Russell Carter

Irish Face Rider Thursday Night

Inside Notre Dame Basketball (Dec. 28) –

Complete Notes (PDF)

Dec. 27, 2006

Media Information

Television: None
Radio: Jack Nolan (play-by-play analyst)
LaPhonso Ellis (color analyst)

Notre Dame Sports Properties originates the Notre Dame Radio Network which includes: WLS 890 AM in Chicago, Ill. (Chicago land area and Midwest); WZOW 97.7 FM and 102.3 FM in South Bend, Ind.; ESPN 950 AM in Indianapolis, Ind.; WLYV 1450 AM in Fort Wayne, Ind. and Northeast, Ind.;WLUV 96.7 AM in Rockford and DeKalb, Ill. and Beloit and Janesville, Wis.; WEFM 95.9 FM in Michigan City and Gary, Ind.; ESPN (WRSW) 1480 AM in Warsaw, Ind.; WAMW 107.9 FM and 1580 AM in Washington, Ind., Sirius Satellite Radio 159 and

Real-Time Stats: Live in-game statistics are available for all home games via the Notre Dame athletic website (

Notre Dame vs. Rider:
Notre Dame plays its first game since its 88-47 win over Army on Dec. 21 as the Irish entertain Rider. The contest will mark just the second meeting ever between the two schools. The matchup is the fifth of seven straight home games for the Irish. Notre Dame owns an 8-0 mark at the Joyce Center this season and has won 10 consecutive games at home dating back to last season. The Irish’s current nine-game win streak is the longest during the Mike Brey era and the longest since the 1986-87 campaign when that Irish squad won 11 straight. The Irish are ranked in the Associated Press Poll for the third straight week, up one spot, to 19th, and made its debut this week in the ESPN/USA Today rankings at 24th. Notre Dame is ranked for the first time in both polls since the first week of December in 2004. The squad’s 10-1 record marks the best start for an Irish team since the 2002-03 campaign. Notre Dame will close out the month of December with its final home on Dec. 30 against Stony Brook. The only setback for the Irish this season is a two-point decision to eventual NIT champion Butler (71-69) in the first round of the Midwest Region of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Irish are averaging 87.1 points per game (sixth in the nation) and have topped the 90-point mark six times and scored 80-plus points nine times. Tonight’s game for Irish head coach Mike Brey is his 200th on the Notre Dame sidelines.

Note The Change:
The Notre Dame-Louisville game on Wed., Jan. 3 has moved from a 7:30 p.m. start time to a 6:00 p.m. (EST) tip-off.

Quick Pace:
Notre Dame’s win against Army on Dec. 21 was Notre Dame’s 10th of the season and the earliest in terms of date that an Irish team has reached the 10-win plateau in the 102-year history of the program. The 2002-03 squad which began the campaign 12-1 and finished with a 24-10 record earned its 10th win of the season on Dec. 21, 2002.

Falls Returns:
After missing the Elon (Dec. 16) and Portland (Dec. 19) games with plantar faciitis, Colin Falls was back in the lineup against Army last Thursday night. Falls missed the two contests after undergoing shock wave therapy on Dec. 8. The procedure was done to treat the plantar faciitis in his left foot. Against the Black Knights he tallied a season-high 24 points in just 18 minutes of action. Falls was 9-11 from the field (after hitting his first seven shots) and was 6-8 from three-point range. Prior to the Elon game on Dec. 16, Falls had played in all 99 games of his career and made 60 consecutive starts.

Colin Falls’ return to the court last Thursday night marked the 100th career game he had played in an Irish uniform. It also was the 70 career start he has made and 61st straight that he has made when not sideline.

Out Of The Gate:
Notre Dame’s 10-1 start is the best for the Irish since the 2002-03 campaign when that Irish squad began the season 12-1 en route to a 24-10 campaign and NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance.

Points A Plenty:
After 11 contests, Notre Dame is averaging 87.1 points per game (good for sixth nationally in scoring offense). The Irish rank fifth in margin of victory at 23.5 points per game. During its recent nine-game win streak, Notre Dame’s average margin of victory is 24.1 points per game.

Back In The Polls
Notre Dame entered the polls for the first time this season at No. 21 in the Associated Press ranking on Dec. 11, marking the first time since the first week of December of 2004 that it had earned a top-25 ranking. The Irish were never ranked after that point in 2004-05 and were not ranked at all during the 2005-06 campaign. This year’s appearance in the polls marks the fifth time in seven seasons under head coach Mike Brey that his team has been ranked at some point during a season. This week the Irish made their 2006-07 debut in the ESPN/USA Today ranking at 24th.

Brey Receives Honorary Monogram:
Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey received an honorary monogram from the Notre Dame Monogram Club at the Athletic Department’s Christmas Party on Dec. 14. Honorary monograms are occasionally awarded to people who have provided exceptional service to the University, whereby extending invitations to them to be members of the Notre Dame Monogram Club. Recipients – whose identities are traditionally kept a secret until the actual ceremonies – are presented with a scroll and blue blazer adorned with the Monogram Club logo. The select group of honorary monogram winners includes such notables as the late Pope John Paul II and United States President Ronald Reagan; former University president Rev. Ted Hesburgh, C.S.C.; television personality Regis Philbin; and national-championship football coaches Ara Parseghian and Lou Holtz.

Irish Love The BB&T Classic:
With its win over Maryland (81-74) at the BB&T Classic on Dec. 3, Notre Dame improved to 3-0 overall in the event. The Irish won the title in December of 2002 by knocking off the defending national champion Maryland (ranked ninth and eighth in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls) 79-67 in the first round and then dispatching second-ranked Texas (who advanced to the Final Four that spring) 98-92 in the championship game.

Friendly Confines For Irish At Verizon Center:
Notre Dame’s win against Maryland at the Verizon Center on Dec. 3 pushed the Irish record to 8-2 all-time in games played at the Verizon Center (formerly the MCI Center). On Sunday, the Irish were making their first appearance at the Verizon Center since suffering a 55-54 setback to Georgetown on Jan. 23, 2005. Prior to the loss, Notre Dame had won six straight at the Verizon Center. During the 2002-03 campaign, the Irish were 3-0 in the MCI Center with victories over 2001 national champion Maryland (79-67) and Texas (98-92) to win the 2002 BB&T Classic in early December and then ended the regular season with an 86-80 win over Georgetown. Notre Dame’s first-ever appearance at the Verizon Center was on Feb. 7, 1998 and the Irish dropped a 76-56 decision to the Hoyas. It’s first win in the building was a 77-54 victory on March 4, 2000. Four of Notre Dame’s six wins in the Verizon Center have come against the Hoyas. As Notre Dame’s head coach, Mike Brey is 6-1 all-time in the MCI Center (3-1 versus the Hoyas). Certainly one of the most memorable was an epic four-overtime contest as the Irish prevailed 60 minutes later with a 116-111 victory. Former Irish standout Chris Thomas played the entire game in what ranks as the longest game in Notre Dame and BIG EAST Conference history. Notre Dame is scheduled to return to the Verizon Center on Sat., Jan. 6 against Georgetown in the second game of the BIG EAST regular season.

Winning Impressively:
Six of Notre Dame’s 10 victories have been by 24 or more points as the Irish are outscoring their opponents by a +23.5 margin (87.1 to 63.6). Coach Mike Brey’s squad has posted wins of 30-plus points in five games – IPFW (+43 points), Lafayette (+32 points), Winston-Salem (+45 points), Elon (+31 points) and Army (+41 points).

The 45-point win over Winston-Salem St. on Nov. 29 was the largest margin of victory since a 99-53 win (46 points) over New Hampshire on Nov. 16, 2001. The 99 points scored by Notre Dame in its victory over Alabama were the most by an Irish team over a top-10 opponent since Feb. 15, 1992 in a 101-98 victory at No. 10 Syracuse.

What’s Not To Like About These Numbers:
Here are some of the impressive numbers from Notre Dame’s season-opening win over IPFW…

  • Notre Dame shot 61.5 percent in the first half.
  • Notre Dame’s 55 first-half points were the second-most ever scored by the Irish in the first half under Mike Brey.
  • The +26 differential in rebounding (54-28) is the largest ever by an Irish team under Mike Brey in six-plus seasons and the third-most rebounds in a regulation game.
  • The 92 points were the most scored in season opener since the 2001-02 season (99-53 vs. New Hampshire on Nov. 16, 2001).
  • The 43-point margin of victory was the most since an 89-45 (44 points) win over IUPUI on Nov. 18, 2002.

The Captains:

Senior Colin Falls and junior Rob Kurz were selected captains by a vote of their teammates. Kurz’ selection marks the third time in four years that the Irish have had a junior serving as a team captain.

Early Start:
Notre Dame’s season opener against IPFW marked the earliest start date ever in the 102-year history of the program. The earliest start date prior to this had been in 1998 when that Irish squad opened up the 1998-99 campaign with a 76-65 loss to Miami of Ohio on Nov. 13.

Irish in Season Openers:
Notre Dame owns an all-time record of 84-18 (.824) in season openers and have won all seven of its openers under head coach Mike Brey. Since the opening of the Joyce Center in 1968-69, Irish teams are 33-6 (.846) in home openers. The last time Notre Dame lost a season opener at home was to Miami of Ohio on November 13, 1998.