Jan. 6, 2012
Notre Dame (9-6, 1-1) vs. Louisville (13-2, 1-1)
Jan. 7, 2012 – 4:00 p.m. (ET)
KFC Yum! Center (22,000)
Beth Mowins (play-by-play)
Tim Welsh (analyst)
Broadcast on UND.com
Jack Nolan (play-by-play)
Sean Kearney (analyst)
IRISH CONTINUE ROAD SWING ON SATURDAY AT LOUISVILLE
- Notre Dame (9-6, 1-1) will conclude its two-game road trip on Saturday at #11/10 Louisville (13-2, 1-1). Tip-off is slated for 4:00 p.m. (ET) inside the KFC Yum! Center. The Fighting Irish fell at Cincinnati, 71-55, on Wednesday.
- Saturday’s game will be broadcast on ESPNU with Beth Mowins (play-by-play) and Tim Welsh (analyst) calling the action.
- The Fighting Irish Digital Media radio crew of Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Sean Kearney (analyst) will call the action on radio (affiliate listings on Pg. 5) and their broadcast can also be heard on UND.com.
- This will be the 28th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Louisville. The Cardinals hold a 17-10 lead in the series. Notre Dame is 3-5 against Louisville since the Cardinals joined the BIG EAST Conference in 2005.
- This will be Notre Dame’s first visit to the KFC Yum! Center. The Irish are 1-9 all-time against the Cardinals in Louisville, including a 0-4 mark since Louisville became a member of the BIG EAST in ’05. Notre Dame’s lone win versus the Cardinals in Louisville was a 61-53 decision during the 1958-59 season.
- Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey is 3-5 all-time against Louisville.
- The Fighting Irish are 9-0 at home and 0-6 in road/neutral site contests this season.
- The Irish are off to a 1-1 start in BIG EAST play for the fourth straight season. Notre Dame has jumped out to a 2-1 league record in each of the previous five seasons.
IRISH AND CARDINALS USED TO WORKING OVERTIME
- Each of the last three – and four of the last five – Notre Dame-Louisville showdowns have been decided in overtime.
- Five of the eight contests between the two schools since Louisville joined the BIG EAST in 2005 have gone to overtime. The Irish are 1-4 in those games. Three of those overtime meetings took place in Louisville.
- Last season, the Irish captured an 89-79 overtime victory at home over the Cardinals during the regular season (Feb. 9, 2011). Louisville returned the favor by topping Notre Dame, 83-77 in overtime, during the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship (March 11, 2011).
- The last two Irish-Cardinal clashes in Louisville went to overtime. Notre Dame dropped overtime games at Louisville during the 2008-09 (87-73) and 2009-10 (91-89 in double overtime) campaigns.
- The state of Kentucky has not been kind to the Irish of late as Notre Dame is winless in its last 16 games played in the state against either Louisville or Kentucky.
- Notre Dame is 0-7 versus the Cardinals in Louisville and 0-9 against the Wildcats in contests played either in Lexington or at Freedom Hall.
- The last win for an Irish team in the state of Kentucky was against the Wildcats (67-61) at Freedom Hall on Dec. 27, 1980.
- Saturday will be Notre Dame’s first visit to the Bluegrass State since falling to Kentucky, 72-58, during last season’s BIG EAST/SEC Invitational in Louisville’s Freedom Hall.
BIG EAST TRENDS
- Notre Dame is 19-5 over its last 24 BIG EAST regular-season contests. The Irish stood 6-8 through 14 regular-season games during the 2009-10 campaign and then won four straight to finish 10-8. Last season, Notre Dame posted a 14-4 regular-season mark in the league.
- Wednesday’s setback at Cincinnati snapped Notre Dame’s five-game regular-season win streak in league play.
- The Irish are 12-2 over their last 14 BIG EAST regular-season games.
A DIFFERENT GUY EACH NIGHT
- A different player has led the Irish in scoring in each of the last four games. Eric Atkins led Notre Dame with 15 points against Indiana, while Jack Cooley deposited a team-best 19 points versus Sacred Heart. Alex Dragicevich scored a team-high – and career-high – 22 points against Pittsburgh. Jerian Grant led the Irish with 17 points on Wednesday versus Cincinnati.
- Seven different Notre Dame players have posted a team-best point total in a game this season.
ATKINS ADDED AS CAPTAIN
- Sophomore point guard Eric Atkins recently was named Notre Dame’s third captain for the 2011-12 season. Seniors Tim Abromaitis, who is out for the remainder of the campaign due to a torn ACL, and Scott Martin are the other Fighting Irish captains.
- Notre Dame’s 28-game home win streak currently is the fourth-longest streak in the country. It is the second-longest win streak inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center in Irish history. The Fighting Irish won 45 straight at the Joyce Center from March 4, 2006-Jan. 10, 2009.
IRISH ENJOY HOME COOKING IN CONFERENCE PLAY
- Notre Dame has gone 40-5 (.889) at home in BIG EAST play over the last six seasons. That is the best home winning percentage for any BIG EAST school in league play over that time period.
- Notre Dame has won 12 straight BIG EAST games inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. The Irish went undefeated at home in conference play last season. Notre Dame’s last loss at home was a 69-68 setback to St. John’s on Feb. 14, 2010.
SHUFFLING THE LINEUP
- Notre Dame has used eight different starting lineups this season (out of 15 games played). No Notre Dame player has started every game this season (game-by-game starting lineups listed on page 7). Jerian Grant and Scott Martin both have a team-high 14 starts this season.
- Six different Irish players – Joey Brooks (Jr./G), Jack Cooley (Jr./F), Tom Knight (Jr./F), Jerian Grant (So./G), Alex Dragicevich (So./G) and Pat Connaughton (Fr./G-F) – have made their first career start this season.
- The quintet of Eric Atkins, Jack Cooley, Alex Dragicevich, Jerian Grant and Scott Martin has started the last four games (and four games overall this season). That is the most-used starting lineup for the Irish this season. Notre Dame is 2-2 with that starting five.
PROTECTING THE ROCK
- Coming into this week, Notre Dame ranked second nationally – and first in the BIG EAST – in fewest turnovers committed per game (9.7). The Fighting Irish also had the nation’s sixth-best assist-to-turnover ratio (1.57). That mark also ranked first in the BIG EAST.
- Notre Dame has committed fewer than 10 turnovers in a game seven times this season. The Irish had a season-low four turnovers in the victory over Sacred Heart (Dec. 19). The Irish also had a season-high 25 assists (on 35 made baskets) versus the Pioneers.
- With his career-high 22 points against Pittsburgh (Dec. 27), sophomore guard Alex Dragicevich became the seventh Notre Dame player to score 20 or more points in a game this season. The other Irish players to net at least 20 points in a game this season are Tim Abromaitis, Eric Atkins, Pat Connaughton, Jack Cooley, Jerian Grant and Scott Martin.
- Atkins, Cooley and Grant all have scored 20-plus points a team-best two times this season.
COOLEY COMING TO PLAY
- Since missing the Maryland game on Dec. 4 due to illness, junior forward Jack Cooley has averaged 16.3 ppg., 10.2 rpg. and 2.5 bpg. in the past six contests. He is shooting 69.8% (37-53) from the field and 77.4% (24-31) from the free throw line during that stretch.
- Cooley notched his team-best third double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds on Wednesday at Cincinnati. That was his first career double-double in BIG EAST play.
- He has a team-high five double-digit rebounding games this season, including two in a row.
- Against Delaware State (Nov. 18), Cooley hauled down a career-high 17 rebounds, which included 10 offensive boards. He became the first Irish player to haul down that many rebounds in a game since Luke Harangody had 17 against Louisville on Feb. 12, 2009.
- Cooley leads the Irish with a 8.4 rpg. average this season, which includes 3.6 offensive boards per game. He also has a team-high 21 blocked shots.
SUCCESS AT THE STRIPE
- The Irish have made more free throws (249) than their opponents have attempted (229). Notre Dame is 249-348 (.716) from the charity stripe this season.
- Notre Dame made a season-high 27 free throws (on 34 attempts) in the win over Sacred Heart on Dec. 19.
ATKINS ON THE ATTACK
- Sophomore point guard Eric Atkins has a team-best 13.5 ppg. average this season. Atkins has scored in double-figures in nine of the 13 games he has played in this season. He missed two games (Sam Houston State & Delaware State) due to illness. He has led Notre Dame in scoring a team-high five times this season.
- Atkins has dished out a career-high nine assists twice this season (Sacred Heart, Dec. 19 & Bryant, Nov. 27).
- Atkins deposited a career-high 27 points versus Mississippi Valley State in the season opener.
- Atkins is 49-62 (.790) from the free throw line and 19-40 (.475) from three-point range this season.
GRANT HAS ALL-AROUND GAME
- Sophomore guard Jerian Grant, who is in his first season playing with the Irish after sitting out all of last season, has team-high totals in points (197), assists (70), steals (18) and minutes played (498). His 23 made three-pointers also are a team-best total. Grant is shooting a team-best 80.6% (54-67) from the free throw line this season.
- Grant ranks seventh nationally – and first in the BIG EAST – with a 3.18 assist-to-turnover ratio.
- Grant has scored in double-figures a team-best 12 times this season, including a current stretch of four straight games.
- He scored a career-high 20 points against both Georgia (Nov. 22) and Maryland (Dec. 4).
- Grant dished out a career-high nine assists versus Pittsburgh in the BIG EAST opener.
- Grant posted his first career double-double by notching 12 points and a career-high 11 rebounds against Bryant (Nov. 27).
- Sophomores Jerian Grant, Eric Atkins and Alex Dragicevich along with freshman Pat Connaughton have accounted for 57.4% of Notre Dame’s scoring this season. They have tallied 615 of the team’s 1,072 points.
HITTING THE CENTURY MARK
- Notre Dame scored a season-high 106 points in the 106-65 win over Sacred Heart (Dec. 19). It was the largest point total for the Irish since a 108-62 win over Northern Illinois on Dec. 8, 2007. It signified the 14th time during the Mike Brey era that the Irish have scored 100 or more points.
- Notre Dame shot a season-best 61.4% (35-57) from the field against Sacred Heart. It marked the first time the Irish shot above 60% from the field since they connected on 60.7% (37-61) of their shots in a 101-69 win over Bucknell on Dec. 22, 2009. The 35 made field goals versus Sacred Heart also were a season-high total for Notre Dame.
GET TO 60
- Notre Dame is 8-1 this season when scoring 60 or more points, while the Irish are 1-5 when scoring less than 60 points. The Fighting Irish are averaging 80.0 ppg. in their nine wins, while they are averaging 58.7 ppg. in the six losses.
CRASHING THE BOARDS
- The Fighting Irish have a +6.0 rebound margin in their nine wins, while they have been out-rebounded by an 9.7 margin in their six setbacks.
- Junior forward Tom Knight scored a career-high nine points against Sacred Heart on Dec. 19. He has established a career-high point total in three of the last six games. Knight matched a then career-high with seven points versus Maine (Dec. 8) before netting eight points in the next contest against Dartmouth (Dec. 10).
- Freshman Pat Connaughton has scored in double-figures four times this season.
- Connaughton’s 24 points against Sam Houston State (Nov. 16) were the most for a Notre Dame freshman since Torin Francis had 25 against Arizona in the Sweet 16 of the 2003 NCAA Tournament (March 27, 2003).
- Connaughton’s six made three-pointers (on 10 attempts) against Sam Houston State were the most for an Irish freshman since Chris Thomas had six against Connecticut in the semifinals of the 2002 BIG EAST Tournament (March 8, 2002).
- Connaughton’s 24 points off the bench in the Sam Houston State game were the most bench points by an Irish player since Chris Quinn netted 25 against Quinnipiac during the 2003-04 campaign (Dec. 23, 2003).
BEYOND THE ARC
- Notre Dame has hit 10 or more three-pointers in a game three times this season. The Irish deposited 11 treys against Bryant (Nov. 27) and Delaware State (Nov. 18) and they hit 10 versus Sam Houston State (Nov. 16). The Fighting Irish made 10 or more three-pointers in a game seven times last season.
423 AND COUNTING
- Notre Dame has made at least one three-pointer in 423 straight contests dating back to the 1998-99 campaign. The Fighting Irish have made at least one three pointer during every game of the Mike Brey era. The last time an Irish team failed to hit a three-pointer in a game was in a 101-70 loss to Connecticut at the Hartford Civic Center on Jan. 12, 1999. Notre Dame finished 0-7 from beyond the arc in that contest. In 2008-09, the Irish set a single-season three-point record with 319.
- Eight teams on Notre Dame’s 2011-12 schedule are ranked in the latest Associated Press top-25 poll (Jan. 2), including four in the top 10. Five of the squads – #1 Syracuse, #8 Connecticut, #9 Georgetown, #11 Louisville and #20 Marquette – are BIG EAST foes, while the Fighting Irish faced #7 Missouri, #12 Indiana and #25 Gonzaga in non-conference action. The Irish will meet eighth-ranked UConn twice during the regular season.
- Freshman guard/forward Pat Connaughton also is a pitcher on the Fighting Irish baseball team. Connaughton is the 66th Notre Dame student-athlete to compete in both basketball and baseball and the first to do so since Tom Hansen during the 1973-74 academic year.