Notre Dame draws Duke as repeat hoops opponent

TOM NOIE
South Bend Tribune

Denied a chance by the Atlantic Coast Conference to rekindle a memorable rivalry that developed during its latter days in the Big East, Notre Dame instead was handed the league’s gold standard program as one of its four repeat opponents for the 2014-15 men’s basketball season.

The ACC announced repeat opponents and home/away league games for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons late Tuesday morning.

Notre Dame again will play 18 league games — nine at home, nine on the road — with four repeat opponents. The two permanent repeats — teams Notre Dame will play every year — remain Boston College and Georgia Tech. The rotating repeaters this season are Clemson and perennial power Duke. In 2015-16, Notre Dame’s rotating repeaters are Miami (Fla.) and Wake Forest.

Tip times and specific dates and television information will be finalized later this summer.

Louisville joins the ACC on July 1 to replace Maryland, which moves to the Big Ten.

The Irish and Cardinals meet only once — at KFC Yum! Center — in 2014-15 before the Cardinals visit Purcell Pavilion in 2015-16.

Prior to Notre Dame’s departure from the Big East, seven of its 13 conference matchups with Louisville went to at least one overtime. One stretch featured four straight games and five of six of at least one overtime.

The teams also played the longest regular-season game in Big East history — five overtimes — on Feb. 9, 2013.

In its inaugural ACC season, Notre Dame repeated last season with North Carolina and Virginia, which was picked to finish fourth before winning the league at 16-2. Notre Dame was 3-5 against its four repeats last season.

Picked in preseason to finish fifth, Notre Dame fell to 13th with a 6-12 league record. That included a 5-4 mark at home and 1-8 on the road, with the win coming at Boston College. The Irish were 15-17 overall, the first time since 1998-99 they finished with a losing overall record and did not qualify for any postseason play.

Notre Dame makes its first-ever trip to Clemson, S.C., in 2014-15. The teams met for the first time in February in South Bend, a game the Irish won 68-64 in double overtime.

Drawing Duke as a repeat opponent — the Irish beat the Blue Devils in their first-ever ACC league game Jan. 4 at Purcell Pavilion — means a trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium for the first time since Jan. 26, 1994.

Notre Dame is 3-19 lifetime against Duke, including 0-6 in Durham, N.C.

Notre Dame will not play one of the three fellow league newcomers/former Big East schools (Louisville, Pittsburgh, Syracuse) as a repeat in any of its first three ACC seasons. Pittsburgh is a permanent repeat opponent of both Louisville and Syracuse.

l 2014-15 NOTRE DAME ACC OPPONENTS

Repeat opponents: Boston College, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Duke

Home games: Florida State, Miami, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Virginia

Road games: Louisville, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech

l 2015-16 NOTRE DAME ACC OPPONENTS

Repeat opponents: Boston College, Georgia Tech, Miami, Wake Forest

Home games: Louisville, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech

Road games: Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Syracuse, Virginia

Sherman shines

For the second-straight spring, a former Notre Dame power forward found the Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational Tournament to his liking.

In the pre-NBA draft tournament that concluded over Easter weekend, former Irish power forward Garrick Sherman earned a spot on the 12-member all-tournament team after averaging 19.6 points and 7.6 rebounds in 29.6 minutes over three tournament games. Sherman saved his best for his final game. He scored 22 points, including 10-of-11 from the free throw line, and grabbed 10 rebounds in 31 minutes. His Portsmouth Sports Club team finished 1-2.

Sherman averaged career highs for points (13.5), rebounds (7.3) and minutes (28.6) for the Irish this past season. He was one of two former ACC players to earn all-tourney honors joining Duke’s Andre Dawkins. Former Marquette center Davonte Gardner was named tournament most valuable player.

Former Irish power forward Jack Cooley earned all-tournament team honors in Portsmouth in 2013.

Former Irish guard Eric Atkins also competed last weekend at Portsmouth. He averaged 6.3 points, 7.6 assists and 1.3 steals in 28.3 minutes as his K&D Rounds Landscaping team finished 1-2. Atkins’ best game was a nine-point, 10-assist effort in 27 minutes in a loss to Sherman’s Portsmouth Sports Club team.

Atkins averaged a career-best 13.9 points with 4.8 assists in 37.8 minutes a game his senior season, when he was named team MVP.

Atkins and Sherman are both expected to play professionally in Europe next season.

Returning guard Jerian Grant and Notre Dame will play repeat Atlantic Coast Conference games against Boston College, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Duke in 2014-15. (SBT File Photo)