Pat Connaughton

Irish And Tar Heels Set For ACC Championship Finale

March 14, 2015

Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | ACC Tournament Interactive Bracket


  • No. 11/9 Notre Dame (28-5, 14-4 ACC) is set to take on No.19/19 North Carolina (24-10/11-7) in the championship game of the 2015 New York Life ACC Tournament. The matchup for the title is set to tip off at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday inside the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina.
  • Notre Dame will be playing in its first-ever conference championship game. In 18 seasons as a member of the BIG EAST Conference, the Irish played in the semifinals six times, but never advanced to the league’s title game.
  • Notre Dame, the No. 3 seed, received a double-bye into the tournament and advanced to championship game after holding off Miami (70-63) in the quarterfinals and beating Duke 74-64 in the semifinals. (Interactive Bracket)
  • North Carolina, which entered the tournament as the No. 5 seed, beat Boston Collge (81-63) in second round action, Louisville (70-60) in its quarterfinal contest and No. 1 seed Virginia (71-67) in its semifnal matchup.
  • Saturday’s championship title can be seen on ESPN/WatchESPN and the ACC Network.
  • A free audio broadcast for every Notre Dame game at the ACC Tournament will be available on WatchND. Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Torrian Jones (analyst) will be on the call. The broadcasts can also 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 broadcasts also are available on Sirius/XM channel 83.
  • Free live statistics will be available via’s
  • The Irish and the Tar Heels will be meeting for the second time this season. Notre Dame defeated North Carolina 71-70 for its first-ever win in Chapel Hill (1-3).
  • Friday night’s game was the third time Notre Dame and Duke squared off against each other and the win marked the second for the Irish over the Blue Devils this season.
  • A win tonight for the Irish would mark just the third time a school outside of North Carolina won the title in the Tar Heel state by beating Duke and UNC en route to the crown. The two schools to do it were Maryland in 1958 and Georgia Tech in 1993.


  • This season’s 28 wins are the second-most the 110-year history of the Notre Dame basketball program and the most ever for an Irish team under head coach Mike Brey.
  • Brey’s 2010-11 squad won 27 contests en route to a final 27-7 mark.
  • The 84.8 winning percentage is also the second hightest.
  • Notre Dame’s 26 regular-season victories are the most for the program since the 1908-09 squad won 33 (33-7).
  • Notre Dame has won at least 25 games four times in the last eight seasons, including twice in the last three campaigns.


  • With a 14-4 record in league play, Notre Dame has a +8.0 game improvement from a year ago. That is the second-best single-season improvement in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Team 1st Year 2nd Year Imp.
North Carolina 5-11 (2010) 14-2 (2011) +9.0
Notre Dame 6-12 (2014) 14-4 (2015) +8.0
Clemson 3-11 (1986) 10-4 (1987) +7.0
NC State 2-12 (1967) 9-5 (1968) +7.0
Wake Forest 5-9 (1959) 12-2 (1960) +7.0


  • Notre Dame finished its ACC road schedule with a 7-2 record. Prior to this season, the Fighting Irish had never won six conference road games in a single campaign prior to this season.
  • The Irish are 11-3 this season in games played away from Purcell Pavilion.
  • In the 12 neutral/road games during the regular season, Notre Dame was outscored 429-418 in the first half, but the Irish owned a 480-397 scoring advantage in the second half and overtime.
  • Against Miami on Thursday night, Notre Dame outscored the Hurricanes 43-25 in the first half, but then was outscored 38-27 in the final 20 mintues of the contest. In the win over Duke, the Irish held a 41-26 advantage following the first 20 minutes, but were then outscord 38-33 in the final 20-minute stanza.


  • Friday night’s game with the Duke in the semifinals marked the fifth time in the last six seasons, the Irish advanced to the semifinals of their conference championship.
  • As a member of the BIG EAST Conference, Notre Dame was the only school to reach the semifinals four straight seasons from 2010-13.
  • In fact, during its 18 seasons as a member of the BIG EAST, the Irish advanced to the semifinals on six occasi0ns — 2002, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
  • Prior to the win last night, Notre Dame was 0-6 playing in its six appearances on the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship during its 18-year association.
  • The Irish are one of only six teams to make the semifinals of their conference championship in five of the last six seasons. Kansas and Ohio State have earned six appearances in their respective conference championship games, while Notre Dame, Duke, Kansas and Michigan State have advanced on five occasions.


  • Notre Dame and North Carolina will meet for the second time this season. The Irish won the only regular-season meeting between the two schools in Chapel Hill, 71-70, on Jan. 5.
  • The Tar Heels led the all-time series 18-5. The win earlier this season by Notre Dame snapped a five-game losing streak. Prior to that contest, the last win in the series for the Irish came on Jan. 11, 1992.
  • Notre Dame is 4-14 all-time versus North Carolina in road (1-3) and neutral site (3-11) contests.


  • Notre Dame beat Duke for the second time this season (in three meetings) and for the third time in the last four outings.
  • The win over the Blue Devils was the highest-ranked opponent the Irish had beaten since a 67-58 win over top-ranked Syracuse at Purcell Pavilion on Jan. 21, 2012.
  • The victory marked the 10th versus a top-five opponent ranked in the Associated Press poll during Mike Brey’s 15-year tenure.
  • The Irish defeated a top-five opponent for the second time this season (2-2) and are 5-2 overall in 2014-15 versus ranked foes.
  • Notre Dame shot 50.0 percent from the field and that marked the 21st time this season that the Irish shot 50 percent or better from the field.
  • Notre Dame’s 88.0 percentage (22-25) from the charity stripe marked the second-highest free-throw percentage by the Irish this season.
  • The Irish were outrebounded (34-27) for the fifth straight game (ND is 4-1 in those contests).
  • Notre Dame improved to 25-0 when shooting better than its opponent.


  • This season’s 14-4 ACC mark matches Notre Dame’s top conference record. The Fighting Irish went 14-4 in BIG EAST play twice (2007-08 & 2010-11).
  • Notre Dame’s 16 conference wins overall (14 in league and two in the conference championship), are the most for an Irish team.
  • 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).
  • Under Brey, Notre Dame has had only three losing seasons in league play. Prior to Brey’s arrival at Notre Dame, the best league record for the Irish was 8-8 in 1999-2000 in year five as a member of the BIG EAST.


  • Notre Dame is making its third appearance inside the Greensboro Coliseum in the last four seasons. The Fighting Irish fell to Wake Forest, 81-69, in the first round of last year’s ACC tournament and Notre Dame dropped a 67-63 decision to Xavier in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Championship.
  • Notre Dame is 2-2 at the Greensboro Coliseum in the last four games that it has played there.


  • As a member of the BIG EAST Conference from 1995-2013, Notre Dame was 11-18 in its 18 appearances in the BIG EAST Championship. Under head coach Mike Brey, the Irish were 10-13 in BIG EAST tournament play.
  • The Irish are 2-2 in ACC and have a 13-20 record all-time in conference tournament games.
  • Notre Dame’s top BIG EAST Championship finishes were semifinal appearances in 2002, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 (all under Brey).
  • Notre Dame was the only team to advance to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship in every season from 2010-13.


  • Jerian Grant has had a hand in 42.5 percent of Notre Dame’s 2,590 points this season. He’s netted a team-high 547 points and his team-best 216 assists have led to 553 Fighting Irish points.
  • Grant has been involved in 148 of Notre Dame’s 271 made three-pointers this season (54.6%). He has deposited 46 treys and he’s assisted on 102.
  • Grant has had a hand in 29 of Notre Dame’s 44 made three-pointers (65.9%) in the last seven games. He has made five of those treys while assisting on 24.


  • Jerian Grant is the only player in the country who is averaging at least 16.6 points per game, 6.5 assists per game and is shooting at least 48.0 percent from the field this season.
  • Grant leads the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.04), assists per game (6.5) and total assists (216). He is second in the league in steals (57), free throws made (139) and minutes played (1,208).
  • He ranks seventh nationally in assists per game (6.5) and eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.05).
  • Grant has scored 20-plus points a team-best 10 times this season (six ACC games). 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.
  • He has four double-doubles this season and eight during his career. Grant has posted a double-double twice in the last five games. He tallied 24 points and 10 assists in the win over Wake Forest (Feb. 17) and followed that up with a 10-point, 11-assist effort at Boston College (Feb. 21).
  • He became the first Notre Dame player with 10-plus assists in back-to-back games since Chris Thomas did so on Dec. 14 & 22, 2002.
  • Grant’s 2.55 career assist-to-turnover ratio ranks fourth among active Division I players.


  • Jerian Grant is the only player in Notre Dame history with 1,600 points, 600 assists, 150 steals and 30 blocked shots.
  • In Fighting Irish history, Grant ranks third in assists (653), fifth in steals (169), seventh in games started (112) and 13th in points (1,645).
  • Grant and Chris Thomas are the only two players in program history to record 1,600 points and 600 assists. Thomas (2001-05) tallied 2,195 points and 833 assists for the Irish.


  • Senior Pat Connaughton has played in all 134 games (second all-time) during his career and has started all but 16 of those contests. He will play in his 135th game tonight and is one game short of tying the all-time Notre Dame games played record of 136 set by Tory Jackson from 2006-
  • Connaughton has started 115 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 (7.5 rpg.) and is second in scoring (12.6 ppg.).
  • Connaughton has a team-best eight double-doubles this season (four in ACC play) and his 15 career double-doubles are the most for any current Irish player.
  • Connaughton is second in the ACC (20th nationally) in three-point percentage (.426). He is third in the league in made three-pointers (84) and three-pointers per game (2.5).
  • Connaughton is tied for fifth in Notre Dame history in made three-pointers (259).
  • Against Duke, he had his streak of 22 consecutive games with at least one three-pointer halted.
  • He is 22nd nationally (second in the ACC) in defensive rebounds per game (6.45) and he is eighth in the ACC in total rebounds per game (7.4).
  • Connaughton has 1,405 points and 790 rebounds during his Irish career. He is the 10th player in program history with 1,300 points and 700 rebounds.



  • The Fighting Irish are 129-of-165 (.782) from the free throw line in the last sevengames. The hot stretch began with a 27-of-28 (.964) effort versus Wake Forest (Feb. 17).
  • Notre Dame has made more free throws (481) than its opponents have attempted (456) this season.


  • Notre Dame is 12th nationally (second in the ACC) in scoring (78.5 ppg.).
  • The Fighting Irish scored 80-plus points seven times in ACC play, which was tied with Duke for the most in the league.
  • Notre Dame’s 78.5 points-per-game average is the highest since the Irish averaged 79.0 ppg. during the 2007-08 campaign.



  • Junior forward Zach Auguste ranks seventh nationally (second in the ACC) in field goal percentage (.612).
  • Auguste concluded the regular season with a 19-point effort in the win win over Clemson. He was 9-of-13 from the floor against the Tigers en route to his 23rd double-digit effort of the season (12th in ACC play).
  • 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 in the ACC opener. Those are the most points ever scored by an Irish player in an ACC game. He made a career-best 11 field goals (on 15 attempts) versus the Seminoles. That was his third 20-plus point effort of the season (20 vs. Navy, 21 vs. Coppin State).
  • Auguste is averaging 12.3 points per game after posting a 6.7 ppg. mark last season (+5.6).


  • Sophomore point guard Demetrius Jackson has netted double-figures in each of the last five games, including a 21-point effort in the win at Louisville on March 4. Those were the most points he’s ever scored in an ACC game.
  • Jackson scored in double-figures in 14 of 18 ACC games during the regular season.
  • Jackson pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds in the win over Boston College on Feb. 4. He is the third different Irish player with 10 or more rebounds in a game this season (Zach Auguste and Pat Connaughton are the others).
  • Jackson ranks seventh in the ACC in steals (53). He had four steals in the win at Louisville.
  • He has netted 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 has registered a double-digit point total eight times in the last 11 games. He has reached double-figures 17 times this season (11 ACC games).


  • Freshman forward Bonzie Colson matched his career high with 17 points in Friday night’s victory over Duke. Colson also had 17 points in Notre Dame’s win at Louisville.
  • He has scored in double figures five times this season and in four of the last five contests.


  • 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 have come in ACC play.


  • The Irish are 7-3 this season in games decided by five points or less (6-2 in ACC play).
  • Eleven of Notre Dame’s 18 regular-season ACC contests were decided by eight points or less and the Irish were 8-3 in those games.
  • Last season, Notre Dame was 6-7 in games decided by five points or less.


  • The Irish are 3-0 in overtime games this season (vs. Michigan State, vs. Georgia Tech [2ot], at NC State).
  • The Fighting Irish are 9-1 in their last 10 overtime contests.
  • Notre Dame has won its last five overtime games that have taken place at a true road site.
  • Notre Dame is 19-10 in overtime under head coach Mike Brey.


  • Notre Dame has notched at least 20 wins in eight of the last nine seasons. Last season (15-17 record) was the only time the Irish failed to hit that mark during this latest stretch.
  • The Fighting Irish have reached the 20-win plateau 11 times in 15 seasons under head coach Mike Brey. The most wins for the Irish under Brey are 27 (27-7) in 2010-11.


  • 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.