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February 7, 2013

Brey: One more year in Big East

Notre Dame’s jump to the ACC won’t happen until the 2014-15 school year.

After women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw hinted last week that the Irish wouldn’t be joining the Atlantic Coast Conference for the fall of 2013, men’s basketball coach Mike Brey stated definitively that the Big East would remain Notre Dame’s home for another year.

“We do know we’ll be in the Big East next season,” said Brey Thursday. “That decision was made last Friday, so thank God we have some direction. We will play in the Big East next year.”

Notre Dame, which announced in September its intention to join the ACC in all sports but football and hockey, will remain a part of the disjointed and ever-changing Big East, which lost West Virginia to the Big 12 this year, and loses Pittsburgh and Syracuse next season.

With the efforts by the Catholic 7 (DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova) to form their own basketball conference, it appeared that the Big East might come apart at the seams altogether.

But now those seven Catholic schools don’t appear prepared to form a conference at least until 2014.

“I feel strongly that the Catholic schools are going to be there with us, and that’s one of the reasons we decided to sit tight,” Brey said. “Could they put it together in the next six weeks? Nothing would shock me. But we feel they’re going to be in there and we’re going to be in there, so the last hurrah is going to be next year and not this year.”

Still expected to be a part of Big East basketball next school year are Cincinnati, Connecticut, and South Florida, as well as Notre Dame and the Catholic 7. Prepared to join the Big East are Conference USA affiliates Central Florida, Houston, Memphis and SMU, as well as the Atlantic 10’s Temple. Louisville also will be leaving the Big East for the ACC in 2014 while Maryland (of the ACC) and Rutgers (of the Big East) head to the Big Ten.

“Now that we know we’re going to be in the Big East, we can start to schedule our non-league stuff,” Brey said.

Non-conference games lined up for the Irish on the hardwood next year include Indiana in the Crossroads Classic, Ohio State in the Gotham Classic at Madison Square Garden, and Santa Clara in a visit to Purcell Pavilion.

“I’m okay with that,” said Brey of Notre Dame remaining in the Big East another year. “I’ve had a little buyer’s remorse on this ACC, going through the league and playing in these different buildings and wondering if it’s going to be the last (time through).”


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