May 4, 2016

The University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team has bolstered its out-of-conference schedule for the 2016-17 season. The Irish will take part in the inaugural Never Forget Tribute Classic, a NCAA men’s basketball doubleheader set for Dec. 10, 2016, at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., and face defending national champion Villanova (noon ET, CBS).

“Taking on the defending national champion and a program of Villanova’s caliber will be a great thrill and challenge for us early in the season,” Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said.

“We also are honored to participate in an event that will benefit the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund.”

The inaugural doubleheader will benefit the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, which provides education assistance for postsecondary study to financially needy dependents of the people killed or permanently disabled in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The Irish and Wildcats will tip off at noon ET on CBS, leading into the network’s annual coverage of the Army-Navy football game at 2:30 p.m. ET. Intrastate rivals Pittsburgh and Penn State will be the second game of the doubleheader to be broadcast on CBS Sports Network at 2:30 p.m. ET. Tickets can be purchased through, by phone at 800-745-3000, at all Ticketmaster outlets and at Prudential Center’s box office.

The Never Forget Tribute Classic adds another trip to the east coast for the Irish in 2016-17. Notre Dame will join NCAA Championship participants Texas and Colorado, along with 2015-16 20-game winner Northwestern in the Legends Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. November, 21-22, 2016, part of a tournament field which also will include Eastern Washington, Bryant, Louisiana Monroe and Seattle.

The 2016-17 Notre Dame men’s basketball schedule continues to take shape, but will not be finalized until late summer/early fall. The team’s ACC opponents for the upcoming season have been announced previously. Notre Dame will face Boston College, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Louisville in home and road games, Clemson, Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia and Syracuse at home, then take the road to Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh.

Notre Dame – Villanova series notes: Former BIG EAST Conference rivals, Notre Dame and Villanova have met 35 times, with the Wildcats holding a slim 18-17 lead in the series … the Irish won three in a row over Villanova: 93-72 on Feb. 28, 2011 at home, 74-70 in overtime at the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia, Pa., on Feb. 18, 2012 and 65-50 at the Joyce Center on Jan. 30, 2013 … the 2011 meeting saw the Irish hit a school-record 20 three pointers in the contest, ending up 20-32 from behind the arc (62.5%) … the 2012 meeting marked one of the signature rallies of the Mike Brey era, as the Irish rallied from a 19-39 deficit to defeat Villanova 74-70 in overtime … then a freshman, Pat Connaughton hit seven three pointers for 21 points in the 2012 rally, helping the Irish hit nine of their final 12 three point field goals … the Irish are 2-1 all-time at the Prudential Center, all of those previous games vs. Seton Hall … Notre Dame is 7-4 against the defending national champion in the Mike Brey era … the Irish have won four in a row vs. a defending national champion (two wins vs. Duke in 2016, vs. 2012 champion Kentucky on 11/29/2012, and vs. 2011 champion Connecticut on 1/29/2012).