Nov. 11, 2016
The college basketball season has arrived. The University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team begins the 2016-17 season and the 2016 Legends Classic on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 12:00 p.m. ET against Bryant University in Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
WHO: Notre Dame vs. Bryant
WHEN: Saturday, November 12, 2016 | 12:00 p.m. ET | ACC Network extra
WHERE: Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center
WHAT: 2016 Legends Classic | Notre Dame Regional | Game 1
BROADCAST INFORMATION: ACC Network Extra, utilizing the Notre Dame Basketball Radio Network call with Jack Nolan and Zach Hillesland. Complete Notre Dame men’s basketball broadcast information.
Here are ‘Five Things To Know’ about Saturday’s matchup with Bryant –
BRYANT UNIVERSITY AT A GLANCE:
Bryant University is located in Smithfield, Rhode Island, and is a member of the Northeast Conference. Its team colors are black and gold and its nickname is the bulldogs. The school was established in 1863 and has an enrollment of just over 3,600 students.
Bryant returns its four top scorers from the 2015-16 season in senior forward Dan Garvin, junior guard Hunter Ware, NEC Rookie of the Year Marcel Pettway and NEC all-rookie team selection Nisre Zouzoua. The Bulldogs were selected to finish third in the NEC by vote of the league’s coaches. Bryant finished the 2015-16 season with a 8-23 record and was 5-13 in the NEC.
Notre Dame is 2-0 all-time against Bryant, the most recent meeting coming in the 2013 BlackRock Gotham Classic, a 70-59 Irish victory led by 23 points and nine assists from Jerian Grant.
The Irish host Bryant in their 2016-17 season opener on Saturday. The Irish are 16-0 all-time in season openers under head coach Mike Brey (since 2000-01) with all of those games also serving as the team’s home opener. Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 83.3 – 55.3 in its first game of the season during the Brey era.
Historically, the Irish are 93-18 (.838) in season openers and 100-11 (.901) in home openers.
Among the superlatives posted in season/home openers in the Brey era, Chris Thomas posted the first and only triple-double in school history in 2001 against New Hampshire, scoring 24 points with 11 assists and 11 steals. It also was his first game in an Irish uniform.
Both Thomas’ assist and steal totals are the best in a season/home opener in the Brey era, as is Troy Murphy’s 31 points in 2000 against Sacred Heart, Thomas’ 34 minutes played vs. New Hampshire, Torin Francis’ 19 rebounds against Northern Illinois in 2003 and Jordan Cornette’s 11 blocks against Belmont in 2002.
NOTRE DAME IN-SEASON TOURNAMENT HISTORY:
Notre Dame started its in-season tournament appearances during the 1948 season, taking part in the Hoosier Classic at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. The Hoosier Classic was made up of Notre Dame, Indiana, Purdue and Butler – a similar layout to the current Crossroads Classic that takes place at BankersLife Fieldhouse in December of each season. The Hoosier Classic, however, featured two games for each team over the course of two days, while the Crossroads Classic is a one-game event.
Since 1948, Notre Dame has competed in 33 multiple-game tournaments and compiled a 46-35 (.568) record in those events.
The contest with Bryant marks the first game of the 2016 Legends Classic tournament for the Irish, a four-game slate of games that will wrap up with two games in the Barclays Center on Nov. 21 and 22. The Irish have taken part in two previous in-season tournaments that followed this format – the 2009 Chicago Invitational Tournament and the 2013 BlackRock Gotham Classic (in which the Irish also faced Bryant).
USE INK TO PUT VASTURIA IN THE STARTING LINEUP:
Senior guard and team tri-captain Steve Vasturia, who head coach Mike Brey has said keeps him calm on the sidelines while in the lineup, has started 86 consecutive games for the Irish. As a freshman guard, Vasturia’s first start came at Maryland on Jan. 15, 2014, but he entered the starting line up permanently on Jan. 28, 2014, playing 28 minutes and scoring seven points in a 68-53 loss to Virginia at Purcell Pavilion. The Philadelphia, Pa., native has not left the Irish starting five since that game.
Vasturia is on pace to become just the fourth Notre Dame player to start 100 consecutive games in a career in the final contest of the 2016 calendar year at Pittsburgh on Dec. 31.
Pat Connaughton, a former teammate of Vasturia’s in 2013-14 and 2014-15, holds the school record for consecutive games started at 139. Chris Thomas (2002-05) started all 128 games of his career at Notre Dame and Pat Garrity (1995-98) was in the starting lineup for all 111 games of his career with the Irish.
BEACHEM ON NAISMITH AWARD WATCH LIST:
Senior forward V.J. Beachem has been named on of 50 players from across the country on the initial watchlist for the Naismith Award, presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club to the top college basketball player in the nation.
Beachem begins the 2016-17 season hoping to capitalize on his momentum from the 2014-15 postseason, averaging over 17 points for the Irish in their run to the NCAA Elite Eight. Hitting clutch three pointers throughout the the NCAA run, Beachem was named to the NCAA East Regional all-tournament team.
Beachem hit 88 three pointers during his junior season, the fourth-most by a third-year player in Notre Dame history. His career .413 shooting percentage from three-point range is seventh on Notre Dame’s career charts as well.