The Blue Devils avoided him during the regular season, but noted Duke killer Bonzie Colson made sure Wednesday night he wasn't done with them for good.

The second-seeded Blue Devils will face a Notre Dame squad that is the No. 10 seed in the ACC tournament but is probably closer to the No. 10 team in the nation in Thursday night's quarterfinals at the Barclays Center in New York at 7 p.m. It will be the fourth year in a row the two teams have met in the conference tournament, with Duke winning last season's championship game against the Fighting Irish but Notre Dame taking the previous two matchups.

After the Fighting Irish fell behind 47-26 with less than 14 minutes remaining against No. 7 seed Virginia Tech in the second round, they scored 49 points the rest of the way in a remarkable comeback to live to see another day. 

Capped by Colson's go-ahead 3-pointer off the glass with less than two minutes left, the victory put Notre Dame squarely on the bubble, and it would almost certainly get into the NCAA tournament with a signature win against Duke.

"I've never been a big guy to campaign, but I think we really deserve to be in. And I don't want to hear about one of the best 68. When I have my guys back, we're a top-20 team, and I think people in that committee know that," Fighting Irish head coach Mike Brey said after his team's win Wednesday. "I feel strongly that we should be part of it. We have another great opportunity to end all the drama of it tomorrow night."

When Notre Dame visited Cameron Jan. 29, Colson and starting point guard Matt Farrell—who combined to score 34 points Wednesday—were both on the bench in street clothes. Colson was recovering from a broken foot that sidelined him for two months, and Farrell was nursing a bone bruise in his ankle.

The Fighting Irish stayed within striking distance until the final 10 minutes, when the Blue Devils broke the game open with an 18-0 run keyed by reserve forward Jack White on their way to an 88-66 win.

"They’re just so well-coached. They have a program, and that’s what we told our guys—forget about a couple of guys being out, even though they’re terrific guys being out," Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said after January matchup. "They’re a program with character. They’ll come and they’re going to play every second against you. If you don’t, they’ll beat you because they’re winners."

That was in the middle of a seven-game losing streak for Notre Dame, but it finally welcomed Colson back to the floor last week for Senior Night and has immediately become a different team. The Fighting Irish challenged No. 1 Virginia on the road in their regular-season finale and are riding major momentum with a lot at stake this week in Brooklyn.

"All the stuff they've been through, they're such tough dudes. And tonight you saw it, the toughness of hanging on in there," Brey said. "I don't know if I've ever been prouder of a team, in a game that really matters."

Notre Dame will be playing its third game in as many days against a Duke squad that has been off since Saturday. At times in the first half against the Hokies, fatigue appeared to be setting in for the Fighting Irish. But Duke's veterans know as well as anybody that it's possible to play without fresh legs and keep winning at the ACC tournament.

In the same building last year in New York, the Blue Devils were the team playing more games than any of their opponents yet still finding ways to stage second-half comebacks, winning four games in four days to take home the trophy. With the roles reversed Thursday night, Duke will hope it does not follow up its extended ACC tournament run with a short stay at the Barclays Center this year.

The Blue Devils will have to find a way to limit Colson, who scored 29 points in last year's championship even in defeat and has scored at least 17 points against Duke four times in his career. The 6-foot-6 forward will give up several inches to everyone in the Blue Devil frontcourt, but Colson still arguably the best rebounder in the ACC and shoots well enough to stretch Duke's zone defense, which it was not using extensively when the two teams met in January.

With one side looking to retain its conference title and the other on the verge of all but locking down an NCAA tournament spot, it's hard to argue that any other team in action Thursday will have more at stake than both the Blue Devils and Notre Dame.

"Obviously it's going to be a little different game with Matt and myself playing," Colson said Wednesday. "It's going to be another opportunity for us, and we're excited about it."