March 11, 2011
#14/14 Louisville (#3 Seed) (24-8) vs.
#4/4 Notre Dame (#2 Seed) (26-5)
BIG EAST Championship Semifinals
9:00 p.m. (ET) – March 11, 2011
Madison Square Garden – New York, N.Y.
Sean McDonough (play-by-play)
Jay Bilas (analyst); Bill Raftery (analyst); Beth Mowins (sideline)
Radio: (Broadcast also on UND.com)
Jack Nolan (play-by-play)
Jordan Cornette (analyst)
– Notre Dame is making its second straight appearance – and fourth overall – in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals. The Irish are 0-3 in the semifinal round. Notre Dame fell to West Virginia, 53-51, in last season’s conference semifinals. Notre Dame is 8-15 all-time in BIG EAST Championship play and 7-10 under head coach Mike Brey.
– This will be the second meeting of the season between Notre Dame and Louisville. The Irish captured an 89-79 overtime victory over the Cardinals on Feb. 9 at home. The Irish outscored the Cardinals 15-5 in overtime, including a 14-0 run to open the extra session.
-Notre Dame and Louisville have gone to overtime five times in the last nine encounters between the two schools. The Irish are 1-4 in those overtime contests versus the Cardinals.
-This will be the 27th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Louisville. The Cardinals lead the series 16-10. This will be the first showdown between the Irish and Cardinals in the BIG EAST Championship. Notre Dame is 3-4 versus the Cardinals since Louisville joined the BIG EAST in 2005.
– Notre Dame will face its 11th ranked opponent of the season tonight against Louisville. The Irish are 8-2 overall against the 10 ranked foes they have played and they have defeated each of the last seven ranked opponents they have faced. Notre Dame’s seven regular-season victories over teams from the top-25 are a school record as are the eight ranked wins overall.
– Notre Dame’s No. 4 ranking in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today rankings is the highest for an Irish team since January 1980.
– Notre Dame’s 38-point win (89-51) over Cincinnati on Thursday in the BIG EAST semifinals was the second-largest margin of victory in the history of the BIG EAST Championship. It was second only to a 96-55 (41 pts.) Syracuse win over Boston College on March 3, 1999.
– The Fighting Irish are 12-1 in their last 13 games.
– This season’s 26 wins are the most during the Mike Brey era at Notre Dame (11 seasons). The previous high was 25 in 2007-08. The 26 victories tie the most in the modern era of Notre Dame basketball. The Irish were 26-3 in 1973-74. Notre Dame’s highest win total ever was 33 (33-7) in 1908-09.
– Notre Dame’s 15 BIG EAST wins (14 regular season, 1 tournament) this season are the most in program history (combined regular season and tournament).
– Notre Dame is 55-43 (.561) all-time inside Madison Square Garden.
– Notre Dame committed a season-low five turnovers on Thursday against Cincinnati. The previous low was seven on two occasions (Marquette and Louisville). It was the first time Notre Dame had five turnovers or less in a game since the Irish had two against DePaul on Jan. 23, 2010. The Irish did not commit a turnover in the second half of the Cincinnati contest.
– The Irish have had fewer than 10 turnovers in a game 11 times this season (seven times against a BIG EAST team).
– The Fighting Irish shot 56.1% (32-57) from the field on Thursday against Cincinnati. That is the highest percentage for the Irish in a BIG EAST Tournament game. It also marked the 12th time this season – and the fourth time in the last five games – the Irish have shot 50% or above from the floor. The 56.1% matched a season-best total for the Irish against a BIG EAST opponent. Notre Dame also went 32-57 from the field against Providence (Feb. 23).
– Notre Dame’s 32 made field goals against Cincinnati were a program record for a BIG EAST Tournament game. The previous high was 29 on four occasions.
– Notre Dame’s 89 points in its quarterfinal victory matched its largest output in a BIG EAST Tournament game. The Irish also scored 89 in an 89-83 win over Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the 2007 tournament.
– Notre Dame has scored 80 or more points in a game 14 times this season (six times against a BIG EAST opponent).
– The Irish outscored Cincinnati 49-21 during the second half of Thursday’s contest. Notre Dame did not commit a second-half turnover and the Irish shot 64.3% (18-28) from the field in the stanza. Notre Dame held Cincinnati to a 26.9% (7-26) mark in the second half.
– The Fighting Irish held Cincinnati to just 32.8% (19-58) shooting from the floor. Notre Dame has held 13 of its opponents to 40% or below shooting from the field. The Irish held California under 30% on Nov. 26.
– Senior guard Ben Hansbrough netted a game-high 23 points on Thursday against Cincinnati. Hansbrough has scored 20-plus points in the past five games. That’s the most consecutive games with 20 or more points in his career. Hansbrough has scored over 20 points in a game a team-best 15 times this season.
– Ben Hansbrough has a career-high 14-game double-figure scoring streak. That’s the longest double-digit scoring streak for the Irish this season. Hansbrough has scored in double-digits a team-high 29 times this season (out of 31 games).
– Over the past 12 games, Ben Hansbrough is averaging 23.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists. He is shooting 57.8% (93-161) from the field, including 48.1% (37-77) from three-point range, during those 12 contests. The Irish are 11-1 in that stretch.
– Ben Hansbrough needs just two points to become the 52nd 1,000-point scorer in Notre Dame history. Hansbrough scored his 1,000th career point in the season opener against Georgia Southern. He netted 569 points in two seasons (65 games) at Mississippi State. Hansbrough has tallied 998 points in 66 career outings (15.1 ppg) with the Irish.
– Tim Abromaitis, who had 17 points against Cincinnati, has scored in double-figures in nine of the past 10 games and 26 times overall this season.
– Carleton Scott scored 18 points against Cincinnati on Thursday. He has notched a double-digit point total 19 times this season (out of 27 games played).
– Scott Martin (11 points) also netted double-figures for the Irish against Cincinnati in the BIG EAST quarterfinals. Martin has reached double-figures 17 times this season (out of 30 games played).
– Notre Dame has had at least four players score in double-figures in the same game 14 times this season.
– Notre Dame held a 38-33 advantage in rebounds over the Bearcats on Thursday. The Irish are 22-1 this season when they out-rebound their opponent.
– The Irish were 16-21 from the free throw line on Thursday, while Cincinnati was 8-17. Notre Dame is 22-0 this season when making more free throws than its opponent.
– Over the past 12 games, freshman point guard Eric Atkins has compiled 34 assists and just nine turnovers in 243 minutes of play (a 3.78 assist-to-turnover ratio). Atkins has a team-best 2.86 assist-to-turnover ratio this season. As a team, Notre Dame boasts a 1.58 assist-to-turnover ratio this season.
– Notre Dame’s 22 assists (on 32 made field goals) against Cincinnati signified the 10th time this season the Irish have dished off 20 or more assists in a game.
– Sophomore forward Jack Cooley’s seven rebounds versus Cincinnati marked the first time in his career that he’s led the Irish in boards.
– The Irish are 20-1 this season when leading at halftime. The only loss came at West Virginia. The Irish led the Mountaineers 27-26 at the intermission, yet fell 72-58.
– Notre Dame is 6-0 this season in games decided by five points or less. Five of those contests have occurred during BIG EAST play. The Fighting Irish are 2-0 in overtime this season.
– Notre Dame is 4-1 at neutral sites this season. The lone loss came against Kentucky, 72-58, in Louisville, Ky.
– Scott Martin’s three-pointer just over a minute into the Cincinnati contest extended Notre Dame’s streak to 405 straight games with a made three-pointer. The Fighting Irish have made at least one three pointer during every game of the Mike Brey era.
– Tyrone Nash, Tim Abromaitis and Ben Hansbrough have started all 31 games this season, while Scott Martin has 30 starts. Carleton Scott, who missed four games earlier this season with a hamstring injury, has started 26 contests.
– Notre Dame is 24-3 this season when Carleton Scott has played and the Irish are 12-1 since he’s returned from a hamstring injury. Notre Dame went 2-2 when Scott was out with the injury.
– Senior forward Tyrone Nash extended his consecutive games played streak on Thursday to a team-best 81 contests. Nash, Tim Abromaitis (Sr./F) and Ben Hansbrough (Sr./G) have played in all 66 games over the past two seasons. Nash and Hansbrough both have started all 66 of those contests.
– Notre Dame is 32-7 (.821) in its last 39 games dating back to last season. Following a double-overtime loss to Louisville (91-89) in Freedom Hall on Feb. 17, 2010, the Irish won their final four regular-season games in 2009-10 (Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Connecticut and Marquette) and won two games in the BIG EAST Tournament (Seton Hall and Pittsburgh) before losing to West Virginia in the conference championship semifinals and to Old Dominion in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament.