Oct. 31, 2016
The University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team begins its 2016-17 exhibition season on Tuesday, Nov. 1, when it plays host to Mercy College in Purcell Pavilion at 7:00 p.m. ET. The game with the Mavericks is the first of two exhibitions for the Irish this season, as they also will face Catholic on Monday, Nov. 7 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Here are the Five Things To Know about the exhibition opener for the Fighting Irish –
1. Mercy College Facts -
Mercy College is located in Dobbs Ferry, New York. It competes in Division II and is a member of the East Coast Conference. The Mavericks finished 13-15 last season, which was the most wins for the program since the 1992-93 season. The team also earned its first postseason victory in the ECC tournament last season. Third-year head coach Dr. Jody King is 21-33 at Mercy College.
This will be Mercy’s first visit to Notre Dame. The Irish are 32-0 in exhibition play in the Mike Brey era (2000-01 to present).
2. ACC Network Extra -
All of Notre Dame’s games this season that are not broadcast on a linear television network will appear on ACC Network Extra, including Tuesday’s contest with Mercy. ACC Network Extra is available to those that have access to the WatchESPN app or online at WatchESPN.com.
Live streams of WatchESPN networks are available at no additional cost to fans with access to each network (dependent on subscriber's TV subscription). Access to live programming on the ESPN3 channel of WatchESPN.com is available at no additional cost to fans with subscriptions to participating high speed internet service providers. Visit WatchESPN.com to see a full list of the participating service providers.
ESPN3 is also available at no cost to U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel on computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks.
3. A First Look At The Future -
Exhibition games do not count toward the team’s 2016-17 game results or season statistics. All first-year players are allowed to participate in exhibition contests but still retain a season of eligibility if they do not appear in another game during the year. Therefore, Irish fans can expect to see all three Irish freshmen in Tuesday’s game - Nikola Djogo, T.J. Gibbs and John Mooney.
Djogo, Gibbs and Mooney are all still very much in the mix for playing time this season, but Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey can play all three in Notre Dame’s two exhibition games and still preserve a possible fifth-year of eligibility later in their careers.
Sophomore forward Elijah Burns, who did appear in Notre Dame’s two exhibition games last season before being sidelined for the year with an injury, will provide Irish fans a first look at the Troy, New York native in the regular front-line rotation.
Another new face for Irish basketball fans on Tuesday will be graduate walk-on Patrick Mazza. The two-time Notre Dame Bookstore Basketball Most Valuable Player (and two-time team champion) joined the Irish in his final season on campus after two years as a member of the Fighting Irish football team.
4. New Starting Lineup -
The Irish welcome back three starters from the 2015-16 season. Seniors Steve Vasturia and V.J. Beachem, along with junior Bonzie Colson, were in the starting five for most of the team’s games last season. Vasturia, in fact, is poised to become the fourth Irish player to start in over 100 consecutive games this season.
Juniors Matt Farrell and Martinas Geben, both who saw limited minutes during the 2015-16 season, are projected to be announced among the starting five on Tuesday. Farrell started all four of Notre Dame’s NCAA tournament games last season - the first four starts of his career. He responded to average over 26 minutes, six points and three assists per game as the Irish advanced to their second consecutive Elite Eight.
Geben has focused on his development over the past two seasons, pushing all-ACC selection Zach Auguste in practice each day. The graduation of Auguste and Geben’s hard work over the offseason have pushed him into a key role on the Irish front line in 2016-17.
5. One more week of rest -
Sophomore Matt Ryan, whose 46 three pointers during his rookie season ended up as the fourth-most all-time for an Irish player in his freshman season, is close to finishing up a few weeks of rest after suffering a stress reaction in preseason camp. Ryan has been back on the court at practice recently and is expected back to full strength for the team’s season opener with Bryant on Nov. 12.
On Tuesday, Ryan is expected to sit out, but he could be back in the rotation for the second exhibition contest with Catholic on Nov. 7.