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Granger Irish
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Mike BreyThe Big East Conference has released the conference matchups for men's basketball. The home and away matchups are set for the 2008-2009 season. The exact dates will be released at a later date.

For the second season in a row, the men will play an 18 game conference schedule. Each conference school will play 9 games at home and 9 games on the road. When contemplating who played who and also which teams would play return games, the Big East Conference had the following to say:

The decisions regarding repeat opponents are based on natural interest, geography, rivalries, television contractual obligations and competitive balance.

Notre Dame, per usual, has a tough conference schedule. Although, surprisingly, regional rival Marquette plays the Irish, only once. DePaul, another traditional Notre Dame rival, also appears on the schedule, only once. The three teams that Notre Dame will play home and away games against are St. John's, Louisville and Connecticut, the latter two teams expected to be in the top half of the league standings in 2008-09.

Here is Notre Dame's 2008-2009 complete Big East Conference schedule:

Away
Cincinnati
Connecticut
DePaul
Louisville
Pittsburgh
Providence
St. John's
Syracuse
West Virginia

Home
Connecticut
Georgetown
Louisville
Marquette
Rutgers
St. John's
Seton Hall
South Florida
Villanova

Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said last season that the 18 game format was an unknown as far as the impact it would have on the NCAA Tournament. Well, the results are in. Last season was a success. The Big East Conference tied its' record of having eight teams qualify for the NCAA Tournament. This season promises to be another, if not more so, wild ride. One preseason ranking has 7 Big East teams in the top 25.

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