Ever seen a Friday morning news dump?
The key word here is “future,” however. With Marquette already slotted for a home-and-home game with UCLA in 2020-21 and 2021-22, the earliest that the Golden Eagles have a spot in the schedule for the Irish will be at some point in the 2022-23 season. That game will be in Fiserv Forum, while the game in the 2023-24 season will be at the Joyce Center in South Bend.
If a particular question is popping into your head at this point, I had the same one. This series is set so far down the road that when Marquette travels to South Bend for that end of things, Dexter Akanno will be the only current Golden Eagle still on the roster. To put it another way: Marquette’s leading scorer in their first game in South Bend in 12 seasons will be someone who, here in 2019, has not played a single minute for MU. Akanno along with Justin Lewis, Oso Ighodaro, and Dawson Garcia currently project as Marquette’s senior leaders on the road against Notre Dame. How ‘bout them apples.
Marquette has a current record of 37-81 all time against Notre Dame, making the Irish one of MU’s most frequent opponents in program history. If I am not mistaken, they are currently #3 in terms of the most appearances on MU’s schedules, trailing behind only DePaul and Wisconsin. UW is the current leader after the game this past Sunday with 126 meetings, although DePaul at 125 games will catch and pass the Badgers once we get to Big East play.
Notre Dame has won three of the last four meetings with Marquette, including the most recent one in the Big East tournament in 2013. At least one team in the game was ranked in the AP top 25 in each of the last five meetings in the series.
Mike Brey is still the head coach at Notre Dame, as he is currently in his 20th season on the Irish sideline. While Brey has a record of 417-206 as ND’s head coach, the move to the ACC starting with the 2013-14 season has not worked out particularly great for the Irish. After making the NCAA tournament in nine of his 13 seasons in the Big East and qualifying for the NIT in the other four, Brey has been in the NCAA tournament only half the time coming out of the ACC in six seasons. Now, in his defense, he made his first two Elite Eights as a head coach in two of those three seasons, so that’s pretty good. However, Notre Dame missed the postseason completely in two of the others. The Irish project to be a back end of the ACC team again this season, so we’ll see how that goes. I don’t think it’s completely out of the question to wonder if the 60 year old Brey (he’ll turn 61 on the Sunday of the first weekend of the NCAA tournament) will still be the head coach at Notre Dame when this series restarts three seasons from now.
I do hope he is, because Brey was one of the assistant coaches at Duke when Steve Wojciechowski was recruited to play for the Blue Devils and was in Durham for Wojciechowski’s first season of college hoops. After all, Wojciechowski’s current contract runs through the 2023-24 season after his off-season extension.
All in all, I’m happy to see the Irish back on the schedule. Mike Brey talked a lot of noise about wanting to keep Big East rivalries going after the Irish left the league for the ACC, and had specifically talked about playing Marquette again. That hadn’t come to fruition yet, so it’s nice to see Brey finally get around to putting his money where is mouth is. I had previously speculated on these digital pages that it might actually be in Marquette’s best interest in terms of an NCAA tournament resume to ditch Wisconsin and add Notre Dame while the Gavitt Tip-Off Games continue to run. That’s merely an issue of dipping into ACC strength of schedule instead of doubling up on Big Ten schedules, though, as it seems the Marquette athletic department is dedicated to keeping the Badgers on the schedule for MU no matter what.
Thoughts on putting the Irish back on the schedule? Good for Marquette? Should they have been left to rot for running off to the ACC instead of joining the Catholic Seven back in the day? Fire your thoughts off in the comments section!