from the ACC and is 32-36 versus teams that currently comprise the league.
A matchup with North Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 8 at noon on the ACC Network also will prove to be one of Notre Dame's most anticipated home contests. This will mark the Tar Heels' fifth trip to Purcell Pavilion where they are 3-1 all-time. Notre Dame's last win at home against North Carolina came on Feb. 1, 1987 when the Irish toppled the top-ranked Tar Heels 73-61.
The game also be the first of two matchups between the schools. Notre Dame's closes out its regular season with an ESPN Big Monday showdown in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Monday, March 3 at 7:00 pm (ET).
"I'm really looking forward to playing in the ACC and the new challenges that we are going to face," Brey says. "Once our season ended last year, I talked with our returning guys about building on the regular-season success that we had as a member of the BIG EAST Conference and carrying it into the ACC. `Can we translate our success that we had into the BIG EAST into the ACC?' That's what I'll be talking about with our team in the preseason and throughout our non-conference schedule."
Notre Dame will have the luxury of playing its first two ACC contests at home. Following the matchup against Duke, the Irish play host to North Carolina State as the Wolfpack travel to South Bend for the first time since 1982.
In addition to the Tar Heels, Notre Dame also will play Boston College, Georgia Tech and Virginia twice during the regular season.
A visit to McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta, Ga., on Saturday, Jan. 11 at noon to take on the Yellow Jackets will mark Notre Dame's first-ever ACC road game and will be televised by the ACC Network. The series' second matchup will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 24 as Georgia Tech travels to Purcell Pavilion for the first time since Feb. 24, 1990.
The Irish host Virginia on Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 9:00 pm (ET) on ESPNU in just the second-ever visit to Notre Dame by a Cavalier team. A trip to the JPJ Arena in Charlottesville Va., on Saturday, Feb. 22 in a nationally-televised broadcast on either ESPN or ESPN2 at 2:00 pm (ET) rounds out the two-game series between these two teams.
Notre Dame and Boston College renew their rivalry when the two teams meet for the first tine on Saturday, Feb. 1 at noon on the ACC Network. The two former BIG EAST foes will play for the second time 15 days later when the Irish travel to Conte Forum for a 6:00 pm tilt on ESPNU on Sunday, Feb. 16.
The game with the Eagles leads off a three-game road stretch that also includes contests at Miami (Wednesday, Feb. 19) and Virgnia.
Also making appearances at Purcell Pavilion during the ACC regular season will be Virginia Tech, Clemson and Pittsburgh. The Hokies last played at Notre Dame on Feb. 22, 2003 when they played in the BIG EAST Conference and the Irish handily defeated their former conference foe 98-76 on that day. The Irish are scheduled to meet Virginia Tech on Sunday, Jan. 19 at 6:00 pm (ET) on ESPNU.
The matchup with Clemson on Tues., Feb. 11 at 7:00 pm (ET) on the Regional Sports Network will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools. The Tigers are the only ACC team Notre Dame has never faced.
Pittsburgh, which is also beginning its first year in the conference, faces the Irish the first time as ACC foes on Saturday, March 1 at 2:00 pm (ET) in a game that will be televised by either ESPN or ESPN2.
Notre Dame will play single games on the road against Maryland, Florida State, Wake Forest, Syracuse and Miami.
Brey, a Rockville, Md., native makes his return home on Wednesday, Jan. 15 when the Irish play the Terrapins at 7:00 pm (ET) on ESPN2 at the Comcast Center.
Notre Dame returns to the Carrier Dome to face the Orange of Syracuse on Monday, Feb. 3 at 7:00 pm in what will be the first of two appearances for the Irish on ESPN's Big Monday.
The Irish play the Seminoles and Demon Deacons in back-to-back road contests in the month of January. Notre Dame plays at Florida State on Tuesday, January 21 at 8:00 pm (ET) and then at Wake Forest on Saturday, January 25 at 3:00 pm (ET). The ACC Network will televise both of those games.
Following its final ACC regular-season game at North Carolina on March 3, Notre Dame could potentially have at least 10 days off before traveling to Greensboro, N.C. for the 61st annual ACC Tournament.
While Notre Dame's inaugural ACC season will certainly provide many challenges for this year's Irish, the non-conference slate once again will prove difficult and prepare the Irish for the rigors of league play.
"I really like our non-conference and how it will challenge us and set us up for the grind of the ACC regular season," Brey says.
Notre Dame will open the season with six home games at Purcell Pavilion where the Irish are 117-9 (.929) at home since 2006-07. Brey's squad faces Miami (Ohio) in the season opener on Friday, November 8.
Following that contest, the Irish will play Stetson (Nov. 10), Indiana State (Nov. 17), Santa Clara (Nov. 22), Army (Nov. 24) and Cornell (Dec. 1).
Notre Dame first road test of the season will be at Iowa as the Irish make their Big Ten/ACC debut in Iowa City, Iowa against the Hawkeyes of Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. That contest is the first of three games against Big Ten opponents on the Irish slate.
"Our game against Iowa is going to provide our veteran squad a gauge as to where we are at as a team early in the month of December," Brey says. "They (the Hawkeyes) are coming off a great season (runner-up in the NIT) and Fran McCaffery terrific group of returnees. It will be a great environment for us to play in that night."
Notre Dame will participate in the Gotham Classic and will host Brey's former school, Delaware on Dec. 7, Bryant (Dec. 9) and North Dakota State (Dec. 11) in regional matchups with the event's showcase pitting the Irish against Ohio State on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 7:30 pm at Madison Square Garden on ESPN2).
The matchup against the Blue Hens will be the first time Brey has faced Delaware in his 13-year tenure at Notre Dame.
"I hear they're be sending a charter plane from Newark (Delaware) and bringing Blue Hen fans in for that game," Brey says with a chuckle.
The third Big Ten foe on Notre Dame's schedule is Indiana. The Irish face the Hoosiers for the second time in three years at the third annual Crossroads Classic (part of a doubleheader) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind., on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 3:15 pm on ESPN.
"The Crossroads Classic has become a powerful day of college basketball in the state of Indiana," Brey says. "The energy in that building that past couple of years has been amazing. "I love the event and I love that we've extended the contract. "With four Indiana guys (sophomore Austin Burgett and freshmen V.J. Beacham, Demetrius Jackson and Austin Torres, we've target this event when recruiting players from the state of Indiana."