The Notre Dame men's basketball team knows its destination for the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. The Fighting Irish (25-9) will be the No. 7 seed in the West Region and is set to face No. 10 seed Iowa State (22-11) from the Big 12 in their first tournament game.
"This is a big day for our program," Irish head coach Mike Brey said shortly after learning of the selection. "Anytime you show up in that bracket on selection Sunday it means so much to this team. From my standpoint it means a lot to our basketball program."
Notre Dame's game will take place on Friday in Dayton, OH. Big Ten Tournament champ Ohio State is the West's No. 2 seed. The Buckeyes play No. 15 Iona. The winner of the Notre Dame - Iowa State game would face the Ohio State - Iona winner on Sunday. New Mexico is the No. 3 seed and plays No. 14 Harvard, while No. 6 seed Arizona faces No. 11 Belmont.
The Notre Dame-Iowa State/Ohio State-Iona winner would face the New Mexico-Harvard/Arizona Belmont winner in the Regional semifinals in the second weekend of the tournament.
Iowa State finished in fifth place in the Big 12 during the regular season. The Cyclones advanced to the Big 12 Tournament semifinals before falling 88-73 to eventual tournament champion Kansas. Notre Dame and Iowa State's only common opponents during the season were BYU and Cincinnati. The Irish beat the Bearcats twice, while the Cyclones lost their matchup 78-70 back on Nov. 23. Notre Dame and ISU both beat the Cougars.
"They've done a lot with transfers," Brey said of the job Fred Hoiberg has done as head coach at his alma mater. "They've integrated them even a little bit more than we have and it's been very, very good to them."
The Cyclones have four players who on the roster who have transferred from Division One programs. Chief among them is leading scorer Will Cyburn. The Utah transfer is averaging 15.0 points and 7.1 rebounds and has also hit 40-of-127 three-pointers (31%).
Wisconsin is the No. 5 seed in the West Region and plays No. 12 Ole Miss. No. 4 Kansas State will play either Boise State or LaSalle (playing as the No. 13 seed in a first round game) in its first game.
Notre Dame is one of eight Big East teams to make the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Louisville earned its automatic bid by winning the conference tournament Saturday night. Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Georgetown, Villanova, Syracuse, Marquette, and Pittsburgh were among the 37 at-large selections to the tourney.
The Fighting Irish, which lost nine times prior to Sunday's selections, suffered two of their losses to overall No. 1 seed Louisville and another to South Region No. 2 seed Georgetown. Notre Dame played a total of 11 games against teams in the 2013 NCAA Tournament field and went 6-5 in those games.
Louisville is the overall No. 1 seed. The Big East champs face either Liberty or North Carolina A&T in the Midwest Region's second round Thursday in Lexington, KY. Cincinnati is the No. 10 seed in the region.
Kansas is the second of the No. 1 seeds and will play in the south. Georgetown is the No. 2 seed in the South. Villanova is the No. 9 seed in that region and faces No. 8 North Carolina.
Indiana is the No. 1 seed in the East Region. The Hoosiers will face either LIU Brooklyn or James Madison in their second round game. Big East Tournament runner-up Syracuse is the No. 4 seed and plays No. 13 Montana in its first game. Marquette is the No. 3 seed in the East. The Golden Eagles play No. 14 Davidson in Lexington.
The 2013 NCAA selection is Notre Dame's fourth straight and sixth in seven seasons.