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Irish ready for top five showdown with MSU Thursday

The last time a Top-5 Notre Dame team played another Top-5 opponent, Digger Phelps took a 3rd ranked Irish squad to Freedom Hall to play #2 Kentucky in 1979{ } // WSBT 22 Photo

The 5th ranked Notre Dame men's basketball team will have the national spotlight all to themselves Thursday, when they visit #5 Michigan State in the final game of the ACC-Big Ten challenge.

"It’s a pretty focused group," Mike Brey said. "They’ve been in big games; they’ve delivered in big games. It doesn’t get much bigger than this against a great opponent.”

No it doesn't.

This is as big of a regular season game as Notre Dame has played in a generation!

The last time a Top-5 Notre Dame team played another Top-5 opponent, Digger Phelps took a 3rd ranked Irish squad to Freedom Hall to play #2 Kentucky in 1979 (KY won 86-80).

The Irish are coming into the game off of a top-ten win, over then 6th ranked Wichita State.

But Michigan State provides an even bigger challenge.

"It's a little bit similar to the Wichita State preparation, but I think they're Wichita State on steroids," Brey said. "They are barreling downhill on you in their offense, and they are all over the back-board, and then they guard the heck out of you in the back court. That is what we faced in Maui last Wednesday. But now you're dealing with a home atmosphere."

A challenging atmosphere for sure. But one that should provide a perfect backdrop for one of the best games all year in college basketball.

"It's going to be a lot of fun," senior PG Matt Farrell says. "I've heard a lot of good things about the environment at Michigan State and I'm looking forward to it."

"We're excited about it," senior forward Bonzie Colson adds.

"And we can't wait to go down there and put on a show."


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