Notes: Notre Dame men will make basketball road trip to Delaware in December

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

One game will break two rules of Notre Dame coach Mike Brey's non-conference scheduling philosophy during the 2017-18 college basketball season.

Entering his 18th season in South Bend only a dozen wins shy of becoming the winningest coach in program history, Brey has long held true to two scheduling beliefs: never play teams coached by his former assistants and never play a non-conference road game against a mid-major program.

Both those rules get tossed out the window on Saturday, Dec. 9 when Notre Dame visits Delaware, the place where Brey got his college head coaching start for a program now run by former Irish point guard and long-time assistant Martin Ingelsby.

It will be the first-ever visit by Notre Dame to Newark, an hour southwest of Philadelphia.

Delaware announced final plans for the game late Friday morning.

“Will be an awesome day for our program,” Ingelsby told the Tribune in a text message from the Phoenix area, where he is attending the Final Four. “Really great of Coach to do it.”

Brey spent five seasons as the Delaware head coach, where he went 99-52 with back-to-back first-place finishes in the America East and consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. He was hired by Notre Dame from Delaware in the summer of 2000.

Ingelsby spent seven seasons as an Irish assistant coach (2009-16) after five as the program's coordinator of basketball operations. He is the fifth Brey assistant to leave Notre Dame to become a head coach. Brey has played only one – Lewis Preston (Kennesaw State in 2012).

Delaware was 13-20, 5-13 in the Colonial Athletic Association during Ingelsby’s first season. His staff at Delaware also includes former Irish small forward Torrian Jones (assistant coach) and video assistant Pat Rogers (director of basketball operations), both Notre Dame graduates.

Brey enters the 2017-18 season with 382 wins at Notre Dame, 12 shy of breaking the mark of 393 set over 20 seasons by Digger Phelps.

Going to Delaware early next season will mean a busy early non-league stretch for Notre Dame. The Irish are scheduled to play in the 2017 Maui Jim Maui Classic during Thanksgiving week. The first full week of December - which includes the trip to Newark - also is typically the same time frame for the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Notre Dame is scheduled to play a road game as part of the challenge this season. The specific date and opponent is usually released around Memorial Day.

Notre Dame has not played a true non-conference road game outside of a conference commitment (ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Big East/SEC Challenge) since 2011-12. That year, Notre Dame closed a home-and-home series with Gonzaga with a 73-53 loss in Spokane, Wash.

Delaware visits Notre Dame in 2018-19.

A close eye

Former Irish point guard Demetrius Jackson has had to juggle a lot in his first season as a professional while bouncing between the NBA (Boston Celtics) and the Development League (Maine Red Claws).

Jackson still kept close track of how the Irish fared during the 2016-17 season, which would have been his senior year had he not turned pro.

Jackson sat with former Irish teammate and Massachusetts native Zach Auguste in the first row behind the Notre Dame bench for the Feb. 14 game at Boston College.

“It was such a great year and fun to watch,” Jackson said. “I was proud to see how they played.”

Jackson also said he often “talked smack” with some of his Red Claw teammates like guard Marcus Georges-Hunt, who played collegiately against Jackson and the Irish at Georgia Tech.

Jackson has kept in regular contact with former Irish swingman V.J. Beachem.

“I was talking with V.J. the other day about how when we were seniors in high school, exchanging text messages and wanting to do great things together in college,” Jackson said. “What those guys accomplished this season was really, really special.”

More schedule stuff

Long before Notre Dame had a chance to earn a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championship on the last day of the 2016-17 regular season (it finished in a three-way tie for second), the Irish repeat/home/road league opponents for 2017-18 were already set in stone.

As has been the case since Notre Dame joined the league, Boston College and Georgia Tech remain as permanent repeat opponents.

Notre Dame also has home-and-home games in ’17-’18 against North Carolina and North Carolina State.

Home games only for Notre Dame will be against Florida State, Louisville, Miami (Fla.), Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech.

Road games only will be against Clemson, Duke, Syracuse, Virginia and Wake Forest.

The Irish have won 14, 11 and 12 league games and earned league tournament double-byes over the last three seasons. Next season will be the last that ACC teams play 18-game league schedules. The conference moves to a 20-game league slate in 2018-19.

Notre Dame’s official schedule usually is finalized around Labor Day.

Chef Phelps?

Former Notre Dame men's basketball coach Digger Phelps was a sideline success during his 20 seasons in South Bend, where he remains the winningest coach in Irish program history.

Can he find similar success in the kitchen? We're about to find out.

Phelps is one of four former college basketball personalities taking part Sunday in "The Chef's Classic," a golf/cooking Final Four special that airs at 5 p.m. on WSBT-TV.

Phelps recently competed in the Phoenix area, site of this weekend's men's Final Four, along with former UCLA coach Jim Harrick, former USC standout Paul Westphal and former Duke standout Shane Battier. The show called for the four to play a five-hole golf scramble at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., then compete in a kitchen cook-off while assisted by four well-known chefs.

Phelps and the others competed for cash prizes to be donated to their charity of choice. Phelps donated his winnings to South Bend's Logan Center.

tnoie@ndinsider.com

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