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Notre Dame Basketball

Notre Dame's Brey: April, May Madness a possibility

April 15, 2020

Maybe it will be ‘April Anarchy.’

Or perhaps ‘May Mayhem,’ anyone?

Whatever the case, Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey is certain that NCAA basketball must regain its postseason footing to cap next season after cancelling tournament play amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

Brey just isn’t at all sure what the timeframe may be – for regular- or postseason games.

“Everything has raced through my mind,” Brey said Wednesday during a Zoom video conference with media. “Do we start basketball on December 1st with games? Do we just play a league schedule? I'm just speculating. No one has said anything about that, but I think they'll figure it out to have an NCAA Tournament. We can't miss it again. Will it be April Madness instead of March Madness? Will it be May Madness if football is pushed back?

"I don't have any information. I'm trying to speculate and be ready. I'm sure the NCAA is doing that with contingency plans. We can't miss another NCAA Tournament meaning Notre Dame and also the sport in general."

Last week, Irish football coach Brian Kelly mentioned the potential of an October start and mid-December finish to the college football season. That’s one scenario that’s been discussed by coaches, athletics directors, conference commissioners and others who, per sources, have conducted a series of intra-conference and inter-conference calls in the past several weeks.

There also are models for a delayed start to the fall semester, both at Notre Dame and widespread across the collegiate landscape. Thus far, Notre Dame isn’t moving beyond its cancellation of in-person summer classes – online-only, mirroring the close of the spring semester – is targeting May 15 as a critical date to determine if select events can resume in limited capacity on campus, as well as the potential for some athletic training and possible second-session summer classes returning in some capacity to an in-person format on campus.

Meanwhile, Brey – having just concluded his 20th year atop the Irish program and a year as the president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches – simply is trying to piece together the final segments next season of Notre Dame’s non-conference schedule.

The Irish face Purdue in Indianapolis in December as half of the annual Crossroads Classic, and they also take their turn hosting a Big Ten opponent in the annual ACC-Big Ten Challenge after going to Maryland last season. Brey also may seek to secure more home-and-home series both to enhance the Irish’s schedule and also in a budget-conscious move. Many of the home “buy” games against mid-major opponents come with guarantees crowding $100,000 in some instances

“So with scheduling as well, what’s smart and what are we doing with it? We still have a couple more games to get,” Brey said. “Obviously, we’ll have Purdue down in Indianapolis, we’ll have a home game against a Big Ten opponent, which will be determined during June or July sometime. We have Vanderbilt, USC and UConn in Brooklyn at that (Legends Classic) event. We’ll play two of those three, I’m not sure who we’ll get there.

“And then don’t forget, we repeat Virginia and Duke. So the power of our schedule, don’t worry about power in our schedule.”

Notre Dame is in line to host Duke and Virginia next season after traveling to both powerhouse programs during a 2019-20 season in which the Irish finished 20-12 after beating Boston College in their ACC Tournament opener and then seeing the sports world crash to a halt on March 12.

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