Irish head coach Mike Brey in action Feb. 11th against DePaul.

Irish To Face Xavier To Open NCAA Tournament

March 11, 2012

Notre Dame Tournament Central
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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame is headed to Greensboro, N.C., for a second-round NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships matchup at approximately 9:40 p.m. ET Friday against Xavier.

Head coach Mike Brey’s Irish (22-11), picked for ninth in the BIG EAST Conference back in October before standout Tim Abromaitis was lost for the season in November with a knee injury, came on strong to finish third in the BIG EAST Conference (13-5 in league play).

The Irish handed top seed Syracuse (East Region) its lone regular-season loss — and also defeated 2012 NCAA participants Marquette (#3), Louisville (#4), Connecticut (#9), West Virginia (#10) twice, South Florida (#12) twice and Detroit (#15).

The Irish received a number-seven seed in the South Region, marking the first time in history the Notre Dame men have been seeded seventh in the NCAA Championships.

Notre Dame’s men’s basketball team takes on 10th-seeded Xavier (21-12 and runner-up in the Atlantic 10 Conference title game Sunday) Friday (March 16) in a second-round game in Greensboro at the Greensboro Coliseum (capacity 23,500), based on NCAA pairings released Sunday night. If Notre Dame advances, the Irish Sunday (March 18) would take on the Duke (#2 seed at 27-6)-Lehigh (#15 seed at 26-7) winner in a third-round matchup.

The other second-round games played in Greensboro feed into the Midwest Region: top-seeded North Carolina (29-5) against winner of a first-round game between Lamar (23-11) and Vermont (23-11), along with eighth-seeded Creighton (28-5) versus ninth-seeded Alabama (21-11).

The Irish previously have made seven NCAA appearances in the Brey era:

  • In 2011, the second-seeded Irish defeated #15 Akron 69-56 in the second round, then dropped a third-round contest 71-57 to #10 seed Florida State in Chicago.
  • In 2010, the sixth-seeded Irish dropped a first-round South Region game 51-50 to #11 seed Old Dominion in New Orleans.
  • In 2008, the fifth-seeded Irish defeated #12 George Mason 68-50 in a first-round game in Denver, before losing a second-round contest 61-41 to #4 Washington State.
  • In 2007, the sixth-seeded Irish dropped a first-round Midwest Region game in Spokane 74-64 to 11th-seeded Winthrop.
  • In 2003, the fifth-seeded Irish defeated Wisconsin-Milwaukee 70-69 in an NCAA first-round game and fourth-seeded Illinois 68-60 in a second-round matchup (both in Indianapolis) before falling 88-71 in a West Regional semifinal to top-seeded Arizona in Anaheim, Calif.
  • In 2002, the eighth-seeded Irish men defeated Charlotte 82-63 in the first round in Greenville, S.C., before falling to top-seeded Duke 84-77 in the second round.
  • In 2001, sixth-seeded Notre Dame defeated Xavier 83-71 in the first round in Kansas City, Mo., before dropping a second-round game 59-56 to third-seeded Ole Miss.

Notre Dame’s men are making their eighth NCAA visit in the 12-season Mike Brey era and the 32nd in school history (31-35 record). The Irish played in the NCAA Final Four 34 seasons ago in 1978 in St. Louis.

The Irish are making their 13th straight postseason appearance (NIT in 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2009). That’s the best streak in Notre Dame history in that category besting the next best run of nine straight from 1973 through 1981 (one NIT, then eight straight NCAAs).

Notre Dame receives a very limited allotment of tickets for the NCAA men’s games in Greensboro. There will be no public sale, however a limited number of tickets will be available for purchase to Notre Dame men’s basketball season-ticket holders. Those available tickets for season-ticket holders will go on sale at 9 a.m. Monday (March 12) by calling 574-631-7356. Student sale information will be emailed to eligible students Sunday night. Tickets to the Greensboro games may be available through Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or go to the Ticketmaster web site.

Notre Dame has played games at the Greensboro Coliseum on three previous occasions — a 78-68 loss to North Carolina on Jan. 4, 1964; a 93-75 loss to Duke on Dec. 31, 1965, and an 88-57 win over Davidson on Feb. 5, 1977.

This marks the third time the Irish have played NCAA games in the state of North Carolina. In 1987, number-five seed Notre Dame won two NCAA games at the Charlotte Coliseum — 84-71 in the first round over #12 seed Middle Tennessee State and 58-57 in the second round over number-four seed TCU. Then, a year later in 1988, the 10th-seeded Irish dropped a first-round game to seventh-seeded SMU 83-75 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill.

The Irish are no strangers to the state of North Carolina — having played 12 games in Charlotte (five against Davidson, four against North Carolina, one against Duke, plus the two NCAA games), six in Durham (all against Duke), three in Raleigh (all against North Carolina State), three in Greensboro (see details above), plus three in Chapel Hill (two against North Carolina plus the one NCAA game). That gives Notre Dame an overall 10-17 mark in games played in North Carolina.

This marks Notre Dame’s 19th matchup against Xavier (the Irish lead the series 15-3) — and its second in NCAA Championship play. The Irish defeated Xavier 83-71 in a first-round NCAA game in Kansas City in 2001 in the most recent meeting between the two teams. Notre Dame’s series edge includes an 8-0 record over Xavier in games at the Joyce Center. Xavier’s series wins came in 1951 (in Cincinnati), 1959 (at the old Chicago Stadium) and 1993 (in Cincinnati).

The NCAA began seeding teams in its 1979 tournament – and in those previous 16 years in which the Irish have participated, here’s how they’ve done at the various levels (12-16 overall, 6-7 under Mike Brey):

1979 – 2-1 as #1; 1980 – 0-1 as #4; 1981 – 1-1 as #2; 1985 – 1-1 as #7; 1986 – 0-1 as #3; 1987 – 1-1 as #5; 1988 – 0-1 as #10; 1989 – 1-1 as #9; 1990 – 0-1 as #10; 2001 – 1-1 as #6; 2002 – 1-1 as #8; 2003 – 2-1 as #5; 2007 – 0-1 as #6; 2008 – 1-1 as #5; 2010 – 0-1 as a #6; 2011 – 1-1 as #2.

Multiple appearances have featured three times each as a #5 (4-3) and a #6 (1-3), twice each as a #2 (2-2) and a #10 (0-2).

— ND —