With Notre Dame joining the ACC in all sports except football and hockey for Maryland's final season there, we take a closer look at what to expect from some of its most notable sports. But first, a brief overview of the school itself.
524 miles from UMD, the University of Notre Dame is a private institution in South Bend, In. and is ranked No. 17 on U.S. News & World's list of best colleges in the country. It was founded in 1842 and has a student population of 8,400. I made a pit stop there on the way back from visiting family in the Midwest about a month ago, and it's a very nice campus that seems to have a lot of pride.
Without further ado, let's look at their athletics:
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 33
Notables: 5 Elite Eights, one Final Four
Coach: Mike Brey
2012-13 Record: 25-10
The Notre Dame men's basketball team is a welcome sight - from an ACC standpoint - to a conference that managed to get just four teams into the Big Dance last season. The Irish have made the last four NCAA Tournaments and return two of their top three scorers, including guard Jerian Grant who is formerly of Dematha H.S. Brey brings in the No. 17 recruiting class in the nation for 2013-14, highlighted by ESPN's No. 24 overall recruit in four-star point guard Demetrius Jackson.
Maryland's most recent game against the Irish was just a couple of years ago in the BB&T Classic. That was the game in which Terrell Stoglin went off for 31 points and Brey called him "the microwave of College Park." The Terps won that one, and will get a chance at another when they face Notre Dame at home next season. The Irish should definitely be in the mix in the ACC and it will be interesting to see where the coaches place them in the pre-season poll.
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 20
Notables: Five Final Fours, 2001 National Champions
Coach: Muffet McGraw
2012-13 Record: 35-2
Notre Dame joining the ACC provides an immediate boost in women's basketball, and even though it's just one year, their presence could be very important. The departure of now-graduated Skylar Diggins means it will be a different team than the one that made the last three Final Fours, but the Irish still return three starters, including Kayla McBride (15.9 ppg), Natalie Achonwa (13.8 ppg) and Jewell Lloyd (12.5 ppg). They also add three ESPN Top 100 commits, including No. 4 overall recruit Taya Reimer.
ESPN's way-too-early preseason rankings for 2013-14 have the Irish at No. 10 (for comparison, the Terps are at No. 5) and while I don't think they have the firepower to seriously challenge for the top spot they should provide much-needed strength at the top of the ACC.
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 18
Notables: 2010 National Runner-Up, three Final Fours
2013 record: 11-5
Another sport bolstered for the coming year by Notre Dame joining the ACC is men's lacrosse. After reaching the NCAA Quarterfinals last season, the Irish are another strong team for the ACC and return six of 10 starters, including top goal scorer Matt Kavanagh. They do, however, lose former Big East Goalkeeper of the year John Kemp. Notre Dame has had a lot of recent success in lacrosse, reaching the 2012 Final Four and the 2010 National Title Game. They have also made the last eight NCAA Tournaments.
2012 Record: 17-4
ACC men's soccer gets a strong addition this year with the Fighting Irish on board. The Irish won the Big East Title last season, defeating Georgetown (the team that proceeded to beat Maryland on penalty kicks in the Final Four) in double overtime in the final. They were awarded the top seed in the NCAA Tournament before they were upset in the third round by 16-seed Indiana. The Hoosiers, of course, went on to win the entire tournament. Notre Dame brings in TopDrawerSoccer.com's No. 10 recruiting class (as of February) but lose First Team All-American Ryan Finley, who's 21 goals in 2012 ranked second in the nation.
Notables in other sports: The women's soccer team went 16-6 last season and reached the NCAA Quarterfinals. They won the National Championship in 2010. The women's lacrosse team went 12-5 last season. The softball team went 43-15 before falling in the NCAA Regionals.
What do you think about having the Irish for a year?