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Irish To Host Boilermakers In Opening Round Of NIT

March 15, 2004

Both the Notre Dame women’s and men’s basketball teams will open the 2004 postseason on their home floor at the Joyce Center.

Notre Dame’s women’s basketball team (19-10), seeded fifth in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament, takes on 12th-seeded Southwest Missouri State (28-3 record and the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament champion) next Sunday (March 21) in a first-round game at the Joyce Center, based on NCAA pairings released Sunday night. The Irish home facility previously had been identified as one of the 16 pre-selected sites for first- and second-round games.

If the Irish win that one, they would move on to play Tuesday night in the second round and face the winner of the North Carolina (seeded fourth at 24-6 as at-large entry from the Atlantic Coast Conference)-Middle Tennessee (seeded 13th with 23-7 record as Sun Belt Conference Tournament champion) game from the first round. ESPN will televise every game of the NCAA women’s tournament.

The Irish men (17-12), headed for the National Invitation Tournament for the first time since 2000, face Purdue (17-13) at 7:00 p.m. EST Wednesday in a first-round game at the Joyce Center. The game will be televised by ESPN2. It’s the first meeting between the Irish and Boilermakers since 1966.

Times for the women’s games are yet to be announced.

This marks the 11th NCAA appearance (19-9 record) for the Notre Dame women, all of them under current head coach Muffet McGraw – and all of them within a 13-year period. The Irish are making their ninth consecutive NCAA trip, with the highlights coming in ’97 (Notre Dame’s first-ever Final Four appearance) and ’01 (the NCAA title).

Notre Dame’s men are making their eighth NIT appearance, after previously playing in that event in 1968, ’73, ’83, ’84, ’92, ’97 and 2000. The Irish are 20-7 overall in NIT play, including a 9-1 mark at the Joyce Center. The only team to defeat the Irish at the Joyce Center is Michigan, a 67-66 third-round winner in ’97. Notre Dame finished third in the NIT in ’68 and second in ’73, ’84, ’92 and 2000.

Tickets for the Notre Dame-Purdue first-round NIT matchup are $25 (loge), $20 (lower arena), $11 (bleacher) and $4 (Notre Dame students). Sales on Monday are limited to Notre Dame season-ticket holders and Notre Dame students. Tickets go on sale Tuesday to the general public. Sales begin at 9:00 a.m. EST Monday at the Joyce Center ticket windows (second floor, enter Gate 1) and by phone by calling 574-631-7356 (VISA, MasterCard, American Express accepted).

Ticket packages for the NCAA women’s games at the Joyce Center (two games on the 21st, one on the 23rd) continue on sale to the general public beginning at 9:00 a.m. EST Monday at the Joyce Center ticket windows and by phone. Ticket packages are $15 for adults and $10 for youths. Single-session tickets go on sale Monday for the first time, at $10 for adults and $6 for youths. Approximately 3,500 all-session tickets already have been sold.

This marks the fifth year in a row both the Irish men’s and women’s teams have competed in postseason basketball tournaments. Each of the last three years both teams played in the NCAA Tournament.

Last season, both the Irish men and women advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. The men defeated Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the first round and then Illinois in the second round, both games played in Indianapolis. Then, the Irish fell to Arizona in the West Regional semifinals. The women knocked off Arizona and homestanding Kansas State in the first two rounds in Manhattan, Kan. Then, the Irish women fell to Purdue in an East Regional semifinal in Dayton. Ohio. In 2002, the men defeated Charlotte in the first round in Greenville, S.C., before falling to Duke in the second round. The women eliminated New Mexico in the first round in Knoxville, Tenn., and then lost to homestanding Tennessee in the second round.

In 2001, the men defeated Xavier in the first round in Kansas City, Mo., before dropping a second-round game to Ole Miss. Meanwhile, the Irish women claimed the 2001 NCAA title after defeating Connecticut and Purdue in St. Louis in the Final Four.