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Mike Brey, Notre Dame thrilled to be official members of ACC

Coach Mike Brey has led Notre Dame nine NCAA tournament selections four NIT appearances his 13 seasons. | Michael Conroy~AP

Coach Mike Brey has led Notre Dame to nine NCAA tournament selections and four NIT appearances in his 13 seasons. | Michael Conroy~AP

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Updated: August 3, 2013 6:32AM

Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey is thrilled he’ll get the opportunity to return to some old stomping grounds.

But . . .

I’m sure they are not going to treat me as well as they used to down there,” Brey joked during a news conference Monday.

Brey spent eight years as an assistant at Duke. He’s back in the ACC as the Irish officially joined the conference in most sports.

“We’re excited to be part of this. I think we’re going to quickly become the deepest and most powerful basketball conference,” Brey said. “We’ll be the league getting eight, nine, 10 bids annually. Certainly the teams coming in bring a lot of momentum, but there’s great momentum already in this league.”

Syracuse and Pittsburgh are also new members. Louisville joins in 2014, while Maryland departs for the Big Ten.

“The composition of the long-term membership of the ACC has never been stronger,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said.

Brey, Swofford and Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim were among those in New York on Monday to mark the conference’s new era.

“I’ve always had tremendous respect for the ACC. I think with the new makeup of the league, I don’t think there’s ever been a league with the potential basketball-wise that the ACC has right now going forward,” Boeheim said. “You’re talking about great traditional teams and now the teams coming in with the success, especially over the last 10 years in the NCAA tournament, is second to none. From my point of view, it’s an unbelievable basketball conference.

“It’s a tremendous challenge, but it’s really fun to look at what the future is going to be in the ACC.”

Brey served as an assistant for the Blue Devils from 1987-95.

“It’s very special. Growing up a Maryland fan and an ACC basketball fan, spending eight years at Duke University as an assistant, I’ve got some great memories of the league,” he said. “I never thought in my wildest dreams I’d be coaching in the league at the University of Notre Dame.

“We are thrilled. Our fan base is excited. All our coaches in our department are excited and proud to be connected with this. I know our football program is as well. There’s great energy about the Atlantic Coast Conference just around our whole university.”

Notre Dame will remain an independent in football, but will play five games a season against conference teams starting in 2014. The hockey team joins Hockey East. The Irish had been a member of the Big East since 1995.

Brey has already informed his players of one difference between the two conferences.

“I think it’s going to be harder to win on the road in the ACC,” Brey said. “Everything is an on-campus facility. Fortunately the four teams, Louisville is eventually coming, we’ve all been good at home. You better maintain being good at home because those road atmospheres are very, very difficult.”

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