Men's Hoops Schedule Finalized

UCLA and the Chicago Invitational Challenge serve as preparation for another competitive Big East slate

The following is a release from Notre Dame Sports Information:

Fighting Irish Release 2009-10 Men's Basketball Schedule

Slate highlighted by 20 home games, including date with UCLA, at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A total of 20 home games at the new Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center highlight the 2009-10 Notre Dame men's basketball schedule. Highlighting the home schedule is a Dec. 19 showdown with storied rival UCLA.

The Fighting Irish will have nine of their 31 regular-season contests aired on national television. Included in those dates is an ESPN Big Monday home showdown with Syracuse on Jan. 18. The UCLA game, along with a clash at Georgetown on Feb. 27, will be broadcast by CBS. For the third straight year, all 144 BIG EAST regular-season league games will be televised.

A total of eight teams on Notre Dame's 2009-10 schedule qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season, including Final Four members and BIG EAST foes Connecticut and Villanova. Notre Dame will once again play an 18-game BIG EAST Conference schedule. The Fighting Irish will face league rivals Cincinnati, Connecticut and USF twice during the season.

The Irish will first hit the floor at the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center with an exhibition contest against Lewis on Sunday, Nov. 1. The Irish will conclude their preseason schedule at home against Quincy on Nov. 6.

The regular season opens with five straight home tilts for the Irish at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. North Florida (Nov. 14), St. Francis (Pa.) (Nov. 16) and Long Beach State (Nov. 19) all will visit the new home of the Fighting Irish during the first week of the campaign.

Notre Dame will welcome in Liberty (Nov. 22) and Kennesaw State (Nov. 24) as part of the Chicago Invitational Challenge. The Irish will conclude that event at UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Ill., against Northwestern on Nov. 27 and then either Iowa State or Saint Louis on Nov. 28. This will be Notre Dame's first appearance in the Chicago Invitational Challenge, which began in 2006.

The Fighting Irish will be at home during the entire month of December as they play host to seven games, beginning with Idaho State on Dec. 1. Central Florida (Dec. 6), IUPUI (Dec. 9) and Loyola Marymount (Dec. 12) visit Notre Dame prior to the showdown with UCLA.

It will be the 48th meeting all-time between the Fighting Irish and Bruins and the 23rd at Notre Dame. Undoubtedly the most memorable game in the series, which dates back to 1952, occurred at the Joyce Center in 1974 as Notre Dame topped UCLA, 71-70, to snap the Bruins 88-game win streak. This will be the Bruins first visit to Notre Dame since the 2005 season. Last season, the Bruins topped the Irish in Los Angeles, Calif. UCLA holds a 28-19 advantage in the series, but both teams have split the 22 encounters at Notre Dame. The last Fighting Irish victory against UCLA came in 2004.

A meeting with Bucknell (Dec. 22) and the BIG EAST regular-season opener against Providence (Dec. 30) will round out the calendar year for the Irish.

The BIG EAST ledger gets into full swing in January, beginning with trips to Connecticut (Jan. 2) and USF (Jan. 5). Five of Notre Dame's eight games during the month take place away from home. Notre Dame has a brief return to campus to play West Virginia on Jan. 9 before hitting the road to take on Cincinnati on Jan. 16.

A two-game home stand against Syracuse (Jan. 18) and DePaul (Jan. 23) precedes road tilts at Villanova (Jan. 27) and Rutgers (Jan. 30) to close out the month. The match up with the Orange marks the fifth time the Irish have appeared on Big Monday in the past two seasons.

Notre Dame will play host to Cincinnati (Feb. 4) and USF (Feb. 7) in early February before traveling to Seton Hall (Feb. 11). The Fighting Irish return home to take on St. John's on Valentine's Day.

The Fighting Irish will close out the regular season with a difficult five-game stretch. Following a trip to Louisville (Feb. 17), Notre Dame plays host to Pittsburgh (Feb. 24) and then heads back out on the road to face Georgetown (Feb. 27) for its final game in February.

Notre Dame and Connecticut will meet in the final regular-season home tilt for the Irish on March 3. The Fighting Irish will conclude their regular season at Marquette on March 6.

The 2010 BIG EAST Championship will be held March 9-13 in New York's Madison Square Garden. Top Stories