Dec. 6, 2005
Notre Dame looks to end its two-game losing streak this evening when the Irish make a first-ever visit to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to play the Alabama Crimson Tide … This evening’s game will be the first true road test for the Irish and second contest away from the Joyce Center – on Nov. 26, Notre Dame faced North Carolina State in the John R. Wooden Tradition in Indianapolis, Ind. … The Irish and Crimson Tide will be facing each other on the hardwood for just the third time … The two previous meetings have both occurred in New Orleans, La. … Notre Dame won the first matchup 86-80 on Dec. 29, 1955 when the two schools faced off at Sugar Bowl Tournament … The two schools faced off at a similar event – the Nokia Sugar Bowl Basketball Classic – on Dec. 27, 2001 with the Crimson Tide earning a 79-76 decision … Chris Quinn and Torin Francis combined for 48 of Notre Dame’s 67 points in the contest and were the only two players in double figures … Junior Colin Falls was held scoreless in the game for just the eighth time in his career … The Irish shot 41.4 percent from the field in the game, but just 30.0 percent from three-point range … Notre Dame was 0-10 from beyond the arc in first half, but converted 6-10 in the final 20-minute stanza … The game was marked by 11 ties and eight lead changes … The Irish held a four-point lead (67-63) in the final 2:19 of the contest.
Looking To Avoid Four-Game Road Skid:
Dating back to the 2004-05 campaign, Notre Dame has now lost three consecutive road games … In its final regular-season road game, the Irish dropped a 88-74 decision to Connecticut (Feb. 21, 2005) and then suffered an 85-77 setback to Rutgers (March 9, 2005) in the first round of the BIG EAST Tournament at Madison Square Garden … The Irish lost 61-48 to North Carolina St. in the John R. Wooden Tradition on Nov. 26 … Notre Dame lost four straight road games last season – Georgetown (55-54 on Jan. 23), Villanova (65-60 on Jan. 26), Syracuse (60-57 on Feb. 5) and Pittsburgh (66-68 on Feb. 12) – for the first time ever under head coach Mike Brey.
Irish Roll Under Brey In November:
Under head coach Mike Brey, the Irish are 21-2 (.913) all-time in games played during the month of November … The lone November loss was to Creighton 80-75 in the championship game of the Guardians Classic on Nov. 26, 2002.
48 Points Lowest Point Total In Brey Era:
The 48 points scored by Notre Dame in the loss to North Carolina State were the fewest ever during Mike Brey’s five-plus seasons (spanning 161 games) … It marked the lowest point total since the Irish dropped a 72-48 decision at Marquette on Nov. 21, 1997 … In addition, only on one other occasion has a Notre Dame team under Brey scored 50 points or less – vs. Connecticut on Feb. 21, 2004 (61-50).
Notre Dame Set To Face First Ranked Opponent in 2005-06:
Tonight’s matchup with Alabama marks the first ranked opponent that the Irish will face this season … Notre Dame was 2-5 versus ranked foes a year ago … It’s last win over a ranked opponent was a 68-65 victory over then undefeated and fourth-ranked Boston College on Feb. 8, 2005 at the Joyce Center.
Series Record vs. Alabama:
Wednesday night’s contest between Notre Dame and Alabama will mark just the third meeting ever between the two schools with the series tied at one game each … Notre Dame was victorious in the first-ever matchup (86-80) that occurred on Dec. 29, 1955 in New Orleans, La. at the Sugar Bowl Tournament … The most recent matchup also took place in New Orleans at the Nokia Sugar Bowl Basketball Classic on Dec. 27, 2001 with the Tide earning a 79-76 victory.
Notre Dame vs. Southeastern Conference:
Notre Dame owns a 36-54 record all-time against teams that comprise the Southeastern Conference … Kentucky has appeared most often on the Irish schedule as the two schools have met on 58 occasions … Notre Dame’s last win over a Southeastern Conference foe was a 77-74 victory against Vanderbilt on Dec. 2, 2000 in Nashville, Tenn.
Chris Quinn and Torin Francis combined for 48 of Notre Dame’s 67 points (71.6 percent) against Michigan … Quinn scored a career-high 26 points and scored 20-plus points for the ninth time in his career, while Francis netted 22 points and went over the 20-point mark for 11th time in 87 career outings … Their performance on Saturday marked the first time that two Irish players scored 20-plus points in the same game since Chris Thomas scored 24 and Colin Falls added 20 in an 84-73 loss to DePaul on Dec. 11, 2004 at the Joyce Center.
Double The Pleasure:
Torin Francis’ 22 points and 13 rebounds against Michigan on Saturday marked his second straight double-double folloiwng a 13-point and 11-rebound effort against North Carolina State … It also marked the third time in four games that he grabbed 10-plus rebounds (he also has 14 in the season opener against Lafayette … Francis only recorded back-to-back double-doubles once last season – 16 pts./10 rebs. vs. Pittsburgh and 21 pts./13 rebs. vs. Rutgers … A double-double in tonight’s matchup against Alabama would mark the first time in his career that he has recorded a double-double in three consecutive outings … Francis has scored in double figures in 51 career games, netted 20-plus points in 11 contests and registered 25 career double-doubles.
The Irish All-Time:
The 2005-06 men’s basketball campaign marks the 101st season of basketball and 11th as a member of the BIG EAST Conference … In 100 seasons, Irish teams have posted a 1567-865 record for a .644 winning percentage … In BIG EAST play, Notre Dame owns an 84-84 record all-time in conference regular-season play.
Guard Chris Quinn and forward Torin Francis have been named captains for the 2005-06 season, marking the second straight year that the two have served as captains … The duo becomes the 11th and 12th players to serve as two-time captains.
Since 2000, Notre Dame has appeared in either the NCAA or NIT tournaments each of the last six years … The Irish played in the 2000 NIT and then earned three consecutive NCAA tournament berths – 2001, ’02 and ’03 – followed by NIT appearances in ’04 and ’05 … This is the longest stretch of postseason appearances for Irish teams since making eight consecutive postseason trips from 1983-90 – (NIT in 1983 and ’84 and NCAA from 1985-90).
Home Sweet Home:
Since the inaugural season in 1968-69 at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame owns a 446-136 record all-time for a .766 winning percentage … The Irish are 61-22 (.735) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s five seasons, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they own a 109-38 mark for a .741 winning percentage … Notre Dame’s 13-5 mark a year ago at home marked the seventh time in eights years that the Irish won 10 or more home games.
Welcome To The Club:
With his career-high 26-point performance against Michigan, Chris Quinn became the 44th player in Notre Dame basketball history to score 1,000 career points … In 98 career outings, Quinn has scored 1,009 points for a 10.3 career scoring average.
With Chris Quinn already a member of Notre Dame’s 1,000-point club, classmate Torin Francis is set to join that group and become the school’s 45th 1,000-point scorer … Francis enters tonight’s game against Alabama with 985 career points in 87 outings for an 11.3 scoring average … The last time two players from the same class scored 1,000 points was Notre Dame’s Class of 2002 – Troy Murphy and David Graves … Murphy had reached the 1,000-point mark in his sophomore season and finished his career with 2,011 points before leaving after his junior year for the NBA … In 94 career games, he averaged 21.4 points per game … Graves finished his career with 1,746 points and reached the 1,000-point mark in his junior year (2000-01), the same season that Murphy topped the 2,000-point mark.
Quinn and Francis In Elite Company:
Senior forward Torin Francis collected his 700th career rebound in the season opener verus Lafayette, and he currently stands 15 points shy of 1,000 in an Irish uniform … The Boston, Mass., native is looking to become just the 13th player in Notre Dame history to collect 1,000 career points and 700 career rebounds, joining this select company:
- Adrian Dantley (2,223 points, 843 rebounds)
- Pat Garrity (2,085 points, 776 rebounds)
- Troy Murphy (2,011 points, 924 rebounds)
- Tom Hawkins (1,820 points, 1,318 rebounds)
- Bob Arnzen (1,665 points, 944 rebounds)
- Bob Whitmore (1,580 points, 1,043 rebounds)
- LaPhonso Ellis (1,505 points, 1,075 rebounds)
- Collis Jones (1,367 points, 884 rebounds)
- Ron Reed (1,153 points, 872 rebounds)
- Gary Novak (1,103 points, 736 rebounds)
- Walt Sahm (1,077 points, 1,146 rebounds)
- Keith Robinson (1,073 points, 713 rebounds)
Francis’ classmate Chris Quinn also hit a milestone in the season-opening win over Lafayette, dishing out his 250th career assist … With 1,009 career points to his credit, the Dublin, Ohio, native is poised to become just the ninth player in Notre Dame history to score 1,000 points and hand out 250 assists, entering into this select company:
- Chris Thomas (2,195 points, 833 assists)
- David Rivers (2,058 points, 586 assists)
- Matt Carroll (1,850 points, 314 assists)
- David Graves (1,746 points, 340 assists)
- Elmer Bennett (1,488 points, 516 assists)
- John Paxson (1,366 points, 411 assists)
- Ryan Hoover (1,269 points, 264 assists)
- Rich Branning (1,232 points, 466 assists)
Falls Looks To End Shooting Slump:
Junior sharpshooter Colin Falls, who led the Irish with 93 three-point field goals in 2004-05, is in the midst of a shooting slump and is just 1-12 (.083) from the field and 1-11 (.090) from three-point range. (.090) … He was held scoreless in the loss to Michigan marking the eighth time in 68 career outings that he did not score a point … With just three points in the previous outing against North Carolina State, it marks his lowest two-game point total since being held scoreless in back-to-back games against Providence and UCLA during his freshman season.
Two New Faces In Irish Starting Lineup:
When the starting five took the court for Notre Dame’s season-opening game against Lafayette, two of the Irish players were relatively new additions to the starting lineup … Junior guard Russell Carter made just his second career start, while sophomore Rob Kurz was in the starting lineup for the first time in his collegiate career … In contrast, the other three Irish starters – senior guard Chris Quinn, senior forward Torin Francis and junior guard Colin Falls – carried 166 combined starts into the 2005-06 opener … Irish head coach Mike Brey has started the same starting lineup in each of the first four games.
For The Defense:
Notre Dame’s defense has yielded just 248 points in its first four games for an average of 62.0 points per game … Last season, the Irish held opponents to just 64.1 points per contest, the fewest in head coach Mike Brey’s five seasons.
Notre Dame’s 2005-06 schedule features five teams – Connecticut, Louisville, Alabama, West Virginia and Syracuse – that began the season ranked in the top 25 … In addition, Notre Dame will take on eight teams that played in the 2005 NCAA Tournament – North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Louisville and Connecticut.
Junior guard Russell Carter has now been in the starting lineup in five straight games for the Irish dating back to last season … He has beeen in the starting lineup for each of Notre Dame’s four games and earned his first career start in the first round NIT matchup against Holy Cross in what ended being the final game of the season … Carter has responded to his new role and is averaging 7.8 points and 3.8 rebounds.
Freshman Luke Zeller has performed well for the Irish in his first four collegiate games and is averaging 4.3 points and 5.5 rebounds … He keyed Notre Dame’s victory over Hofstra when he scored six points and grabbed nine rebounds (eight in the second half) and was instrumental in the Irish second-half comeback against Michigan with two three-pointers as he finished with eight points and grabbed six rebounds in 23 minutes of action.
Irish Set For Three Repeat Games In BIG EAST Play:
Notre Dame will play DePaul, Marquette and Providence twice (both home and away) as part of its BIG EAST Conference regular-season 16-game slate during the 2005-06 campaign … Playing under a straight divisional format with 16 teams this year, Notre Dame will play 10 opponents once, but will not face either Cincinnati or St. John’s during the regular season.
In Mike Brey’s five seasons, his Irish teams have compiled a road record of 43-35 (.551) … That includes a 28-24 mark (.538) in true road games and a 15-11 (.577) record in neutral site contests.
BIG EAST Road Warriors:
Over the past five seasons, four teams have compiled winning road records in BIG EAST league games … Pittsburgh is the leader with a 24-16 mark, Connecticut and Syracuse at 22-18, while Notre Dame is 21-19.
“B” Is For BIG And BIG EAST:
With its membership of 16 teams, The BIG EAST Conference is the largest Division I conference in the nation … The new additions are Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette and South Florida. BIG EAST Distinction:
Notre Dame and Syracuse are the only two schools to post winning conference records in BIG EAST play each of the last five seasons … Notre Dame has gone 11-5 (2000-01), 10-6 (2001-02), 10-6 (2002-03), 9-7 (2003-04) and 9-7 (2004-05), while Syracuse has posted marks of 10-6 (2001-01), 9-7 (2001-02), 13-3 (2002-03), 11-5 (2003-04) and 11-5 (2004-05).
BIG EAST Formula For Success Under Brey:
Since his arrival at Notre Dame, Brey has led Notre Dame to a 49-31 (.605) record in BIG EAST regular-season games and a 2-5 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 51-36 (.586) against league foes … In Brey’s first season, the Irish posted their first-ever winning record in BIG EAST play and won the BIG EAST West Division title with an 11-5 mark … Prior to Brey’s arrival at Notre Dame, Irish teams have a 35-53 (.398) regular-season record since joining the league in 1995-96.
Down To The Wire:
Five of Notre Dame’s 29 games in 2004-05 were decided by a single point … The Irish were 3-2 in those contests … Notre Dame teams are 9-4 overall during Mike Brey’s tenure in one-point games … 13 of Notre Dame’s 17 BIG EAST contests last season were decided by less than 10 points.
Not So Lucky:
Notre Dame is the only team from one of the six major conferences to have a winning record in league play each of the past two seasons yet fail to make the NCAA Tournament … 20 teams from the Big Six (ACC, BIG EAST, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC) had a winning record in both 2003-04 and ’04-05, while 19 other schools made the tournament both seasons.
Keeping It Close:
In the 58 losses suffered by Irish teams in Mike Brey’s four seasons, only 16 have been by 10 or more points and have been by a combined 415 points for an average of 7.2 points … Notre Dame’s biggest losses have been on the road at Pittsburgh (72-55 on January 6, 2003) and against Arizona (88-71 on March 27, 2003) in the West Regional semifinal in Anaheim, Calif…. Prior to those setbacks, the worst defeat was a 16-point decision at Connecticut during Brey’s first season … Notre Dame’s 11 losses during the 2001-02 season were by a combined 49 points for an average margin of defeat of 4.5 points … Only one loss that season (versus Georgetown at the Joyce Center) was by double figures, while eight of those setbacks were by five or less points.
Key Runs Help Irish In First Two Wins:
In each of Notre Dame’s first two games, it was key runs in either the first or second halves that have ignited the Irish ….
vs. Lafayette: The Leopards led 23-22 with 8:11 in the first half, but Notre Dame closes out the first half with a 17-3 run for a 39-26 halftime advantage.
vs. Hofstra: After trailing 33-29 at the break, Notre Dame has a 49-43 advantage with 11:35 remaining in the game … The Irish then use a 17-5 run to open up a 66-48 lead with 4:21 remaining … Notre Dame holds the Pride scoreless in the final 3:21 of the contest.
212 And Counting:
Heading into the tonight’s game against Alabama, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 212 straight games, a mark that dates back to the 1998-99 campaign … The last time an Irish team failed to hit a three-pointer was a 101-70 loss to Connecticut at the Hartford Civic Center on January 12, 1999 as Notre Dame finished 0-7 from beyond the arc in the game.
Irish Among Best In Wins Average:
Over the last six years, Notre Dame is one of 25 teams nationally that has averaged better than 20 wins per season … The Irish have compiled a 123-71 record for a .634 winning percentage after finishing 22-15 (1999-2000), 20-10 (2000-01), 21-11 (2001-02), 24-10 (2002-03), 19-13 (2003-04) and 17-12 (2004-05).
Over The Century Mark:
Notre Dame has scored 100-plus points five times during the Mike Brey era … The last 100-point effort by an Irish team was in a 101-96 overtime decision at Boston College on Jan. 25, 2003.
Threes Fall For Falls:
In 65 career outings, 141 of Colin Falls’ 159 field goals have come from three-point range … That translates into a 88.7 percent … All 11 of his field goals this season have come from three-point range … Overall during his career, he has connected on 141 of 352 three-point attempts for a 40.1 accuracy from the field.
Another Way To Get His Threes:
While Colin Falls is considered Notre Dame’s three-point threat and leads the team in three-point field goals, the junior sharpshooter has also found another way to get his three points … In 2004-05, Falls was fouled a total of 16 times while shooting from beyond the arc and converted on 43-48 (.896) of his free-throw attempts … This season, he was fouled twice in the Hofstra game and made 4-6 from the charity stripe.
Kurz Earns BIG EAST Honor Roll Honors:
Rob Kurz was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for the week of Nov. 21 after finishing with career bests of 18 points and eight rebounds in Notre Dame’s 84-66 win over Lafayette … Kurz played a career-high 25 minutes in the game and shot 8-10 from the field..
Notre Dame’s 2005-06 team features two McDonald’s High School All-Americans – Torin Francis and Luke Zeller … A total of 15 players who have donned an Irish uniform have been McDonald’s All-Americans … Zeller, a freshman from Washington, Ind., is the most recent McDonald’s All-American, following Francis who earned McDonald’s accolades in 2002 … Francis also was named the recipient of the Morgan Wootten Award as the McDonald’s National Boys Player of the Year … Zeller played his McDonald’s All-American game at the Joyce Center on March 30, 2005 … Former Irish players who were also McDonald’s All-Americans include: Tim Andre (1979-83), Ken Barlow (1982-86), LaPhonso Ellis (1988-92), Ryan Humphrey (2000-02), Tracy Jackson (1973-77), Tim Kempton (1982-86), Dan Miller (2001-03), John Paxson (1979-83), David Rivers (1984-88), Keith Robinson (1986-90), Tom Sluby (1980-84), Barry Spencer (1980-84), Chris Thomas (2001-05), Torin Francis (2002-present) and Luke Zeller (2005-present).
When former standout Chris Thomas (2001-05) entered Notre Dame in the fall of 2001, he became the first Mr. Indiana Basketball to play for the Irish. Thomas, who graduated in May of 2005 and finished as the school’s career leader in nine categories, earned the honor in 2001, History repeated itself four years later when current freshman Luke Zeller copped the state’s top honor in 2005.
Irish Sign Two In Early Signing Period:
Irish head coach Mike Brey signed two players during the early signing period on Wed., Nov. 9 – Luke Harangody (Schererville, Ind.) and Tory Jackson (Saginaw, Mich.), Harangody, a 6-8, 250-pound forward attends Andrean High School in Merriville, Ind. As a junior, he led his team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 23.2 points and 12.3 rebounds. He ranked 11th and third, respectively, in scoring and rebounding among all Indiana players in his junior season. Named the 2005 Post Tribune Northwest and The Times Northwest Player of the Year, led Andrean to a 21-3 record and to the Gary (Ind.) Class 3A sectional championship. Jackson, a 5-10, 175-pound guard, was named the ’05 Michigan Class C Player of the Year and was a unanimous all-state selection. He paced his Buena Vista High School team to a 17-6 record in ’04-’05 while averaging 30.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 3.0 steals. This past summer, he played for the Blue Team which garnered the silver medal at the ’05 Youth Development Festival as his squad finished with a 3-1 mark.
All In The Families:
Sophomore Rob Kurz’ sister Laura is a sophomore on the Duke women’s basketball team … Freshman Ryan Ayers’ father Randy is currently an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic … He formerly was the head coach at Ohio State and with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Omari Isreal Leaves Program:
Junior forward Omari Isreal left the Irish basketball program on November 11 and will transfer to another school … As a sophomore last season, he averaged 1.4 points and 1.8 rebounds … He missed the 2003-04 campaign, his freshman season, while recovering from knee surgery for an ACL injury suffered in the final season of his prep career.
Kevin White Radio Show:
Look for the Kevin White Radio Show on ESPN 1000 AM radio in Chicago … The hour-long show, which debuted on Sept. 4, is in its sixth season and will run for 30 weeks throughout the year.
Guests regularly will include familiar names from all facets of college athletics … The show features White, Notre Dame’s director of athletics, and ESPN 1000’s Dave Juday … It can be heard regularly at 11:00 p.m. Central time on Sunday evenings … ESPN 1000 in Chicago can be heard in more than 30 states around the country.
Sponsors of the show include Gatorade, Xerox, adidas, Comcast, McDonald’s, Chase, Coca-Cola, Sirius Satellite Radio, Jordan Industries and Sayers Computer Source.
Notre Dame Basketball Radio Show:
Logan’s Roadhouse Restaurant in Mishawaka will once again be the site of the Notre Dame Basketball Radio Show during the 2005-06 season featuring Irish coach Mike Brey and a player each week … The 30-minute radio show will be broadcast live on Monday nights on WZOW 97.7 FM and 103.3 FM and will run 10 times during the year beginning at 7:00 p.m. … The remaining dates of the show are Dec. 12, Dec. 19, Jan. 9, Jan. 16. Jan. 23, Jan. 30, Feb. 6, Feb. 13 and Feb. 27 … Jack Nolan once again will serve as the show’s host.
Inside Irish Basketball With Mike Brey:
The University of Notre Dame and Notre Dame Sports Properties once again will combine to create “Inside Irish Basketball with Mike Brey.” … The show will be available to network and cable affiliates across the country in 2005-06 … It will air throughout the season and will be produced and distributed by Notre Dame Sports Properties … Jack Nolan of WNDU will once again serve as the host … Nolan and Irish head coach Mike Brey will recap games from the previous week, in addition to previewing upcoming opponents on the schedule … The scheduled airing dates for the show are: Dec. 6, Dec. 13, Dec. 20, Jan. 10, Jan. 17, Jan. 24, Jan. 31, Feb. 7, Feb. 14, Feb. 21, Feb. 28, Mar. 7 and Mar. 14.