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MEN’S BASKETBALL: ND releases 2005-06 ledger

Pat Leonard | Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Notre Dame played 15 regular season games on national television last season. In the newly unveiled 2005-06 Irish schedule, the team has only six games scheduled for a national audience.

But an expanded Big East conference and the return to a competitive early season tournament make Notre Dame’s upcoming slate just as formidable.

In the new Big East, which consists of 16 teams including newcomers Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette and South Florida, the Irish will face three teams twice and ten other teams one time.

Only Cincinnati and St. John’s are missing from the Notre Dame conference schedule.

The Irish will play DePaul, Providence and Marquette all twice in Big East conference play. Other notable home games include Michigan (Dec. 3, ESPN2), Syracuse (Jan. 11), Georgetown (Jan. 24) and Villanova (Jan. 28, ESPN2) in a 16-game home slate.

For the first time since November 2000, coach Mike Brey will lead the Irish into the Wooden Classic at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, where the squad will face 2005 Sweet-16 qualifier North Carolina State on ESPN Classic Nov. 26. It will be only the seventh meeting between the two programs and the first since February 1983.

The previous and only time Notre Dame played the Wooden Classic, the Irish beat Cincinnati, 69-51.

Playing two exhibitions to open the season against Lewis and Quincy, respectively, Notre Dame will open its regular season schedule with back-to-back home games against Lafayette and Hofstra.

Following the Wooden Classic and the team’s first appearance of the season on national television hosting Michigan, the Irish will travel Dec. 7 for the first time ever to face Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Notre Dame then will return to host Florida International and go on the road to IPFW before hosting four straight home games over the Christmas break – Niagara (Dec. 21), Columbia (Dec. 23), Fordham (Dec. 28) and Wofford (Dec. 30).

Big East will begin on Jan. 4 with a road contest at Pittsburgh’s Petersen Events Center.

Notre Dame will play eight games home and eight away in the Big East, including two tough road stretches – West Virginia (Feb. 1) to Louisville (Feb. 4) and Seton Hall (Feb. 18) to Connecticut (Feb. 21).

Coaches and players could not be reached for comment Monday.