Mike Brey and the Notre Dame men’s basketball squad are looking to get back to the NCAA Tournament next season, and to help get there they are skipping the dramaless preseason exhibitions that typically precede the regular season.
The Irish will still have a tuneup game against a weaker opponent from the smaller divisions in college basketball, but they’re also planning a scrimmage against Big East power Cincinnati.
According to a report from Tom Noie of the South Bend Tribune, Notre Dame will meet Cincinnati for a closed scrimmage in Indianapolis sometime during the preseason. It will be the first time Brey and Notre Dame have scheduled such a preseason test against a team that regularly appears in the NCAA Tournament.
Brey and Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin remain close since their days as rivals in the Big East. And both programs will test their young rosters early with this matchup.
Notre Dame was the first team out of the NCAA Tournament in the 2017-18 season thanks to major injuries to several key contributors. Cincinnati made the Big Dance as a No. 2 seed, but was upset by Nevada in the Round of 32.
NCAA rules require both teams to trade one of their exhibition games to hold one of these closed-door scrimmages. Nobody outside of personnel essential to conducting the scrimmage is allowed to be present when it takes place.