Notre Dame about to tip off season against Cal State Northridge

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The Notre Dame football game Saturday mercifully was scheduled for prime time. That means the men’s basketball team can open its 2021-22 season without going head-to-head against the campus’ most popular program. The opponent visiting Purcell Pavilion is Cal State Northridge, which had its only previous meeting against the Irish take place in 1994. The Matadors will come to South Bend under the guidance of interim coach Trent Johnson, who is stepping in while coach Mark Gottfried and his staff are on paid administrative leave during an NCAA rules violation investigation.

The Irish have no such problem at head coach as Mike Brey begins his 22nd season at the helm. He has yet to lose a home opener since coming to Notre Dame, but the Irish have lost two consecutive season openers after not dropping any in Brey’s first 19 years. Those losses came on the road against ranked blue bloods in North Carolina and Michigan State, so there’s a little leeway to be had. Still, the most experienced Irish team under Brey statistics-wise is unlikely to let a Big West school extend that skid without a fight.