Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2022

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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40 FEBRUARY 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED MEN'S BASKETBALL BY PATRICK ENGEL M ike Brey held out hope. Reports surfaced five days ahead of Notre Dame's Jan. 1 home game ver- sus Duke that the contest would not be played due to the Blue Devils' CO- VID-19 issues, but for about 48 hours the ACC gave no official word the game was called off. Brey ended his press conference after a 68-67 win over Pittsburgh Dec. 28 hoping the league's silence meant there was a chance the No. 2 team in the country would make its trip to South Bend as scheduled. "We may play a game Saturday, I hear," Brey said. "Stay tuned." The ACC's press release the follow- ing afternoon, though, squashed his optimism and threw the Irish's chance at a marquee conference win up in the air. Notre Dame and Duke did not play on New Year's Day and will attempt to make up the game. Tickets from the original game will be honored for the makeup, if it happens. The omicron variant has given CO- VID-19 a renewed grip on college basketball in December, and with it, postponements and cancellations felt inevitable. It was only a matter of time before the virus dealt Notre Dame's schedule a haymaker. The Dec. 30 women's basketball game at Virginia was also postponed because of the Cav- aliers' COVID-19 issues. Now the question is how long Notre Dame can hold off an outbreak within its own ranks. That ability may largely be rooted in luck, but it's worth not- ing none of the Irish's eight cancella- tions last year were due to their own COVID-19 problems. What's clear, though, is that sched- ules will carry a feeling of instability amid the virus's surge. Every game feels tentative. Notre Dame received an un- welcomed reminder of it. Last season's mass cancellations serve as a warn- ing that makeup games for every side- swiped contest are far from guaranteed. If Notre Dame and Duke can't re- schedule the game, the Irish would lose their best opportunity to enhance their résumé in conference play. At No. 2 in the Associated Press top 25 and No. 6 in KenPom, the Blue Devils are the highest-ranked team on Notre Dame's schedule. The rest of the ACC, mean- while, has just four teams in the Ken- Pom top 50 and none in the Associated Press poll. There is some hope a team's CO- VID-19 pauses won't last quite as long as last year. The CDC announced Dec. 27 it is shortening the quarantine and isolation recommendations for people who test positive for COVID-19 from 10 days to five. That means last year's two-week stoppages for teams with outbreaks could now last less than one week if conferences update their virus protocols to align with the CDC's ad- justment. The SEC has already reportedly done so. The ACC has not yet announced any changes. Even with some adjusting, though, "stay tuned" is the proper perspective to keep with schedules for now. ✦ 2021-22 NOTRE DAME MEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Result/Time (ET) Nov. 13 Cal State Northridge W, 68-52 Nov. 16 High Point W, 70-61 Nov. 22 vs. Saint Mary's# L, 62-59 Nov. 23 vs. Chaminade# W, 90-64 Nov. 24 vs. Texas A&M# L, 73-67 Nov. 29 at Illinois L, 82-72 Dec. 3 at Boston College* L, 73-57 Dec. 11 Kentucky W, 66-62 Dec. 18 vs. Indiana% L, 64-56 Dec. 20 Western Michigan W, 85-62 Dec. 22 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi W, 83-73 Dec. 28 at Pittsburgh* W, 68-67 Jan. 1 Duke* Ppd. Jan. 5 North Carolina* (ESPN2) 9 p.m. Jan. 8 at Georgia Tech* (ACCN) 6 p.m. Jan. 12 Clemson* (RSN) 9 p.m. Jan. 15 at Virginia Tech* (ACCN) 6 p.m. Jan. 17 at Howard (FOX) 2:30 p.m. Jan. 22 at Louisville* (ESPN/2/U) 4 p.m. Jan. 26 NC State* (RSN) TBA Jan. 29 Virginia* (ACCN) 6 p.m. Feb. 2 at Miami* (RSN) 7 p.m. Feb. 5 at NC State* (ACCN) 3 p.m. Feb. 9 Louisville* (ESPN2/U) 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at Clemson* (ACCN) 7 p.m. Feb. 16 Boston College* (ESPN2/U) 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at Wake Forest* (RSN) 1 p.m. Feb. 22 Syracuse* (ESPN/2) 9 p.m. Feb. 26 Georgia Tech* (ACCN) 5 p.m. Mar. 2 at Florida State* (ESPN2/U) 7 p.m. Mar. 5 Pittsburgh* (ESPN2/U/ACCN) TBA Mar. 8-12 ACC Tournament$ TBA # Maui Invitational at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas; % Crossroads Classic at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis; * ACC game; $ at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.; ACCN — ACC Net work; ACCNX — ACC Network Extra; RSN — Regional Sports Networks COVID-19's Grip On Basketball Season Is Still Strong Head coach Mike Brey and the Fighting Irish received a reminder that COVID-19 wreaking havoc on schedules is still a reality. PHOTO BY COREY BODDEN

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