Defending Atlantic Coast Conference regular season and tournament champion Virginia, in addition to perennial powers Michigan State, Duke and Syracuse, headline a 21-game home slate for the University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team during the 2014-15 campaign.
Notre Dame will play two marquee home contests at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center during the month of December. The first of those games will be on Wednesday, Dec. 3 at 7:15 p.m., versus Michigan State when the Spartans roll into town as part of the 16th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge in a game that will be televised by ESPN2. Making their second appearance in this event, the Irish dropped a 98-93 decision at Iowa in 2013.
The contest between the Irish and the Spartans will be the 95th meeting of the two Midwest schools, but the first since March 18, 1979 when Michigan State downed Notre Dame, 80-68, in the Mideast Regional final in Indianapolis, Ind. The last time the Spartans visited Notre Dame was on Feb. 5, 1975 (an 76-73 MSU victory).
“This is a great home schedule for our fans,” says head coach Mike Brey, who will begin his 15th year on the Irish sidelines this season. “The Michigan State and Florida State games at Purcell Pavilion in December are two really important contests for us. Certainly there will be a lot of anticipation for those two games early on in our season. In addition to Florida State, we also have Duke, Virginia and Syracuse coming into our building. Our home schedule is one that our fans can really get excited about.
“With 10 teams on our schedule this year that played in the NCAA tournament last season, we know that we are going to be tested. Our two games in Connecticut at the Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament against Massachusetts and Providence will be very challenging as well. Both of those schools were in the NCAAs last year, and considering the proximity of the games to each of their campuses, I expect that they will bring a lot of fans. It will be good for us to play in a tough environment.”
Notre Dame, which begins its second year as a member of the ACC, gets an early jump on the conference season when it entertains Florida State on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 8:00 p.m. The two teams met just once last season with the Seminoles earning a two-point victory, 76-74, in Tallahassee.
Notre Dame will take part in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament to open the ’14-’15 with two preliminary games as part of that event against Binghamton (Friday, Nov. 14 at 9:00 p.m.) and Navy (Sunday, Nov. 16 at 2:00 p.m.). The two headline games of this tournament will be played at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 22-23. The Irish will take on Massachusetts from the Atlantic 10 Conference at noon on the first day in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Notre Dame then faces former BIG EAST foe, Providence, the following afternoon at 2:30 p.m. That contest will mark the 27th meeting in that series with the Irish owning a 16-10 advantage. The game against Massachusetts will be shown on ESPN3, with the matchup against the Friars is slated to be broadcast on ESPN2.
Notre Dame also plays host to two first-time opponents in the season’s first month when it entertains Coppin State (Wednesday, Nov. 19 at 7:00 p.m.) and Grambling State (Wednesday, Nov. 26 at 7:00 p.m.). The Irish close out the month of November with a matchup against Chicago State on Saturday, Nov. 29.
The Irish will play seven home games during the month of December. In addition to the Michigan State and Florida State contests, Notre Dame entertains Fairleigh Dickinson (Saturday, Dec. 6 at 8:00 p.m.) and Mount St. Mary’s (Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 7:00 p.m.) before heading to Indianapolis, Ind., to square off against Purdue in the fourth annual Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind., on Saturday, Dec. 22. Brey’s squad finishes off the month with two final non-conference games at home against Northern Illinois (Monday, Dec. 22 at 7:00 p.m.) and Hartford (Tuesday, Dec. 30 at 7:00 p.m.).
The ACC regular season gets in gear when the Irish return to action after the first of the year. In the first full weekend of conference play, Notre Dame hosts Georgia Tech, the first of two meetings between the two schools, on Saturday, Jan. 3, at 2:30 p.m., and then has a quick turnaround before its next game when it travels to Chapel Hill, N.C., to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels on Monday, Jan. 5 at 7:00 p.m. The contest is the first of ESPN’s Big Monday broadcasts and will mark the lone matchup of the regular season between the Irish and Tar Heels.
“We’ll have a better feel and sense of familiarity with the teams from the ACC this season,” Brey says. “Certainly, last year was an adjustment for us and didn’t have the kind of results we had hoped for in our first year in the league.”
Defending ACC champion Virginia makes a return visit to Notre Dame on Saturday, Jan. 10 for a 6:00 p.m., tilt that will be televised on ESPN2. The Cavaliers defeated the Irish twice a year ago, included a 68-53 victory on the floor of Purcell Pavilion.
Following the matchup against Virginia, Notre Dame plays four of its final six games in January on the road. The Irish and Yellow Jackets meet for their second regular-season matchup on Wednesday, Jan. 14 in Atlanta, Ga., at 7:00 p.m. Then it’s back home against Miami on Saturday, Jan. 14 at 2:00 p.m., in a game to be televised by ESPN or ESPN2.
Back-to-back road contests will await the Irish in their next two outings as they travel to Virginia Tech on Thursday, Jan. 22 for a 7:00 p.m., matchup before heading to North Carolina State their lone Sunday night contest of the year on Jan. 25 at 6:30 p.m., on ESPNU.
Notre Dame matches up with Duke twice during the regular season. The first meeting of the season will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m., on ESPN2 at Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame defeated the Blue Devils, 79-77, at home last season in its inaugural ACC contest. The Irish then head to Pittsburgh to close out the first month of the conference schedule on Saturday, Jan. 31 at noon. Prior to last year’s 85-81 overtime setback at home to the Panthers, Notre Dame had won five straight in the series versus its one-time BIG EAST rivals.
Brey’s team opens up the month of February at Purcell Pavilion with the first of two regular-season matchups against Boston College on Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 7:00 p.m., before consecutive road outings at Duke on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 1:00 p.m. on CBS Sports, and against Clemson on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 7:00 p.m., on ESPN2.
The Duke game will be a homecoming of sorts for Brey, who was an assistant on the Blue Devils’ staff from 1987-95, when he takes his squad into Cameron Indoor Stadium for the first time ever as the Irish head coach. It will be Notre Dame’s first appearance at Cameron since suffering a 76-74 setback on Jan. 26, 1994. The game against the Tigers will mark the first-ever visit to Littlejohn Coliseum by a Notre Dame team. That road game marks the first of two regular-season matchups between the two schools.
The Irish and Wake Forest square off in their only regular-season contest at Purcell Pavilion on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 7:00 p.m., on ESPNU. Notre Dame suffered a 65-58 setback in Winston Salem, N.C., last season, and this will be just the third occasion on which the two schools have met.
Brey’s team matches up against Boston College for the second time of the regular season when it travels to Chestnut Hill, Mass., on Saturday, Feb. 21 at 4:00 p.m., before finishing off the month of February against Syracuse at home on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 8:00 p.m.
Notre Dame travels to Louisville on Wednesday, March 4 at 7:00 p.m., for its final road game of the year with ESPN2 slated to carry that contest. The Irish return home for the season and home finale against Clemson on Saturday, March 7 at 4:00 p.m.
In all, Notre Dame is scheduled to appear during the regular season 13 times on the ESPN family of networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3), once on CBS Sports and eight occasions on either the ACC Network or Regional Sports Network (RSN). RSN consists of Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Carolinas, Fox Sports Florida, Sun Sports, Fox Sports Indiana, Fox Sports Midwest, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, NESN, Yes Network, MSG Network and ROOT Sports.
All 135 regular-season ACC games and each of the 14 ACC Tournament contests are slated to be available on an ESPN network, the ACC Network, CBS Sports or the league's regional cable networks. The total of 149 head-to-head televised meetings between conference teams this year ties the league record set last season.