March 7, 2013
#24/24 NOTRE DAME (23-7, 11-6) vs. #8/6 LOUISVILLE (25-5, 13-4)
March 9, 2013 – 4 p.m. (ET) KFC Yum! Center (22,000) Louisville, Ky.
TV: CBS Verne Lundquist (play-by-play) Mike Gminski (analyst) (Watch Live)
RADIO: Broadcast on UND.com (free) Sirius 85, XM 85 Jack Nolan (play-by-play) Jordan Cornette (analyst)
LIVE STATS: Gametracker on UND.com
#24/24 IRISH CLOSE REGULAR SEASON SATURDAY AT #8/6 LOUISVILLE – No. 24/24 Notre Dame (23-7, 11-6) will close out the regular season Saturday at No. 8/6 Louisville (25-5, 13-4). Tip-off is schedule for 4 p.m. (ET) inside the KFC Yum! Center. – The Fighting Irish currently are tied with Syracuse and Pittsburgh for fourth place in the BIG EAST standings. Louisville is tied with Georgetown and Marquette for first place in the league. – This is the second meeting between the two schools this season. Notre Dame topped Louisville 104-101 in five overtimes on Feb. 9 inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. – CBS will broadcast Saturday’s contest. Verne Lundquist (play-by-play) and Mike Gminski (analyst) will be on the call. – Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Jordan Cornette (analyst) will call the action for the Notre Dame Basketball Radio Network and that broadcast can be heard for free on UND.com (full affiliate listings on Pg. 3). The game also is available on Sirius 85, XM 85. – Notre Dame has won its last game of the regular season in each of the last seven campaigns. The last Irish loss in a regular-season finale was an 85-77 decision to Pittsburgh on March 5, 2005, inside Purcell Pavilion.
NOTRE DAME-LOUISVILLE SERIES HISTORY – Saturday will be the 31st meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Louisville. The Cardinals lead the series 18-12. Notre Dame and Louisville have alternated wins over the last eight games in the series. – The Irish are 5-6 against the Cardinals in BIG EAST play. – The Fighting Irish won on their last visit to Louisville, a 67-65 double-overtime triumph on Jan. 7, 2012. Notre Dame is 2-9 all-time at Louisville, including a 1-4 mark in BIG EAST play. The Irish are 1-0 against the Cardinals inside the KFC Yum! Center. – The Irish are 4-1 in the last five meetings with a ranked Louisville squad.
WORKING OVERTIME – Five of the last six meetings between Notre Dame and Louisville have gone to overtime. That includes two double-overtime contests and February’s five-overtime affair. The Irish are 3-2 in those five overtime games. – In fact, six of the last eight encounters between the Irish and Cardinals have gone to overtime. Seven of the 11 contests between Notre Dame and Louisville since the Cardinals joined the BIG EAST in 2005 have been decided in overtime. – The last three showdowns at Louisville have gone to overtime (two in double-overtime). – The five-overtime game on Feb. 9 was the longest regular-season game in BIG EAST history. See page 7 of this notes packet for a detailed account of that historic affair.
TAKING ON THE TOP 10 – Notre Dame is 4-1 in its last five contests against teams ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll. Notre Dame is 17-24 against teams ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll under head coach Mike Brey.
DOMER DEFENSE – Notre Dame has held three of its last four opponents under 50 points (Pittsburgh 42, Cincinnati 41, St. John’s 40). That’s the first time ever the Irish have held three teams under 50 points in a four-game stretch of BIG EAST play. – The Irish limited those three teams to 32.1% (50-156) from the field, including 9.1% (3-33) from three-point range. – The 40 points from St. John’s in Tuesday’s 66-40 Irish victory were the fewest ever scored by a Notre Dame opponent in BIG EAST play (regular season or tournament). The previous low was 41 by Cincinnati on Feb. 24 and prior to that it was 42 by Pittsburgh on Feb. 18 and Seton Hall last season (Jan. 25, 2012). The output from St. John’s was the lowest for any Irish opponent since Monmouth had 33 on Nov. 16, 2007 (76-33). – The combined 83 points from Pittsburgh and Cincinnati were the fewest ever allowed by the Irish in consecutive BIG EAST games. – St. John’s shot 30.4% (17-56) from the field. That is the lowest shooting percentage for any Irish opponent this season.
IRISH SUPER IN SECOND HALF AGAINST ST. JOHN’S – Notre Dame outscored St. John’s 44-14 in the second half of Tuesday’s 66-40 win. The Irish shot 68.0% (17-25) from the floor in the half, including 5-of-6 (.833) from three-point range. – The 14 second-half points from St. John’s were the fewest ever allowed by Notre Dame in any half of BIG EAST play. The Red Storm shot just 18.5% (5-27) from the floor in the second stanza.
CLEANING THE GLASS – Notre Dame has a +44 rebound advantage in its last four games. Notre Dame is 17-1 this season when outrebounding its opponent. – The Irish grabbed 15 more rebounds (40-25) than Pittsburgh in a 51-42 win on Feb. 18 and then outrebounded Cincinnati by 16 (43-27) in a 62-41 victory on Feb. 24. Notre Dame was +11 (36-25) against Marquette and +2 (36-34) versus St. John’s.
CLOSING WELL IN CONFERENCE PLAY – Over the last seven seasons, Notre Dame has gone 26-8 (.765) in its final five games of the BIG EAST regular-season slate. That figure includes a 3-1 mark this season.
QUITE A CLASS – Notre Dame’s current senior class needs two more victories to become the program’s all-time winningest class. The group already has compiled the most BIG EAST victories in any four-year period since the Irish joined the conference in 1995. Here is a breakdown of Notre Dame’s top classes based on wins: 2007-11: 96-42 overall/46-26 BIG EAST 2009-13: 95-38 overall/48-23 BIG EAST
IRISH ON UNPRECEDENTED RUN IN BIG EAST PLAY – Notre Dame has registered its fourth straight 10-win season in BIG EAST play. It’s the first time in program history the Irish have compiled four straight 10-win seasons in the BIG EAST. Notre Dame has won 10 or more league games nine times in 13 seasons under head coach Mike Brey. – Notre Dame, Louisville and Syracuse are the only BIG EAST squads to win 10 or more league games in each of the last four seasons.
FIGHTING IRISH FACTS – Over the last three seasons, Notre Dame is 31-1 (11-0 this season) when shooting 50% or above from the field, 54-3 (17-1 this season) when outrebounding its opponent and 55-5 (18-1 this season) when leading at halftime. – The Fighting Irish are 4-2 against ranked teams this season. Over the last four seasons, Notre Dame is 21-14 (.600) against teams ranked in the Associated Press top-25 poll, including a 12-2 mark at home.
BIG EAST UPS AND DOWNS – Notre Dame has averaged 73.6 points-per-game in its 11 BIG EAST victories, while the Irish averaged just 55.5 points in their six league losses. The Fighting Irish have shot 47.0% from the field in the victories and 39.4% in the setbacks. From three-point range, Notre Dame has shot 42.6% in the wins and 23.7% in the defeats. – The Irish are +5.8 in rebounds in the wins and -4.2 in the losses.
GRANT GETTING IT DONE – Junior guard Jerian Grant has scored 21 points in each of the last two games. It’s the first time in his career that he’s netted 20 or more points in consecutive games. Grant has tallied 20 or more points four times this season (three times in BIG EAST play). He has scored 20 or more points eight times in his career. – He made a career-high five three-pointers (on six attempts) against St. John’s – Grant has scored in double-figures in 15 of 17 BIG EAST games this season. He is averaging a team-best 14.6 points per game in league play. Grant has posted a team-high point total in seven of the last eight games. – Grant’s 5.9 assist-per-game average in BIG EAST contests ranks fourth in the conference.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE DOMINANCE – Senior forward Jack Cooley is fourth nationally with 19 double-doubles this season (10 in BIG EAST play). He has 32 career double-doubles, which all have occurred in the last two seasons. – Cooley has produced a double-double in the first half alone twice this season (Niagara 20 pts, 10 rebs; BYU 12 pts, 10 rebs).
COOLEY A CONSISTENT PERFORMER – Senior forward Jack Cooley is fourth nationally in double-doubles (19), seventh in rebounds per game (10.7) and ninth in field-goal percentage (.590). – In BIG EAST play, Cooley is second in rebounding (10.2) and offensive rebounds per game (3.6). He is third in field-goal percentage (.553). – Cooley has scored in double-figures in 27 of 30 games this season (15 of 17 BIG EAST games). He has grabbed 10 or more rebounds 20 times this season (11 times in league play). Cooley has hauled down 15 or more rebounds in a game three times this season. – Cooley is ninth in the BIG EAST (all games) in blocked shots per game this season (1.3).
PLAYING WELL IN PURCELL – The Fighting Irish are 117-9 in their last 126 games played at home. That .929 home winning percentage over the course of the last seven seasons ranks second nationally. Kansas is first with a .960 mark. – Notre Dame is 52-3 (.945) in its last 55 home games.
EFFICIENT EFFORTS – Notre Dame ranks first nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.58). The Irish are third nationally in assists per game (17.5). – The Fighting Irish rank 24th nationally in fewest turnovers per game (11.1). Notre Dame has turned the ball over fewer than 10 times in eight games this season (six times in BIG EAST play). The Irish have turned the ball over five times or less in two games this season. – Notre Dame has had an assist on 67.2% of its made field goals this season. – The Irish have dished out 20 or more assists in 11 games this season (four times in BIG EAST play).
HOT SHOTS – Notre Dame is shooting 47.3% from the floor this season. That figure ranks 24th nationally and it leads all BIG EAST squads. – The Irish are 11-0 this season when they shoot 50% or above from the floor.
DRAINING FROM DEEP – The Irish lead the BIG EAST (all games) in three-point shooting percentage (.373). Notre Dame is shooting 36.1% from beyond the arc in BIG EAST play. That is the third-best percentage in the conference. – Notre Dame is averaging 6.5 made three-pointers per game this season (6.1 in BIG EAST play).
ATKINS ASSISTING THE IRISH EFFORT – In BIG EAST play, junior point guard Eric Atkins is first in three-point shooting percentage (.453). – Atkins is 12th nationally and second in the BIG EAST (all games) in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.8). – Atkins is tied for 19th nationally and third in the BIG EAST (all games) with a 6.0 assist-per-game average this season. He has four double-doubles this season (points & assists). He has dished out 10 or more assists in a game five times this season.
ATKINS PLAYING MAJOR MINUTES – Junior point guard Eric Atkins tied a Notre Dame record by playing 60 minutes in the five-overtime victory against Louisville on Feb. 9. Atkins leads the BIG EAST by averaging 40.0 minutes per game in league play. Atkins has played 40 or more minutes in seven BIG EAST games this season.
DYNAMIC DUO – Junior point guard Eric Atkins is third in the BIG EAST (T-19th nationally) in assists per game (6.0), while fellow junior guard Jerian Grant is fifth in the league (34th nationally) by averaging 5.6 assists per game. They are the only set of teammates ranked in the top five of the league assists-per-game standings. – Atkins is second in the BIG EAST (all games) in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.8), while Grant is seventh (2.0). – In BIG EAST play, Atkins is first minutes played per game (40.0) and Grant is third (38.2).
AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT – Junior point guard Eric Atkins had 130 assists and a 1.83 assist-to-turnover ratio last season. He currently has 180 assists and a 2.81 assist-to-turnover ratio this season. – Atkins shot 39.4% from the field last season and is currently shooting at a 45.5% clip. He has improved his three-point shooting from 37.5% last season to a current mark of 43.1%. – Sophomore Pat Connaughton (G/F) had 30 assists as a freshman and already has dished out 69 assists this season. He had a 1.25 assist-to-turnover ratio last season, but has improved that to 2.65 this season.
AUGUSTE GETS HOT AGAINST GOLDEN EAGLES – Freshman forward Zach Auguste scored a career-high 15 points on Saturday at Marquette. It was his second double-figure scoring effort of the season (12 vs. Kennesaw State). He was 7-of-10 from the field against the Golden Eagles. He also had career highs in steals (3) and assists (2) in the contest. – In the previous game, he grabbed a career-high nine rebounds in a win over Cincinnati.
KNIGHT TIME – Senior forward Tom Knight is 20-of-30 (.667) from the field in the last five games. – Knight is averaging 1.4 blocked shots per game in BIG EAST play. That figure ranks eighth in the league.
SPREADING THE WEALTH – Seven different Fighting Irish players have posted a team-high point total this season. – Nine different Irish players (Atkins, Auguste, Biedscheid, Connaughton, Cooley, Grant, Knight, Martin, Sherman) have notched a double-digit scoring effort this season. – Five different Notre Dame players – Eric Atkins, Jack Cooley, Jerian Grant, Scott Martin and Garrick Sherman – have scored 20 or more points in a game this season. – The Fighting Irish have boasted at least five double-digit performers seven times. The Irish had a season-high six double-digit scorers against Chicago State (Nov. 26) and Louisville (Feb. 9).
NOTRE DAME NOTCHES ANOTHER 20-WIN CAMPAIGN – The Irish have recorded their seventh straight 20-win season. It’s the first time in program history Notre Dame has compiled seven consecutive 20-win campaigns. The Fighting Irish have reached the 20-win plateau 10 times in 13 seasons under head coach Mike Brey.
BREY FOURTH ON BIG EAST WINS LIST – The five-overtime win over Louisville on Feb. 9 moved Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey past former St. John’s head coach Lou Carnesecca and into sole possession of fourth place on the BIG EAST all-time wins list (both regular-season and tournament). Brey has a 144-95 (.603) BIG EAST record. – Brey is in his 13th season along the Irish sidelines. He is the second-longest tenured coach in the BIG EAST, behind only Jim Boeheim of Syracuse. – Notre Dame was just 36-58 (.383) in five seasons of BIG EAST play prior to Brey’s arrival.
Mike Brey NAMED TO NORTHWESTERN STATE’S “FAB 50” PLAYERS OF THE MODERN ERA – Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey has been named to Northwestern State University’s (La.) “Fab 50” players from the modern era. The list covers NSU’s NCAA Division I history beginning in 1976-77. Brey played three seasons at NSU (1977-80). He ranks eighth on NSU’s career assists list with 311. Brey played his final collegiate season at George Washington University.
IRISH HAVE OVERTIME EDGE – Notre Dame is 9-2 in its last 11 overtime affairs (3-1 this season). The Fighting Irish are 13-9 in overtime under head coach Mike Brey.
COOLEY A NAISMITH CANDIDATE AND ON WOODEN AWARD MIDSEASON TOP 25 LIST – Senior forward Jack Cooley is one of 30 candidates named by the Atlanta Tipoff Club to the 2013 Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year award list. The top 30 candidates for the award, which is presented by AT&T, were selected by the Atlanta Tipoff’s Club Board of Selectors and bases its criteria on player performances to date during the 2013 men’s college basketball campaign. In late March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will narrow down the list to four finalists and the winner will be named on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Ga. at the NCAA Men’s Final Four. – Cooley also has been named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 list by the Los Angeles Athletic Club. The list is comprised of 25 student-athletes who are the front-runners for college basketball’s most prestigious honor.
UNI WATCH – The Fighting Irish are 3-2 this season when wearing the black uniforms. The Irish are 13-14 all-time in black. Notre Dame first wore black jerseys during the 2005-06 season. – Notre Dame is 6-0 this season when donning gold jerseys. The Irish have worn their gold jerseys in each of the last five home games. – The Irish are 13-2 when wearing white uniforms and 1-3 when playing in blue jerseys.
MARTIN OUT FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON – Scott Martin (GS/G) will miss the remainder of the season due to ongoing issues with his left knee. He started all 18 games he played this season. He has missed the last 11 contests. The Irish have gone 8-3 in those games. – Martin averaged 7.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game this season. He shot 46.3% from three-point range this season after shooting 26.1% from distance last season. – Martin deposited 31 treys this season after making 30 all of last season. He was 6-for-7 (.857) from three-point range against Seton Hall in the BIG EAST opener. The six made treys were a career-high total and a season-best total for the Irish.
BIG EAST BEASTS – Notre Dame is 42-15 (.737) over its last 57 BIG EAST regular-season contests. – The Irish have gone 81-42 (.659) in BIG EAST regular-season play over the past seven seasons. – Notre Dame has gone 54-8 (.871) at home in BIG EAST play over the last seven seasons. That is the best home winning percentage for any BIG EAST school in league play over that time period. The Irish are 26-3 in their last 29 BIG EAST home contests.
POSTSEASON STRETCH – Notre Dame has earned appearances in the postseason in each of the last 13 seasons, which marks the longest stretch in school history. The Irish have been to the NCAA Tournament on eight occasions and the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) five times during this current stretch. Under head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame has played in the NCAAs eight times and NIT four times.
DOUBLE-DUTY – Sophomore guard/forward Pat Connaughton also is a pitcher on the Fighting Irish baseball team. Last spring, he appeared in 12 games, including 10 starts, and posted a 4-4 record with a 3.18 earned-run average. He logged 45.1 innings on the mound and registered 40 strikeouts. – Connaughton was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 50th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.
JACKSON NAMED MCDONALD’S ALL-AMERICAN – Demetrius Jackson, who signed a national letter of intent in November and will join the Fighting Irish next season, has been named to the 2013 McDonald’s High School All-America Team. The 2013 McDonald’s All-American Game will take place April 3 at the United Center in Chicago. – Jackson (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) is the 15th McDonald’s All-American to play at Notre Dame and the fifth under head coach Mike Brey. Jackson is Notre Dame’s first McDonald’s All-American since Luke Zeller in 2005. – Jackson is part of a talented four-man class that will join the Fighting Irish for the 2013-14 campaign. Joining him will be V.J. Beachem (Fort Wayne, Ind./New Haven), Austin Torres (Mishawaka, Ind./Penn) and Steve Vasturia (Medford, N.J./St. Joseph’s Prep).
IRISH RANK NUMBER ONE IN 2012 GSR – University of Notre Dame athletic programs again rank as the best in the country in graduation rates, based on Graduation Success Rate (GSR) figures released by the NCAA–including first-place ratings in the sports of football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and ice hockey. – Among the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision institutions, Notre Dame had the highest percentage of its sports with 100 percent scores (for the seventh time in eight years), with a .863 figure (19 of 22). – In men’s basketball, Notre Dame achieved a perfect 100 GSR rating, with only Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Utah State, Wake Forest, West Virginia and Western Kentucky also reaching the top slot. – The four-year GSR data is based upon the entering classes from 2002 to 2005.