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Irish Arrive in NYC for BIG EAST Tourney

Mar 11, 2013, 9:26 AM EDT

First team all-BIG EAST selection Jack Cooley speaks with the media at Purcell before departing for New York.

Not more than 24 hours after arriving back on campus from the regular season finale at Louisville, the Notre Dame men’s basketball team (23-8 overall, 11-7 conference) departed for New York City in preparation for the BIG EAST tournament.

With the university on spring break, the Irish opted to head to the Big Apple a day earlier than last year. Shortly after 8:15 pm, the team departed for South Bend Airport from Gate 6 at the Joyce Center.

After boarding the plane, head coach Mike Brey thanked the team’s travel partners – the Notre Dame band and cheerleaders – for all of their support throughout the season.

“Good to have you with us,” he said. “There’s nothing like spring break in New York. Let’s plan on being there a while.”

And by “a while,” Coach Brey hopes to take the Irish farther than they’ve ever been – to Saturday night and the tournament’s championship game.

On five other occasions (2002, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012), Notre Dame has played in Friday’s semifinals, but the team has never been able to get over that last hurdle and reach the conference’s greatest stage.

With this being the final BIG EAST tournament (at least in it’s current form), there would be no better time to do it than this week.

The quest begins on Wednesday night at 9 pm ET (more like 9:30, following the 7 o’clock game) as #6 seed Notre Dame takes on the winner of Tuesday’s matchup between #14 seed DePaul and #11 seed Rutgers.

During the regular season, the Blue Demons and Scarlet Knights both gave the Irish all they could handle. Notre Dame won all three games against those opponents, two in overtime against DePaul, and a 69-66 victory over Rutgers.

Should Notre Dame win that game, it will advance to a Thursday night meeting with #3 seed Marquette.

We’ll be providing several updates from the trip, so stay tuned throughout the week. Keep an eye on Twitter – @ndmbb, @NDJackNolan and @NDSportsBlogger – and make sure to subscribe to YouTube.com/NotreDameAthletics, where Fighting Irish Digital Media will be sharing all the video content from on the road with the Irish.

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Welcome to In The Paint, the official blog providing in-depth and exclusive access to the Notre Dame basketball programs. With features, videos, photos, commentaries and news from inside the Purcell Pavilion, we are committed to bringing you coverage of the Fighting Irish unlike any you can find elsewhere.

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