Kentucky and Notre Dame renew Freedom Hall rivalry for first time since 1988
The fourth annual DIRECTV SEC/BIG EAST Invitational will be held Dec. 8 and 11 in Louisville and Pittsburgh, ESPN Regional Television announced today.
The two-night men’s college basketball event begins with a doubleheader Wednesday, Dec. 8, at Freedom Hall in Louisville, featuring Arkansas vs. Seton Hall at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2, followed by Kentucky vs. Notre Dame at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN.
On Saturday, Dec. 11, at the brand new CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Rutgers will take on Auburn on ESPN2, followed by Pittsburgh vs. Tennessee on ESPN. Game times for the Pittsburgh site will be announced at a later date.
Three of the SEC teams – Kentucky, Tennessee and Auburn – will play in the event for the second time, while Arkansas and all four BIG EAST teams are making their first SEC/BIG EAST Invitational appearances.
The matchup of Kentucky and Notre Dame revisits a long tradition at Freedom Hall in Louisville. The teams have met 32 times at the historic venue, the first game being played in January 1937. The rivalry was held in Louisville every season from 1962-63 to 1987-88. Kentucky has a 23-9 advantage in games played at Freedom Hall, most recently a 78-69 win Jan. 31, 1988.
In the overall series, Kentucky holds a 41-18 edge on Notre Dame. The Irish won the most recent meeting, a 77-67 decision in the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament on March 25, 2009, in South Bend, Ind. Arkansas will be facing Seton Hall for the first time.
Tennessee has won three of four meetings with Pittsburgh, though the teams have not played since Dec. 6, 1998, in Knoxville. The Vols won that game, 56-53. Auburn has won four of five all-time games against Rutgers, most recently an 82-70 victory Dec. 8, 2002, at Auburn.
Five of the eight participating teams reached the postseason in 2009-10, with Kentucky and Tennessee advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight. Pittsburgh and Notre Dame also played in the NCAA Tournament, while Seton Hall played in the NIT.
Teams invited to participate in the DIRECTV SEC/BIG EAST Invitational are chosen by ESPN in consultation with the conferences and are based on geographic and competitive criteria.
The BIG EAST holds a 7-5 record in the first three years of the DIRECTV SEC/BIG EAST Invitational. The two conferences have combined to produce four of the last eight NCAA Men's Basketball Champions (Florida - 2007 and 2006; Connecticut - 2004; Syracuse - 2003) and seven of the last 15 national champions (Connecticut - 1999; Kentucky - 1998 and 1996).
Tickets for the 2010 DIRECTV SEC/BIG EAST Invitational are expected to go on sale in early fall. Fans who would like to receive notification when tickets are available can CLICK HERE to enter an email address or visit the official website: secbigeastinvitational.com.