June 28, 2017
By Leigh Torbin
GREENSBORO, N.C. – One of Notre Dame’s most storied competitive rivalries across all sports will renew on the basketball court this winter with conference bragging rights at stake as the Irish will travel to face Michigan in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
The contest is set for Wednesday, Nov. 29 at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Notre Dame is the only team undefeated all-time in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, winning each of its four contests since joining the league for the 2013-14 season. The ACC has never lost the event, recording a 7-0-3 record in the overall challenge and a 71-51 mark in individual contests with the Irish contributing victories over Penn State (2013), Maryland (2014), Ohio State (2015) and Iowa (2016).
The Irish lead the all-time series against the Wolverines, 11-7, with the last meeting resulting in a 70-50 Notre Dame win on Dec. 13, 2014, at the Joyce Center. Current Irish senior Kathryn Westbeld had a big game against the Wolverines as a freshman, scoring 13 points and grabbing a team-high eight rebounds.
The Irish will return four of their five regular starters from last year’s squad which won both the regular season and tournament ACC championships for the fourth consecutive year before advancing to the NCAA’s Elite Eight. The quartet of returnees includes first-team All-American Brianna Turner, NCAA Regional MVP Arike Ogunbowale, Westbeld and Marina Mabrey who closed the year with a hot month of March, earning spots on the all-tournament team for both the ACC Tournament and the NCAA Regional. Meanwhile, the 2016-17 Wolverines went 28-9, placed third in the Big Ten with an 11-5 record and went on the win the Women’s NIT championship.
Leigh Torbin, athletics communications associate director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2013. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Torbin graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. He has previously worked full-time on the athletic communications staffs at Vanderbilt, Florida, Connecticut and UCF.