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Notre Dame To Host Two Defending Champions In A Span Of Only Seven Days

Nov 28, 2012, 10:19 PM EDT

Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame

With students and fans constantly buzzing over the incredible season put together by the Irish football team, excitement seems to be in abundance around campus lately. As fans begin to turn to the hardwood, it is safe to say that they have plenty of reasons to keep that excitement at the same high level. To say that the upcoming seven days will be an exciting time for Notre Dame basketball fans would be an understatement.

Both the Irish men’s and women’s basketball teams will play host to defending national champions in a span of only seven days. First, the Irish men will welcome the Kentucky Wildcats to Purcell Pavilion on Thursday, and then next Wednesday the Irish women will host Baylor in a rematch of the 2012 championship game.

As the Irish men prepare to take on the Wildcats before a Purcell Pavilion crowd donning their “blackout” attire, it appears to be a fitting time to take a look back at the team’s history against reigning championship teams. The Irish hold an all-time record of 11 wins against 26 losses against defending champions. The first time the Irish took on a defending champion was all the way back in 1941, when they lost a low scoring affair to Wisconsin, 43-35. The most recent encounter they have had with a defending champion was a 50-48 victory over Connecticut, just last January.

Notre Dame has played Kentucky on five separate occasions when the Wildcats were coming off of championship seasons and has only come away with a win in one of those games–a 64-51 victory at home in 1950. However, things may be looking up heading into Thursday night’s showdown. The Irish have found some recent success against teams defending their title, with a record of 6-4 in their past ten tries. Notre Dame, which has certainly been recognized for its hard to match home success in recent years, also sports an all-time record of 7-7 when these contests have been played in South Bend.

Playing a team coming off a NCAA tournament victory will always serve as a unique challenge, and Kentucky will be no exception to that. One thing is for certain though, Irish fans should relish the opportunity to dress themselves in black and come out to support their team against such a storied foe. And after the Wildcats have headed back to Lexington, the excitement will continue as two basketball powerhouses collide when Baylor comes into town to challenge the Fighting Irish women’s basketball team on Dec. 5.

About In The Paint

Welcome to In The Paint, the official blog providing in-depth and exclusive access to the Notre Dame basketball programs. With features, videos, photos, commentaries and news from inside the Purcell Pavilion, we are committed to bringing you coverage of the Fighting Irish unlike any you can find elsewhere.

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