March 22, 2000

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The Notre Dame men’s basketball team (21-14) will face Penn State (18-15) on Tuesday, March 28, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, in one semifinal matchup of the 63rd annual National Invitation Tournament.

The game will be televised by ESPN. Tipoff will be at 9:00 p.m. EST. The first semifinal will be played at 7:00 p.m.

The Notre Dame-Penn State game will be part of a doubleheader that also will feature a game between the Mississippi-North Carolina State winner (that game will be played March 23 at North Carolina State) and the California-Wake Forest winner (that game will be played March 24 at Wake Forest).

The NIT third-place game is played at 4:30 p.m. EST on Thursday, March 30, followed by the NIT championship game at 7:00 p.m.

This marks the fifth time the Irish have advanced to the NIT semifinals. This is Notre Dame’s 31st overall postseason men’s basketball appearance and its seventh in the NIT. The Irish previously played in the NIT in 1968 (third place), 1973 (runnerup), 1983 (first-round loss), 1984 (runnerup), 1992 (runnerup) and 1997 (third-round loss). Notre Dame’s overall record in NIT play stands at 19-6 — while its record at Madison Square Garden in NIT play is 8-4.

Notre Dame advances to New York by virtue of homecourt NIT wins over Michigan (75-65), Xavier (76-64) and BYU (64-52). 2000 marks the third time in nine years the Irish have played three early-round NIT games at home at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame also did that in 1992 (the Irish defeated Western Michigan, Kansas State and Manhattan at home, Utah in the semifinals, then lost to Virginia in overtime in the championship game) and 1997 (the Irish defeated Oral Roberts and TCU in the first two rounds, then lost to eventual champion Michigan in the third round).

The Irish stand 9-1 overall at the Joyce Center in NIT play — also including a first-round win over Old Dominion in 1984 (when Notre Dame advanced to the championship game before losing to Michigan).

Penn State also advances following three NIT wins on its home court — over Princeton (55-41), Siena (105-103) and Kent (81-74).

Notre Dame’s game against Penn State will mark its fifth of the season at Madison Square Garden — following two games in the Preseason NIT (losses to Arizona and Maryland) and two more in the BIG EAST Tournament (a win over Rutgers and a loss to Miami).

Notre Dame’s 21 victories so far in 1999-2000 mark the most by the Irish since a 21-9 record in 1988-89. The last time the Irish won more games than that came with a 24-8 record in 1986-87 (including two NCAA wins).

Ticket information for the NIT semifinals and finals at Madison Square Garden is available by calling the MSG box office at 212-465-6000.

You can purchase tickets through TicketMaster in New York at 212-307-7171.