K-State to play Notre Dame in Jimmy V

MANHATTAN, Kan. Kansas State will play Notre Dame in the 13th annual Jimmy V Basketball Classic on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at historic Madison Square Garden, in a joint announcement by both The V Foundation and ESPN on Wednesday afternoon.


The Wildcats and Fighting Irish, who will be meeting for the first time since 1992, will play in game one of the doubleheader at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN.  The contest will be followed by a match-up of 2007 NCAA Tournament participants, USC and Memphis, at 8 p.m. CT, also on ESPN. 


Held annually since 1995, the Jimmy V Classic annually pits four premier basketball teams off in the name of late N.C. State coach Jim Valvano, and in the process, raise funds for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.  In last year’s event, Oklahoma State defeated Syracuse, 72-68, before Arizona posted a 72-65 win over Louisville.  It will mark Kansas State’s first appearance in the prestigious tournament.


“We welcome the opportunity to compete in such a prestigious tournament against a program the stature of Notre Dame,” said head coach Frank Martin.  “It will be a tremendous challenge for our young team, however, I think the exposure that it will provide for our program will be difficult to equal.”   


Notre Dame advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2006-07, where the Fighting Irish lost in the first round to Winthrop.  The team compiled a 24-8 overall record and finished fourth in the Big East with an 11-5 mark.  The Irish return three starters and eight overall lettermen from last season’s squad, including leading rebounder and third-leading scorer Rob Kurz (12.6 ppg., 8.0 rpg.).


This will mark the fifth all-time meeting between Kansas State and Notre Dame on the hardwood and the first since the two played in the second round of the Postseason NIT in 1992.  It will be the first meeting in the regular season since the Fighting Irish posted a 76-74 win on Feb. 21, 1955 at Ahearn Field House.  Notre Dame owns a 3-1 advantage all-time in the series, including a 38-23 win at home on Jan. 5, 1926 and a 64-47 victory on March 23, 1992 in the NIT.  K-State’s lone win in the series came at the Michigan State Tournament on Dec. 19, 1952 when the second-ranked Wildcats posted an 80-64 victory over the seventh-ranked Fighting Irish at legendary Jenison Field House.  


It will mark Kansas State’s first visit to Madison Square Garden since advancing to the NIT Final Four in 1994.  It will be the first-ever regular season visit to The Garden for the Wildcats and just the fourth overall visit to the arena which includes the 1948 Final Four, the 1976 NIT and the 1994 NIT Final Four.


Later this month, tickets for the Jimmy V Classic can be purchased through ticketmaster.com, by calling Ticketmaster at 212.307.7171 or in person at Madison Square Garden Box Office.


Additional information on the Jimmy V Basketball Classic can be found at http://www.jimmyv.org.


Kansas State returns a pair of starters and seven lettermen from the 2006-07 season, which produced a 23-12 overall record and a fourth-place finish in the Big 12 with a 10-6 mark.  It marked the school’s first 20-win season since the 1998-99 season and most overall wins since the Wildcats collected 25 en route to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in 1987-88.  The squad also received an invitation to the postseason for the first time in seven seasons, as the Wildcats advanced to the second round of the Mastercard NIT before falling to DePaul.


In addition to the returning lettermen, the school will also be armed with one of the nation’s top recruiting classes (No. 2 by Rivals.com and No. 5 by ESPN and Scout.com) and includes consensus No. 1 high school recruit Michael Beasley (Notre Dame (Mass.) Prep/Washington, D.C.), who recently led the USA Basketball U19 team to a silver medal at the FIBA World Championships in Novi Sad, Serbia.


Notre Dame will be one of at least eight postseason teams that Kansas State will face in the 2007-08 season, including seven that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season.  In addition to the Fighting Irish, the Wildcats will face postseason teams in Oregon and Xavier (Ohio) in non-conference play as well as Big 12 foes Kansas, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.  


The balance of Kansas State’s schedule will be released at a later date.