NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Notre Dame men's basketball team will be part of a record number of national broadcasts by the BIG EAST Conference during the 2008-09 regular season. The Irish will appear on the ESPN family of networks (ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU) 14 times and will have two nationally-televised games on CBS Sports. In addition, ESPN's College GameDay will pay a first-ever visit to the Joyce Center on Sat., January 24 when Notre Dame plays host to Connecticut.
The Irish also will be part of ESPN's Big Monday on four occasions with three of those contests being televised at the Joyce Center.
"We were very aggressive in how we put together our basketball schedule season this season," head coach Mike Brey said. "I believe that we have one of the toughest, if not the toughest, schedule in the country. It certainly is the toughest in the history of our men's basketball program here at Notre Dame. It will challenge us from one day one and will provide great tests for us throughout the entire season. It's a great schedule for the veteran group that we have coming back this season."
Notre Dame, which enters the season riding the nation's second-longest consecutive home court win streak at 37 straight, will play 15 home games. The slate also will feature an appearance in the EA Sports Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center, November 24-26, a matchup against Ohio State in The Hartford Hall of Fame Showcase in Indianapolis, Ind., on Sat., December 6, and a visit to Pauley Pavilion on Sat., February 7.
The Irish own the BIG EAST's second-longest home win streak with 18 consecutive wins and is three wins shy of breaking the conference mark of 21 straight held by Pittsburgh. Notre Dame became the first team in BIG EAST history last season to finish undefeated at home in back-to-back seasons and the first Irish team in the 40-year history of the Joyce Center to not lose a home game in consecutive campaigns. Notre Dame's last loss at the Joyce Center was against Marquette (80-72) on February 25, 2006.
A record 45 conference contests will be carried on ESPN or ESPN2, and for the second straight year, all 144 regular-season contests will be televised. CBS Sports will carry 10 or more games involving BIG EAST teams. ESPN will continue to televise The BIG EAST Championship that will be held March 10-14 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
In total, 49 of the 144 regular-season BIG EAST games (34 percent) will be on national television with the remaining games to be carried on ESPNU, ESPN360 or ESPN Regional/BIG EAST network.
Notre Dame opens up the '08-`09 campaign at home against South Carolina Upstate on Sun., November 18 before playing at Loyola Marymount on Fri., November 21.
Following the Maui Classic, Notre Dame returns home for consecutive home games against Furman (November 30) and South Dakota (December 2). The home slate during the month of December also features contests against Boston University (December 13), Delaware State (December 20) and Savannah State (December 22).
Notre Dame opens up conference play on Wed., December 31 when the Irish travel to DePaul for the New Year's Eve tilt and then plays at St. John's on Sat., January 3.
The first BIG EAST home test of the campaign will be Notre Dame's first Big Monday showdown when the Irish play host to the Georgetown Hoyas on Mon., January 5. That contest will be followed by a home game against Seton Hall on Sat., January 10.
The second appearance for the Irish on Big Monday will take place n January 12 when they travel to Louisville in the first of two consecutive road games. After its matchup against the Cardinals, Notre Dame travels to Syracuse on January 17.
The Irish face a tough stretch when they host Connecticut (January 24) for College GameDay and then take on Marquette on January 26 for their third of the season on Big Monday.
Notre Dame closes out the month on January by beginning a three-game road stretch, when they travel to Pittsburgh on Sat., January 31. Following that contest, the Irish take on Cincinnati on February 4 and then go out of conference with matchup against UCLA on Sat., February 7 that will be televised by CBS Sports. This will mark Notre Dame's first appearance at fabled Pauley Pavilion since a 75-60 win versus the Bruins on February 28, 2004.
Coach Mike Brey's squad returns home for consecutive home games against Louisville (February 12) and USF (February 15) before back-to back road games against West Virginia (February 18) and Providence (February 21).
Notre Dame concludes the regular season by playing three of four games at home. The Irish host Rutgers on Wed., February 25 before playing its final road game on CBS Sports against Connecticut (Sat., February 28). Notre Dame hosts a Big Monday game for the third time in '08-'09 when the Irish take on Villanova on March 2. The Irish conclude the regular season at home against St. John's on Fri., March 6.