Demetrius Jackson

Berth In Final Four For Irish Against Top-Ranked Kentucky

March 27, 2015

Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Irish NCAA Tournament Central

Marv Albert (play-by-play)
Chris Webber (analyst)
Len Elmore (analyst)
Lewis Johnson (reporter)

Westwood One
Sirius/XM (check listings)

Jack Nolan (play-by-play)
Torrian Jones (analyst)


  • A berth in the 2015 Men’s Final Four and a trip to Indianapolis is on the line for No. 3 seed Notre Dame (32-5, 14-4 ACC) on Saturday night when the Irish face No. 1 seed Kentucky (37-0, 18-0) in the Midwest Regional final in Cleveland, Ohio. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:49 p.m. (ET) inside Quicken Loans Arena.
  • The Fighting Irish are making their first appearance in a regional final since 1979 when they dropped an 80-68 decision to eventual national champion Michigan State in Indianapolis.
  • Saturday’s matchup can be seen on TBS with Marv Albert (play-by-play), Chris Webber (analyst), Len Elmore (analyst) and Lewis Johnson (reporter) on the call.
  • Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Torrian Jones (analyst) will be on the Notre Dame radio call. The broadcast can be heard on The Notre Basketball Radio Network headed by WSBT 96.1 FM and 960 AM in South Bend. A complete affiliate list is available on page 3 of this notes packet. The broadcast also is available on Sirius/XM (check listings).
  • The winner of the Notre Dame-Kentucky contest will face the winner of the West Regional final matchup between Wisconsin and Arizona.
  • With its 81-70 win over No. 7 Wichita State on Thursday night, the Irish upped their win streak to eight games (six in the postseason – three at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship and three in the NCAA tournament).


  • Notre Dame owns a 1-4 record in regional final appearances.
  • The only win for Notre Dame in a regional final came in 1978 when the Irish defeated DePaul 84-64 in Lawrence, Kansas on March 19 en route to the program’s only Final Four appearance in its 110-year history.
  • The last time Notre Dame played in a regional final was against Michigan State in 1979 as a No. 1 seed in the Mideast Region on March 18, 1979,. The Irish dropped an 80-68 decision to No. 2 Michigan State in Indianapolis, Indiana.. The Spartans went on that season to win the national championship.


  • Notre Dame made its 16th appearance in a regional semifinal with its win over Wichita State on Thursday night.
  • It was the first appearance since 2003 in the Sweet 16 for an Irish team. That year, Notre Dame fell to Arizona, 88-71, in the Sweet 16 in Anaheim, California.
  • Prior to Thursday night, the Irish had not won a game in the Sweet 16 since a 79-71 victory over Toldeo in Indianapolis in 1979.
  • With the win over Wichita State, the Irish are now 6-10 all-time in the regional semifinals.


  • Notre Dame is now 8-1 this season against its fellow Sweet 16 teams (2-1 vs. Duke, 2-0 vs. North Carolina, 1-0 vs. Louisville, 1-0 vs. NC State, 1-0 vs. Michigan State, 1-0 vs. Wichita State). The eight wins are the most by any team in the tournament. Heading into its regional semifinal game, Duke also had seven wins (7-3).


  • This season’s 32 wins are the second-most in Notre Dame history. The program record is 33 victories in 1908-09 (33-7).


  • Notre Dame boasts an all-time record of 34-37 in the NCAA tournament (34 appearances).
  • This is Notre Dame’s fourth trip in the last five seasons and the 10th appearance in 15 campaigns under head coach Mike Brey. Brey has an 9-9 NCAA Championship record during his Notre Dame tenure.
  • Notre Dame’s three wins in this year’s NCAA tournament matches the most in program history. The Irish also had three wins in 1978 during its Final Four run.


  • Notre Dame’s matchup against Kentucky will mark the 35th time in program history the an Irish team has gone up against a No. 1 team.
  • Notre Dame owns a 10-24 mark all-time against top-ranked foes (ranked in either the Associated Press or Coaches’ poll).
  • The last time the Irish faced a No. 1 ranked team was on Feb. 3, 2014 when they dropped a 61-55 decision to Syracuse on the road.
  • Notre Dame’s last win over a top-ranked foe was against Syracuse at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center as the Irish earned a 67-58 victory on Jan. 21, 2012.
  • Notre Dame has faced Kentucky on six occasions when the Wildcats have been ranked No. 1 and are 1-5 in those matchups. After five straight setbacks, the lone win for an Irish team over a top-ranked Kentucky squad came on Dec. 27, 1980 — 67-61 in Louisville.
  • Notre Dame has faced a top-ranked Kentucky in the NCAA tournament on one other occasion. That contest was played in 1970 (Mideast Region) as the Irish were beaten 109-99 by the Wildcats in Columbus, Ohio on March 12.
  • The last time Notre Dame faced on No.-1 ranked team was in 2002 when the Irish dropped an 84-77 decision to Duke in a South Region second-round matchup on March 16, 2002.


  • Notre Dame is 6-0 in postseason play this season (3-0 ACC tournament, 3-0 NCAA tournament).
  • Those six games have been decided by 43 points (7.2 ppg.).
  • All five Fighting Irish starters are averaging double-figures in points in those games – Jerian Grant 15.3, Zach Auguste 13.7, Demetrius Jackson 13.3, Steve Vastuia 12.8, Pat Connaughton 12.5.
  • The Irish are shooting 51.5 percent from the field (40.0 percent from three-point range). Notre Dame opponents have been held to a 42.9 percent mark from the floor (24.3 from three-point range).


  • This will be the 62nd meeting between the two teams and the first since Nov 2012 at Notre Dame as the Irish defeated the Wildcats 64-50 in a matchup between the two schools in the BIG EAST/SEC Challenge.
  • Kentucky leads the all-time series 42-19 and has won 11 of the last 13 games the two teams have played against each other.
  • The Irish and Wildcats have faced each twice in NCAA tournament action with Kentucky winning both of those contests.
  • The first meeting occurred in the finals of the Mideast Region in Lexington, Kentucky with the Wildcats coming away with an 89-56 victory on March 15, 1958. The other matchup took place on March 12, 1970 as Kentucky earned a 109-99 victory over the Irish.
  • Irish head coach Mike Brey is 2-5 all-time versus Kentucky. All seven of those games has been while he has been at Notre Dame.


  • Notre Dame is a 46-70 versus teams that currently compise the Southeastern Conference.
  • The Irish have faced Kentucky (61 times) more than any other SEC opponent.
  • The last SEC foe the Irish faced were the Wildcats (on Nov. 29, 2012).


  • Notre Dame is 15-3 this season in games played away from Purcell Pavilion (7-2 road, 8-1 neutral). The 15 road/neutral wins are the most for the Irish since the 1957-58 season when they won 14 away from home (14-3).
  • Notre Dame finished its ACC road schedule with a 7-2 record. The Fighting Irish had never won six conference road games in a single campaign prior to this season.


  • Notre Dame entered the NCAA Tournament on a five-game winning streak, the longest winning streak for the program entering the NCAAs since the 1986-87 season. That year the Irish won their last nine regular-season games before entering the tournament. The Irish reached the Sweet 16 that year before losing to North Carolina.


  • Mike Brey has plenty of NCAA Championship experience both as a head coach and as an assistant coach. He has an 9-11 record in the NCAA Championship as a head coach (9-9 at Notre Dame) and is 6-4 in opening-round games with the Irish (6-6 all-time).
  • This is the first time he has guided the Fighting Irish to the Elite Eight.
  • In Saturday’s matchup with Kentucky, he will be coaching in his 57th NCAA Championship contest. In 18 coaching appearances (as either a head coach or assistant coach), he is 40-16 (.714) with six Final Four appearances and two national titles as an assistant coach.
  • Brey reached the NCAA tournament as an assistant at Duke from 1988-95. In that span, Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils posted a 31-5 mark that included Final Four berths in 1988, ’89, ’90, ’91, ’92 and ’94. From 1988-92, Duke reached the Final Four in five consecutive seasons and compiled a 25-3 record, including back-to-back national titles in ’91 and ’92.
  • As head coach at Delaware, he guided the Blue Hens to NCAA tournament berths in 1998 and 1999.


  • With its 90-82 win over North Carolina in the title game of the ACC Tournament, Notre Dame won its first conference tourney in school history. The Fighting Irish played in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Tournament on six occasions, but never reached the championship game.
  • The Fighting Irish claimed the championship in their second year of membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference, becoming the first school outside of the league’s original membership to win the title in its first or second year in the ACC.
  • Notre Dame became the third team from outside North Carolina to win the tournament title in the Tar Heel state by defeating both UNC and Duke along the way, joining Maryland (1958) and Georgia Tech (1993).
  • Jerian Grant tallied 24 points and 10 assists versus the Tar Heels and was named tournament MVP. In three ACC Tournament games, Grant averaged 16.7 points and 6.3 assists.
  • Pat Connaughton and Steve Vasturia joined Grant on the all-tournament first team, while Demetrius Jackson was a second-team selection.
  • Grant (24) and Connaughton (20) both scored 20-plus points versus the Tar Heels. It was the second time during their careers that they both netted 20-plus points in the same contest (Delaware last season).


  • Notre Dame and head coach Mike Brey defeated Mike Krzyzewski of Duke in the ACC semifinals and Roy Williams of North Carolina in the finals to win the ACC Championship. Both Krzyzewski and Williams are already in the Naismith Hall of Fame.
  • Brey became just the second coach to win the ACC Championship with two victories over coaches already in the Naismith Hall of Fame. Current Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton accomplished the feat at the 2012 ACC Tournament with wins over Duke and North Carolina.
  • Notre Dame has five wins this year over coaches who are already in the Naismith Hall of Fame. Brey and the Irish have two wins apiece over Krzyzewski and Williams and also defeated Rick Pitino and Louisville. In fact, Notre Dame has a five-game winning streak entering the NCAA Tournament and three of the five wins are over coaches in the Hall of Fame.


  • Notre Dame became just the third non-North Carolina school to defeat Duke and North Carolina in an ACC Tournament played in the Tar Heel State when it defeated Duke in the semifinals and North Carolina in the finals. The other schools to do it are Maryland in 1958 and Georgia Tech in 1993.
  • Notre Dame also defeated Duke and North Carolina during the regular season, so the Irish had two wins apiece over the Blue Devils and Tar Heels this year.
  • Notre Dame is just the third school in the last 20 seasons to beat Duke and North Carolina twice in the same season. Georgia Tech was 2-0 vs. both schools in 1995-96 and Florida State was 2-1 vs. Duke and 2-0 vs. North Carolina in 2011-12. The Seminoles also defeated Duke and North Carolina in winning the ACC Championship in 2012, but the tournament was not in the state of North Carolina.
  • Three of Notre Dame’s four total wins against Duke and North Carolina are away from home. Florida State is the only other school to accomplish that in the last 20 years.


  • This season’s 14-4 ACC mark matched Notre Dame’s top conference record. The Fighting Irish went 14-4 in BIG EAST play twice (2007-08 & 2010-11).
  • Notre Dame has won at least 10 conference games five times in the last six seasons.
  • Head coach Mike Brey has guided the Irish to at least 10 league wins in 10 of his 15 seasons in South Bend (nine times in the BIG EAST and once in the ACC).


  • Jerian Grant has had a hand in 42.8 percent of Notre Dame’s 2,897 points this season. He’s netted a team-high 613 points and his team-best 247 assists have led to 627 Fighting Irish points.
  • Grant has been involved in 165 0f Notre Dame’s 298 made three-pointers this season (55.4%). He has made 49 treys and he’s assisted on 116.
  • Grant has had a hand in 45 of Notre Dame’s 71 made three-pointers in the last 11 games (63.4%). He has made eight of those treys while assisting on 38.


  • Jerian Grant played all 125 minutes of Notre Dame’s first three NCAA Championship games (Northeastern, Butler and Wichita State) and averaged 14.0 points per contest. He was 15-of-32 from the field in those three games.
  • Grant has scored in double-figures in 10 of the last 11 games.
  • He has team-high averages for points (16.6) and assists (6.6) this season and he’s netted double-figures in a team-best 33 games (out of 37).
  • Grant notched 24 points and 10 assists against North Carolina in the title game of the ACC Tournament. That was the third time this season he’s posted at least 20 points and 10 assists in a game.
  • Grant has five double-doubles this season and nine during his career.
  • He ranks eighth nationally in assists per game (6.6) and 13th in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.05).
  • Grant has scored 20-plus points a team-best 11 times this season. He netted a career-high 27 points versus Michigan State (Dec. 3).
  • Grant posted 23 points and a career-high 12 assists in the 77-73 triumph of Duke on Jan. 28. His 12 assists were the most ever for an Irish player in an ACC game.
  • Grant’s 2.57 career assist-to-turnover ratio ranks fifth among active Division I players.


  • Jerian Grant is the only player in Irish history with 1,700 points, 600 assists, 150 steals and 30 blocked shots.
  • In Fighting Irish history, Grant ranks third in assists (684), fifth in steals (173), sixth in games started (116) and 11th in points (1,724).


  • Jerian Grant is a finalist for the Naismith Player of the Year Trophy and he is on the midseason watch list for the John R. Wooden Award. He also is a finalist for the Oscar Robertson Trophy and the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award.
  • Mike Brey is a semifinalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award.


  • Senior Pat Connaughton has played in all 138 games during his career and has started all but 16 of those contests. He ranks first in program history in games played and is tied for third in games started (122).
  • Connaughton has started 119 consecutive games. He is the third player in Notre Dame history to start at least 100 straight games. Chris Thomas (2002-05) started all 128 games during his Fighting Irish career and Pat Garrity (1995-98) was in the starting lineup during all 111 contests of his career.


  • Pat Connaughton leads the Irish in rebounding (7.4 rpg.) and is tied for third in scoring (12.6 ppg.).
  • Connaughton has 1,457 points and 814 rebounds during his Irish career. He is the eighth player in Notre Dame history with 1,400 points and 800 rebounds.
  • Connaughton has a team-best eight double-doubles this season and his 15 career double-doubles are the most for any current Irish player.
  • Nationally, Connaughton is 17th in three-point percentage (.426) and 37th in made three-pointers (92).
  • Connaughton ranks fifth in Notre Dame history in made three-pointers (267).
  • He is 34th nationally (second in the ACC) in defensive rebounds per game (6.32).



  • The Fighting Irish are 5-0 after losses this season. The last Notre Dame team to not lose back-to-back games in the same campaign was the 1988-89 squad.


  • The Fighting Irish were 50-of-57 (.877) from the free throw line in the final two games of the ACC Tournament. Notre Dame was 42-of-55 (.764) in the three games of the NCAA Championship.
  • Jerian Grant set an ACC Tournament record for a championship game by making 15-of-18 free throws against North Carolina. The previous mark for free throws made in a championship game was 14 by Kyle Singler of Duke against Georgia Tech in 2010.
  • Grant made 28-of-31 free throws for the three games in the tournament. His 28 made free throws were the most in a tournament by any player since 1962 when Len Chappell of Wake Forest made 33.
  • Grant made his first 19 free throws of the tournament.
  • Grant shot 90.3 percent from the foul line for the tournament and many were in the clutch. In the wins over Duke and North Carolina he was a combined 10-of-12 from the line inside the last five minutes.


  • Notre Dame boasts the nation’s second-best field goal percentage (.511).
  • The Irish shot a season-best 66.0 percent from the field against Boston College (Feb. 21). It was the third time this season (first in ACC play) that Notre Dame shot 60 percent from the floor. Notre Dame has shot 50.0 percent or better in 24 of 37 games this season.


  • Notre Dame is fourth nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.60) and fifth in fewest turnovers per game (9.4).
  • The Fighting Irish have turned the ball over less than 10 times in 19 games this season.
  • The Irish had a season-low four turnovers versus Michigan State (Dec. 3) and Clemson (March 7).


  • Notre Dame is 13th nationally in scoring (78.3 ppg.).
  • The Fighting Irish scored 80-plus points seven times in ACC regular-season play, which was tied with Duke for the most in the league.
  • The 90 points scored against North Carolina in the title game of the ACC Tournament were the most the Irish have ever netted in an ACC contest (regular season or tournament).
  • Notre Dame’s 78.3 points-per-game average this season is the highest since the Irish averaged 79.0 ppg. during the 2007-08 campaign.


  • All five Fighting Irish starters are averaging at least 9.8 points per game this season – Jerian Grant (16.6), Zach Auguste (12.7), Pat Connaughton (12.6), Demetrius Jackson (12.6) and Steve Vasturia (9.9).
  • Notre Dame has had five different leading scorers in the last eight games.
  • Notre Dame matched a season-best mark with six double-figure scorers in the win at Boston College (Feb. 21). The Irish also had six double-digit scorers versus Purdue (Dec. 20).
  • Notre Dame has had at least four players reach double-figures in 28 of 36 games this season.
  • The Fighting Irish have had five or more double-digit scorers on 12 occasions.


  • With his career-high 20-point effort on Saturday against Butler, Steve Vasturia became the fifth different Notre Dame player to tally 20 points in a game this season. Jerian Grant has done it a team-best 11 times, while Zach Auguste (4), Demetrius Jackson (4) and Pat Connaughton (3) also have netted 20-plus points on multiple occasions this season.


  • Notre Dame is 18th nationally in made three-point field goals (298) and 22nd in three-point field goal percentage (.392).
  • Notre Dame has made 10 or more treys in a game 10 times this season. The Irish made a season-best 14 three-pointers (14-of-25) against Chicago State (Nov. 29).
  • Four Irish players are shooting 40.0 percent or higher from three-point range (min. 90 att.) – Pat Connaughton (42.6%), V.J. Beachem (41.6%), Demetrius Jackson (43.2%) and Steve Vasturia (40.6%).
  • Five Notre Dame players have made at least 42 treys this season – Connaughton (92), Vasturia (58), Jerian Grant (49), Jackson (54) and Beachem (42).


  • Junior forward Zach Auguste has averaged 15.7 points and 8.0 rebounds in Notre Dame’s NCAA tournament wins over Northeastern, Butler and Wichita State. He was 18-of-27 (.667) from the field in those three games, including a perfect six-for-six from the field against the Shockers on Thursday night.
  • His 25 points against Northeastern were one shy of his career-high mark and they were the most points for an Irish player in an NCAA tournament game since Torin Francis netted 25 against Arizona in the 2003 regional semifinals.
  • Auguste tied a career-high total of 13 rebounds against Butler. He also had 13 boards versus North Carolina in the title game of the ACC Tournament.
  • Auguste averaged 11.7 points and a team-best 9.3 rebounds per game in the ACC Tournament. He also had a team-high four blocked shots and was tied for the team lead in steals with six. Versus North Carolina in the title game, Auguste tallied 16 points and 13 rebounds. That was his fourth double-double of the season.
  • Auguste has been perfect from the field three times this season – 9-9 vs. Coppin State, 7-7 vs. Northern Illinois, 5-5 vs. Grambling State. His performance against Coppin State tied a Notre Dame record for most field goals without a miss in a single game.
  • Auguste netted a career-high 26 points against Florida State (Dec. 13). Those are the most points ever scored by an Irish player in an ACC game.
  • Auguste is averaging 12.6 points per game after posting a 6.7 ppg. mark last season (+5.9).


  • Sophomore Demetrius Jackson is shooting 58.8 percent (30-51) in Notre Dame’s six postseason games (ACC & NCAA tournaments). He is averaging 13.3 points, 4.2 assists and 1.5 steals in those five contests.
  • He has posted a career-high 22 points twice this season (Michigan State & Purdue).
  • Jackson is averaging 12.6 points per game after notching a 6.0 mark last season (+6.6).


  • Sophomore guard Steve Vasturia tallied a career-high 20 points in the win over Butler. He also pulled down six rebounds against the Bulldogs.
  • Vasturia has registered a double-digit point total 11 times in the last 15 games. He has reached double-figures 20 times overall this season.
  • In Notre Dame’s six postseason contests, Vasturia is averaging 12.8 points per game and is shooting 49.0 percent (25-51) from the field and 44.4 percent (11-25) from three-point range. He also is 16-of-18 (.889) from the free throw line.


  • Freshman forward Bonzie Colson has registered a career-high point total four times in the last 10 games. He tallied 16 points against Boston College (Feb. 21) and Syracuse (Feb. 24) before posting 17 points at Louisville (March 4) and then versus Duke in the ACC semifinals (March 13).
  • In ACC regular-season play he shot a team-best 67.2 percent (41-61) from the floor.


  • Notre Dame has overcome a deficit of 10 points or larger en route to a victory six times this season (see breakdown on Pg. 5).
  • The Irish are 6-3 this season when trailing at halftime. All six wins came in ACC play.


  • The Irish are 9-3 this season in games decided by five points or less (6-2 in ACC play).
  • Notre Dame’s opening two games of the NCAA Championship were decided by a total of seven points.
  • Thirteen of Notre Dame’s 21 ACC contests (regular season & tournament) were decided by eight points or less and the Irish were 10-3 in those games.
  • Last season, Notre Dame was 6-7 in games decided by five points or less.


  • With the victory over Duke in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament, head coach Mike Brey moved into second place on Notre Dame’s all-time wins list. He has compiled a 332-164 (.669) record in his 15 seasons in South Bend. Brey is second behind Digger Phelps on the Notre Dame wins list. Phelps posted a 393-197 record from 1971-91.
  • Brey has registered a 431-216 (.666) record in 20 seasons at Delaware and Notre Dame.


  • The University of Notre Dame athletics department will commemorate the legacy of long-time University president Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., in a number of ways. Father Hesburgh died February 26 at age 97. He served as University president from 1952-87.
  • Notre Dame athletic teams will wear “Fr. Ted” patches or stickers on some combination of their uniforms, warm-ups or helmets. Moments of silence will be observed prior to home events in each of Notre Dame’s 26 varsity sports.
  • In the near future, there will be commemorative signage created for each Notre Dame home athletic venue–to be featured either on the field or court itself or displayed elsewhere at the facility.


  • In early August, the Fighting Irish squad traveled to Italy for a 10-day, four-game foreign tour. Notre Dame posted a 4-0 record. The Irish visited Rome, Perugia, Pesaro, Venice and Como during the trip.
  • It was the program’s first foreign tour since 2008 when the Irish ventured to Ireland for 13 days.


  • The Baltimore Orioles selected Irish swingman Pat Connaughton in the fourth round of June’s Major League Baseball Draft. He was the 121st pick overall. Connaughton spent part of June and July pitching for the Aberdeen IronBirds, the Class A Orioles’ affiliate. Connaughton finished his Fighting Irish baseball career last spring. He posted a 3.03 ERA and had an 11-11 record on the mound during his three seasons. He fanned 105 batters in 154.2 innings pitched.


  • The University of Notre Dame once again claims the 2014 national championship for graduating student-athletes in all sports–in the process posting the top NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) figure (99) for its student-athletes for the eighth straight year. The GSR number for all Notre Dame student-athletes rates the Irish first among the football-playing institutions in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A). The 2014 NCAA figures are based on entering classes from 2004 through 2007. Twenty-one of Notre Dame’s men’s and women’s athletic programs posted GSR numbers that rank them best in the nation within their sports (including 20 perfect 100 scores)– and 11 produced federal graduation rates that led all NCAA FBS institutions (including eight perfect 100 scores). Men’s basketball at 100 tied for first with 14 other schools. Five Irish women’s programs had perfect 100 federal rates ranking them first within their sports among the NCAA FBS subset. Six Irish men’s programs had federal rates ranking them first within their sports (three with perfect 100 scores) among the NCAA FBS subset. Men’s basketball at 85 ranked tied for first with Penn State. Five Irish women’s programs had perfect 100 federal rates ranking them first within their sports among the NCAA FBS subset. Six Irish men’s programs had federal rates ranking them first within their sports (three with perfect 100 scores) among the NCAA FBS subset. Men’s basketball at 85 ranked tied for first with Penn State.