The Irish are set to start their toughest week of the season to date on Tuesday night against Fort Wayne. Now you’re probably thinking, “Fort Who?” Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that Fort Wayne knocked off No.3 Indiana last month. The one thing about that game was that Indiana actually traveled to Fort Wayne to play the game. It was a pro-Indiana crowd, but that didn’t change the fact that the Mastodons had the advantage of playing on their home floor.
Yes it is early, but the Mastodons are looking like one of the best mid-majors in the country. They were on the brink of a NCAA Tournament bid last season before losing to North Dakota State in the Summit League Championship game. This season they were picked to win the Summit League. You can read about them more in the game preview right here.
The second matchup of week will have the Irish square off with the defending National Champ and the current No.1 team, Villanova. The game will part of the inaugural Never Forget Tribute Classic in Newark, NJ. The other game of the event will feature Pittsburgh and Penn State.
We all know about the Wildcats. They’re one of the best teams in the country and brought back players like Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, and Kris Jenkins. Oh, and they also have one of the sport’s premier coaches in Jay Wright.
These two schools matched up frequently back in the old Big East Conference, so they should be familiar with each other’s styles of play. The Irish will have their hands full, but the Notre Dame basketball program is known for their take downs of No.1 teams. A win here for the Irish would be the exclamation point on a tournament resume. We’ll have more on them later in the week.
This week only begins what will be a tough month for the Irish. Aside from these two matchups, Notre Dame will take on Purdue and Pittsburgh. The Irish should be fully prepared for ACC play once December concludes.