March 11, 2007


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March 11, 2007 — The Irish men’s hoopsters are headed to Spokane.

Mike Brey’s Irish (24-7) have won as many games heading into the NCAA Tournament as any team in Notre Dame history (Digger Phelps’ 1974 team took a 24-2 record into NCAA play).

Notre Dame’s men’s basketball team, seeded sixth in the Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament, takes on 11th-seed Winthrop (28-4 and the Big South Conference champion with a current 18-game winning streak) next Friday (March 16) in a first-round game in Spokane, Wash., at Spokane Memorial Arena, based on NCAA pairings released tonight.

If Notre Dame advances, the Irish Sunday would take on the Oregon (third seed at 26-7)-Miami (14th seed at 18-14) winner in a second-round matchup. The other games played in Spokane feed into the East Region: fourth-seeded Texas (24-9) vs. 13th seed New Mexico State (25-8) and fifth-seeded USC (23-11) vs. #12 Arkansas (21-13). The top six seeds in the Midwest are Florida (29-5), Wisconsin (29-5), Oregon, Maryland (24-8), Butler (27-6) and Notre Dame.

All NCAA men’s games are televised by CBS Sports. Game times are yet to be announced.

The Irish most recently made three straight NCAA appearances in Mike Brey’s first three seasons. In 2003 (Notre Dame’s last NCAA trip), the fifth-seeded Irish defeated Wisconsin-Milwaukee in an NCAA first-round game and fourth-seeded Illinois in a second-round matchup (both in Indianapolis) before falling in a West Regional semifinal to top-seeded Arizona in Anaheim, Calif. In 2002, the eighth-seeded Irish men defeated Charlotte in the first round in Greenville, S.C., before falling to top-seeded Duke in the second round. In 2001, sixth-seeded Notre Dame defeated Xavier in the first round in Kansas City, Mo., before dropping a second-round game to third-seeded Ole Miss.

Notre Dame’s men are making their fourth NCAA visit in the seven-season Mike Brey era and the 28th in school history (29-31 record). The Irish played in the Final Four in 1978.

The Irish are making their eighth straight postseason appearance (NIT in 2000, 2004, 2005 and 2006). That’s the best streak in that category since making eight straight from 1983 through 1990 (two NIT, then six NCAA) and nine straight from 1973 through 1981 (one NIT, then eight straight NCAA).

Notre Dame receives a very limited allotment of tickets for the NCAA men’s games in Spokane, and there is no anticipation of any public sale. The Spokane games already are listed as sellouts.