For Colin Falls and the Irish, Syracuse and Villanova will be among the eight BIG EAST schools to visit the Joyce Center.

Men's and Women's Hoops Headed For Postseason Play

March 13, 2005

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Both the Notre Dame women’s and men’s basketball teams are headed for postseason play in 2005.

Notre Dame’s women’s team (26-5), seeded fourth in the Tempe Region of the NCAA Tournament, takes on 13th-seeded California-Santa Barbara (21-8 as the Big West Conference champion) next Saturday (March 19) in a first-round game in Fresno, Calif., based on NCAA pairings released Sunday. Games in Fresno will be played at the Save Mart Center (15,621 capacity).

If the Irish win that one, they would move on to play Monday night in the second round and face the winner of the Arizona State (seeded fifth at 22-9)-Eastern Kentucky (seeded 12th with 23-7 record as Ohio Valley Conference champion) game from the first round. ESPN will televise every game of the NCAA women’s tournament.

The other Saturday games in Fresno feature Iowa State vs. Utah and second-seeded Stanford vs. Santa Clara — with those games feeding into the Kansas City Regional. The top four seeds in the Tempe Regional are North Carolina (first at 27-3), Baylor (second at 27-3), Minnesota (third at 24-7) and Notre Dame.

The Irish men (17-11), headed for the National Invitation Tournament for the second consecutive season, face Holy Cross (24-6) at 7:00 p.m. EST Tuesday (March 15) in a first-round game at the Joyce Center. The game will be televised by ESPN2.

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

This marks the 12th NCAA appearance (21-10 record) for the Notre Dame women, all of them under current head coach Muffet McGraw – and all of them within a 14-year period. The Irish are making their 10th 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 ninth NIT appearance, after previously playing in that event in 1968, ’73, ’83, ’84, ’92, ’97, 2000 and ’04. The Irish are 22-8 overall in NIT play, including an 11-2 mark at the Joyce Center. The only teams to defeat the Irish at the Joyce Center are Michigan, a 67-66 third-round winner in ’97, and Oregon by a 65-61 count in a third-round game in ’04. Notre Dame finished third in the NIT in ’68 and second in ’73, ’84, ’92 and 2000.

Tickets for the Notre Dame-Holy Cross 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/Saint Mary’s/Holy Cross 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 and by phone by calling 574-631-7356 (VISA, MasterCard, American Express accepted). A service charge will apply to all orders.

Tickets for the Notre Dame women’s NCAA game in Fresno also go on sale at 9:00 a.m. Monday. Sales will be open to season-ticket holders and the general public. Priority will be given to season-ticket holders in the seat assignment process. Sales will continue through noon Tuesday or until the allotment of tickets is sold out. The Notre Dame ticket office will have access to tickets for only those sessions in which Notre Dame is participating. The single-session price is $25. All-session tickets are available by calling 559-278-3647 ($65 adults, $50 group, $25 youth).

This marks the sixth year in a row both the Irish men’s and women’s teams have competed in postseason basketball tournaments. Both teams played in the NCAA Tournament in 2001, ’02 and ’03.

Last season, Notre Dame’s women’s team played at home in the first and second rounds, defeating Southwest Missouri State 69-65 in overtime and Middle Tennessee 59-46, then fell to Penn State 55-49 in a regional semifinal. The men defeated Purdue 71-59 and St. Louis 77-66 in the first two rounds of the NIT, before losing 65-61 to Oregon in the third round (Purdue and Oregon games at the Joyce Center, St. Louis game in Fort Wayne, Ind.).

In 2003, both the Irish men and women advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. The men defeated Wisconsin-Milwaukee 70-69 in the first round and then Illinois 68-60 in the second round, both games played in Indianapolis. Then, the Irish fell 88-71 to Arizona in a West Regional semifinal. The women knocked off Arizona 59-47 and Kansas State 59-53 in the first two rounds in Manhattan, Kan. Then, the Irish women fell 66-47 to Purdue in an East Regional semifinal in Dayton, Ohio.

In 2002, the men defeated Charlotte 82-63 in the first round in Greenville, S.C., before falling 84-77 to Duke in the second round. The women eliminated New Mexico 58-44 in the first round in Knoxville, Tenn., and then lost 89-50 to Tennessee in the second round.

In 2001, the men defeated Xavier 83-71 in the first round in Kansas City, Mo., before dropping a second-round game 59-56 to Ole Miss. Meanwhile, the Irish women claimed the 2001 NCAA title after defeating Connecticut 90-75 and Purdue 68-66 in St. Louis in the Final Four.