Sept. 18, 2003
Notre Dame, Ind. –
A visit to fabled Pauley Pavilion in late February for a meeting with UCLA, a matchup at the Joyce Center against in-state rival Indiana in December, and 12 national television appearances highlight the Notre Dame men’s basketball schedule for the upcoming 2003-04 campaign.
The Irish return three starters and seven monogram winners from last year’s squad which finished with a final record of 24-10 and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1987. On the Notre Dame slate this season will be seven teams that earned a berth in the ’03 NCAA tournament field.
In addition to the matchup against the Hoosiers on Wed., Dec. 10, Notre Dame’s 16-game regular-season home slate also will include visits by defending national champion Syracuse (Sat., Jan. 17), Kentucky (Sun., Jan. 25), defending BIG EAST regular-season and tournament champion Pittsburgh (Sat., Feb. 7), Connecticut (Mon., Feb. 9) and Geogetown (Wed., Mar. 3).
CBS Sports will televise four of the Irish’s contests. Notre Dame’s first appearance on the network will be against Kentucky, while the remaining three games will be on the road – Connecticut (Sat., Feb. 21), UCLA (Sat., Feb. 28) and St. John’s (Sat., Mar. 6) at Madison Square Garden. ESPN will televise three home games – Indiana, Connecticut and Seton Hall (Sat., Feb. 14) – as well as two road games against Pittsburgh (Mon., Jan. 12) and Syracuse (Mon., Feb. 16). The Irish will appear on ESPN2 three times when they travel to Marquette (Mon., Dec. 1) and entertain Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
Fourth-year head coach Mike Brey and the Irish will open up the season by playing eight of their first 10 games at the Joyce Center where they posted a glossy 14-2 mark a year ago. Notre Dame faces Northern Illinois in the season opener on Mon., Nov. 24, followed by a first-ever meeting with Mount St. Mary’s (Sat., Nov. 29). The Irish will then travel to Milwaukee, Wis., to take on ’03 Final Four participant Marquette. In addition to the matchup with Golden Eagles, six other contest are slated for the month of December. Notre Dame faces ’03 NCAA tournament participant Central Michigan on Sat., Dec. 6, followed by the Indiana game.
Notre Dame travels to Chicago, Ill., for a Sun., Dec. 14 matchup against DePaul before closing out the month of December against American (Sun., Dec. 21), Quinnipiac (Tue., Dec. 23) and Morehead State (Sun., Dec. 28).
The Irish open up the BIG EAST season at home on Wed., Jan. 7 against West Virginia and then play back-to-back road games against Villanova (Sat., Jan. 10) and Pittsburgh. The matchup against the Wildcats on the road will be Notre Dame’s first visit to the Philadelphia, Pa., area since February 8, 2000. Three of the remaining five games in January will be played at home – Syracuse, Kentucky and Miami (Wed., Jan. 28). The two road games will be against Virginia Tech (Tue., Jan. 20) and Rutgers (Sat., Jan. 31).
Notre Dame starts off the month of February on the road at Boston College (Wed., Feb. 4) before its longest home conference homestand of the season versus Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Seton Hall. Those three games will be followed by road games at Syracuse and Connecticut. Providence visits the Joyce Center on Tue., Feb. 24 for the final home game in February before the Irish head to Los Angeles, Calif., for a non-conference matchup with UCLA on Sat., Feb. 28. The Irish and the Bruins will be meeting for the first time since Dec., 20, 1995. Notre Dame has not visited Pauley Pavilion since the 1994-95 season.
The Irish entertain Georgetown in their final home game before facing St. John’s in the ’03-’04 regular-season finale at Madison Square Garden.
“Our philosophy has always been to put together a demanding schedule to get our team ready for the postseason,” Brey says. “Without question, this year’s schedule is going to rank as one of the toughest in the country and is one that is going to challenge our players throughout the entire season. I’m pleased that 12 of our games will be televised nationally. That certainly is a tremendous reward for our players and our program and a credit to the success that we have had the last three years.”