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Notre Dame’s Mike Brey on mentor and new ACC rival Mike Krzyzewski: ‘He likes to eat his young’

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Notre Dame coach Mike Brey coached at Duke under Mike Krzyzewski for eight seasons nearly two decades ago. He went to four Final Fours and won two national titles with the Blue Devils.

So now that Notre Dame is in the ACC with Duke, Brey and Krzyzewski will be seeing a lot more of each other again and trying to get the best of one another on the court. Of course the topic came up when reporters were talking with Brey this week at ACC media days.

"He's in this league?" Brey joked when asked about competing against his old friend and old boss. "I think we're going to have fun with this."

Brey said he and Krzyzewski talked this summer about Notre Dame joining the conference. He said Krzyzewski hasn't wanted to play his friend since Brey left Duke. They met once in 2002 and Duke won.

"I certainly owe a lot," Brey said. "Mike was a great mentor and still a good friend. I also know he likes to eat his young. So I'm fully aware of what I'm getting into."

Brey said he also suspected he wouldn't have to wait long in the conference season to get his first taste of going up against Krzyzewski as a conference rival. The ACC didn't disappoint, sending Duke to South Bend for the first conference game of the year in early January. Notre Dame will not play at Cameron Indoor Stadium this season.

"I think it's funny how TV and the ACC office loves drama and that's our first league game January 4," Brey said. "I told our staff, 'You do know we're playing Duke first.' This was a month before the schedule came out."

On a related note, Krzyzewski said earlier this year that he believes Notre Dame should have been required to join the conference in full instead of being allowed to play only five football games in the conference each season. He stood by his opinion when asked about the issue again this week.

"As a traditionalist — nothing against Notre Dame — I think everybody in the conference should be the same," Krzyzewski told the Chicago Tribune. "That's all I said. If someone wants to make a big thing about that, they can make a big thing about it. If you disagree, you disagree with it. To me, it makes sense. That's all. And it's done. So what the hell are we going to do about it?"

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