NEW YORK (WDRB) -- After his Notre Dame team beat Marquette 73-65 in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament late Thursday night, Fighting Irish coach Mike Brey looked ahead to a rematch with the University of Louisville (Friday night, 9 p.m.)
The teams have split two meetings this season, with Notre Dame taking an epic five-overtime victory in South Bend, and U of L rolling to an easy 16-point victory six days ago in Louisville.
The teams have played to overtime in 8 of their past 14 meetings. U of L eliminated Notre Dame from last season's Big East Tournament, 64-50.
"Here we go again," Brey said. "When the games have been in overtime, that's when we've gotten our wins. When they've won, they've usually thumped us. I hope it's overtime. They're really good. We just played them last Saturday, and they're playing with a great rhythm, and it comes down to taking care of the ball.
"We took care of the ball last Saturday. But their half‑court defense is so good, it was so hard to get a good shot that many of the shots we took were turnovers because it was a struggle to get a good shot. That's where we're going to have to really work. First we've got to get through the wave. Last year in the semis, they turned us over in the first half and kind of broke us. So you got to get through that wave."
Expect it to be a battle of wills between Notre Dame's offense and U of L's defense. The Irish will want to make U of L defend for long stretches, running the shot clock -- and the Cardinals' defenders. U of L will look to replicate its quarterfinal performance against Villanova, in which it forced 25 turnovers and harassed the Wildcats into 36 percent shooting.
"We've got to really control tempo, and against ‑‑ you know, we've got to shoot it well," Brey said. "We didn't shoot it well (in the last two meetings). We shot it well here two nights. You've got to shoot over the top of their defense a little bit.
Notre Dame is looking for its first Big East Tournament championship before leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference next season. It'll be the second game in a heavyweight semifinal Friday of the current Big East alignment. Syracuse and Georgetown will meet in the first semifinal.
"Unbelievable. I was talking to our staff at breakfast this morning, look at the matchups today," Brey said. "They blow away any other league. Are you kidding me? Just the sounds of the matchups, and then certainly tomorrow night, I just told our guys, I said, coming out on Friday night for the semifinal game, we've been ‑‑ this is our fourth time. It's electric. I know it's the last time, and we're trying to get our money's worth out of this thing."
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