Wisconsin and Notre Dame will meet for the 29th time on Friday night (7:27 PM ET on TBS). Both teams are playing with some house money; actually, both advanced to the Sweet Sixteen on game winning buckets at the buzzer.Seemingly, these teams are pretty evenly matched, but what lies in their shared history?
As it turns out, the two programs don't have much recent history. But, Wisconsin's Athletic Department produces a great guide to help mine data on the history of Wisconsin-Notre Dame. From that, we can find a few interesting nuggets.
Notre Dame leads the all-time series (18-10), and have won the last three against Wisconsin. Most recently, the Irish beat the Badgers 58-51 on November 28, 2010. (So, it's been a while.) The last meeting was the Old Spice Classic championship game in Orlando, Florida. According to Wisconsin's NCAA Guide, the Badgers led 43-42 with just under ten minutes remaining, but hit only three of their last 13 shots.
More interestingly, and for the purposes of the NCAA Tournament, each program has won one game on a neutral court. Notre Dame, of course, beat Wisconsin in 2010, which was atonement for the 47-45 Badger victory in Milwaukee, in 1944. In fact, Wisconsin's last win in the rivalry was in 1965, a 97-79 throttling of Notre Dame.
Other than 2010, the Irish and Badgers last played each other in 1968. Needless to say, the history between these two programs has been limited (one game over the last four decades).
Common Opponents (This Season)
Wisconsin and Notre Dame played seven common opponents this season: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Syracuse. Notre Dame went 4-3 against those teams, while Wisconsin posted a 7-2 record. (Note: According to the the Wisconsin Athletic Department, the Badgers' record includes a sweep of Illinois and a season split with Indiana.)
Wisconsin beat Illinois (twice), Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Iowa and Michigan. The Badgers split with Indiana and lost to Milwaukee (one of the ugly early season defeats).
Notre Dame, meanwhile, beat Milwaukee, Illinois, Iowa and Michigan, but lost to Indiana, Pittsburgh, Syracuse. What does that tell us about the matchup? I'm not entirely sure, but for two teams in different conferences, that seems like a bit of crossover.
Wisconsin vs. The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
Overall, recent history favors Wisconsin against ACC oppponents. The Badgers have won three of their last four against the ACC (in the NCAA Tournament). Wisconsin played two ACC teams in the tournament last year, first beating North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen, and (sadly) losing to Duke in the National Title. But, Wisconsin is 41-40 against current members of the ACC all-time, and has won 10 of the last 14.
Surprisingly, Notre Dame and Wisconsin have yet to play in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, but Notre Dame only joined the conference in 2013. But, the challenge is successful, so it stands a chance that these two teams will meet eventually.
These two programs have pretty rich recent history. Notre Dame made the Elite Eight last season, and Wisconsin, of course, the National Semi-Final. Maybe this meeting in the NCAA Tournament will renew a rivalry that's been pretty much dormant for over 40 years.