BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Michigan and Notre Dame aren't necessarily known for a bitter rivalry on the hardwood. It's been quite some time since the basketball programs, and football programs for that better, have played each other.
That all changes Friday night when U-M and Notre Dame square off at the Barclay's Center in the next round of NCAA Tournament proceedings. After the Wolverines knocked off Tulsa on Wednesday night, the Wolverines earned a spot to play against the Fighting Irish.
While many think of the two programs as fierce football rivals, the basketball teams can also share a little bit of that spotlight as well.
"I know I have a lot of respect for Notre Dame and the institution itself and the athletic teams that they have," U-M coach John Beilein said. "So football's been a great rivalry for years. Maybe it will be again. But I think if Mike and I, if we didn't have schedules that were so fixed right now, it would be a great game in basketball as well. It probably will be in the ACC Big Ten challenge at some point. So it's two great schools. Our young men, they have a lot of Midwest kids. We have a lot of Midwest kids. They've all played against each other. I think those rivalries probably were formed way before anybody thought it would be a Notre Dame-Michigan game. It might have been eighth grade they played against each other. So it's a great basketball game. I know that there will be a lot of people tuned in."
Beilein and Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey know each other very well over the years. With Beilein spending most of his time in the Big East with West Virginia, he had to gameplan around a Mike Brey coached Fighting Irish squad many times. Nearing almost a decade later, the two will duke it out once more.
This time, however, much more is on the line than just conference bragging rights.
"Yeah, I guess it helps him as well that we know each other pretty well," Beilein said. "I've got a lot of respect for Mike. Yeah, I know a little bit when I watched him play. I see a lot of similarities the way they played, but it was nine years ago when we did play. We recruited many of their players. They recruited many of ours. There's a lot of similarities between the programs. So in a short prep, whether it's one or two days, you've just got to go play this time of year.