The Notre Dame Fighting Irish released their 2017-18 non-conference schedule Thursday night, with a trip to East Lansing to take on the Michigan State Spartans as a part of the ACC/Big 10 Challenge as the highlight.
Apart from what I am expecting to be another tough ACC conference schedule, Notre Dame will take a variety of past and new opponents in their non-conference slot.
Notre Dame’s 2017-18 season will officially tip-off on Remembrance day (November 11th, 2017) after hosting a pair of exhibition games against the Bethel Royals and Cardinal Stritch Wolves.
Notre Dame will be heading to Chicago to start their season, taking on a struggling DePaul Blue Demons team that went 9-23 overall in 2016.
The Irish will then host the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers and the Chicago State Cougars before heading to the Central Pacific for the 2017 Maui Invitational.
The “Golden Domers” will be playing in their first Maui Invitational since 2008 and will be accompanied by many powerhouse schools, such as the Michigan Wolverines, the Wichita State Shockers, the California Bears, the LSU Tigers, the VCU Rams and the Marquette Golden Eagles.
The Maui Invitational will be anything but easy, considering the teams that will be in attendance. Last year, Michigan was a late season blooming team that won the Big 10 and went toe to toe with the Oregon Ducks in the Sweet 16, while the Wichita State Shockers are the favorite to win the American Athletic Conference after making the move from the Missouri Valley.
While the Maui Invitational tournament will be tough, it has the potential to be a great resume builder.
Following what will be an intense opening season tournament in sun rich Maui, Notre Dame will have eight days to prepare for the Michigan State Spartans who struggled last year, finishing 20-15 overall.
But don’t let that record fool you. The Spartans are a basketball power house and like the Duke Blue Devils or the Kentucky Wildcats, they attract some of the nations best prospects every year.
The last time these two teams squared off against each other was back in 2014, in which the Irish came out on top, beating the Spartans 79-78 in over time. Don’t be surprised if this years match-up has a similar narrative.
After a tango with the Spartans, Notre Dame will host both the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers and the Ball State Cardinals, as well as a road trip to Delaware to face the Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens.
Notre Dame will then face the Indiana Hoosiers at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse before closing out their non-conference schedule against the Dartmouth Big Green and the Southeastern Louisiana Lions.
Indiana is under new leadership, with Archie Miller leading the Hoosiers after a great run with the Dayton Flyers, taking them to the Elite Eight in 2014, while also earning two regular season conference titles, and amassing 75 wins from 2013-16.
On paper, Notre Dame has the potential to beat every team in their non-conference schedule. While upsets happen from time to time, Notre Dame needs to win 90% of their games against the smaller school teams, come out on top against either Michigan State or Indiana and win a couple of games in the Maui Tournament before ACC play starts.
– R. Scarfone