Dec. 12, 2003
NOTRE DAME Fighting Irish (2-3)
at DEPAUL Blue Demons (5-1)
Date: Sunday, December 14, 2003
Place: Allstate Arena (17,500)
Time: 2:00 p.m. (CST)
Television: WGN (Chicago) and WNDU-TV 16 (South Bend and Michiana) – Dan Roan (play-by-play analyst) and Dave Kaplan (color analyst)
Radio: Notre Dame Sports Properties (Jack Lorri, Jack Nolan) originates the Notre Dame Radio Network (includes WNDV 92.9 FM and 1490 AM in South Bend, Ind./Michiana Region, Elkhart, Michigan City, Gary and Hammond), ESPN 1000 AM) in Chicagoland Area), ESPN 950 AM (Indianapolis), WGL 1250 in Fort Wayne), WEFM 95.9 in Michigan City and Gary and WLUV AM 1520 (Rockford, DeKalb, Beloit, Janesville). All radio broadcasts can also be heard through the World Wide Web at www.und.com.
Real-Time Stats: Live in-game statistics are available for all home games, via the Notre Dame athletic website (www.und.com).
- The 2003-04 campaign marks the 99th season of basketball at Notre Dame.
- The Irish will be looking to snap its three-game losing streak in today’s matchup against DePaul after suffering consecutive losses to Marquette, Central Michigan and Indiana
- This is the first time Notre Dame has been under the .500 mark during head coach Mike Brey’s three-plus seasons. It also marks the first time an Irish team has had a losing record since the 1999-00 campaign when that Irish squad was 4-5 after nine games, but finished the season with a 22-15 mark after advancing to the championship game of the NIT.
- After being ranked in 19 consecutive polls dating back to last season, Notre Dame dropped out of the top-25 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today rankings this week.
- Mike Brey coached in his 100th game on December 1 in Notre Dame’s loss at Marquette. He owns a 68-34 (.667) overall record as the Irish head coach. Brey coached in his 250th career game in eight-plus seasons against Mount St. Mary’s on November 29.
- DePaul is the second Conference USA team on the Irish schedule this season. Notre Dame played Marquette in the third game of the season. Last year, the Irish played both Marquette and DePaul at the Joyce Center and were victorious in both contests.
- Notre Dame owns a 9-7 record when playing games on December 14. Ironically, last year’s Irish-Blue Demons matchup was played on this same date with the Irish earning a 102-71 victory.
- Under head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame is 16-1 all-time during the month of November and owns a 15-7 mark in the month of December. The Irish finished with a perfect 6-0 mark in December during the 2002-03 season.
- Notre Dame has not dropped four straight since the 1999-00 season when it dropped consecutive outings to Arizona, Maryland, Indiana and Vanderbilt. The Wildcats, Terrapins and Hoosiers were all ranked at the time of the contest.
- Notre Dame is 18-4 in its last 22 games at the Joyce Center. Before losses to Connecticut and Syracuse in the final two contests of the 2002-03 season, the Irish owned a 16-game homecourt win streak. Since that time, the Irish are 2-4 in their last six home games.
- The Irish and Blue Demons will be doing battle at the Allstate Arena in the 91st meeting between the two teams. This is the fourth longest rivalry in Notre Dame’s 99-year history. Only three other opponents – Marquette, Butler and Michigan State have appeared on the Irish schedule more often.
- Notre Dame heads into the season looking to end a three-game slide that have been by a total of 18 points. The Irish have not been victorious in more than two weeks with their last victory coming at home against Mount St. Mary’s 78-64 on November 30.
- DePaul enters the game with a 5-1 record with their only loss coming at Michigan State (89-81). The Blue Demons began the season with victories over Loyola-Chicago (73-61), Northwestern (65-53) and Indiana State (78-66) before the loss to the Spartans. Since the setback at MSU, they have earned wins over Bradley (77-74) at home and Ohio (63-60) on the road.
- Notre Dame has struggled finding its shot as the Irish have converted just 38.7 percent of its field goal attempts, while their opponents have made good on 41.1 percent of ther attempts. In addition, Notre Dame has allowed its opponents to shoot 39.2 percent from three-point range.
- The Irish also have three more turnovers (69) than they do assists (66). After turning the ball over just eight times against Northern Illinois, Notre Dame has had more turnovers than assists in each of the last four games and have averaged 15.3 turnovers per game.
- The Irish have faced injury woes this season. Seniors Torrian Jones and Tom Timmermans both did not dress for the Central Michigan game. Jones was bothered by a hip flexor and Timmermans has seen limited action (and missed three games – Mount St. Mary’s, Central Michigan and Indiana) because of a back injury. Jordan Cornette’s play has been somewhat restricted due to a sore knee.
- Notre Dame has three players who are averaging double figures. Chris Thomas leads the team in scoring with an 19.6 scoring average, while Torin Francis is averaging a double double with 16.6 points and 12.0 rebounds. Chris Quinn has scored in double figures in three of the five games and is netting 11.0 points per game.
- Torrian Jones is the fourth Irish player averaging double figures with an 8.5 scoring average.
- For the second straight game, Chris Thomas led all scorers in Wednesday night’s loss at Indiana as he netted 24 points against the Hoosiers in 37 minutes. That performance came after his 24-point outing against Central Michigan in the previous outing. Thomas has scored in double figures in 25 straight games (dating back to last season) and has netted 20-plus points on 28 occasions.
- Torin Francis registered his second straight double double and third of the season against Indiana as he finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Against Central Michigan, he finished the game with 10 points and 12 boards. Francis has 13 career double doubles and also leads the team with 16 blocked shots. In the season opener against Northern Illinois, he finished the contest with 24 points and 19 rebounds.
- Colin Falls was 2-4 from three-point range against Indiana as he finished with eight points.
- Notre Dame has 10 more turnovers (69-59) than their opponents.
- Free throw shooting continues to be a strength with 27.6 percent of the Irish’s points coming from the charity stripe. Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 94-50 from the line and attempted 50 (119-69) more free throws.
- Four Notre Dame players are averaging better than 32 minutes per game – Chris Thomas (36.6), Torin Francis (36.6), Chris Quinn (36.2). Jordan Cornette is averaging 29.6 minutes per game, while freshman Colin Falls is at 20.6 minutes per game.
- Following this afternoon’s contest, Notre Dame will be off for seven days for final exams and will be in action next against American on Sunday, December 21 at the Joyce Center.
Irish Player Tidbits:
- Chris Thomas leads the team in scoring with a 19.6 scoring average. He has scored 24 points in Notre Dame’s last two outings. He heads into the DePaul having scored in double figures in 25 consecutive contests dating back to last season. Thomas has scored in double figures in 60 of 72 career contests. The last time Thomas failed to score in double figures was against Pittsburgh on the road (January 6, 2003) when he netted just five points . He dished off seven assists against Northern Illinois which marked the 39th time in his career that he has dished out seven or more assists in a game. Thomas is one of just five players in Notre Dame history who has dished off 500-plus assists. He owns a career assist total of 512.
- Chris Quinn has started all five games for the Irish and is averaging 36.2 minutes per gme. In just his fourth collegiate start, he played all 40 minutes eight days ago in Notre Dame’s loss to Central Michigan. He is averaging 11.0 points, 3.2 assists and 32.6 minutes per game. Quinn responded to his first career start in the season opener against Northern Illinois with career bests of 18 points and six steals. He has scored in double figures in five career games.
- Torin Francis is coming off his second consecutive double double following Wednesday night’s 13-point, 12-rebound outing against Indiana. It marked his third double double of the season and 13th of his career. He is Notre Dame’s second-leading scorer (16.6) and top rebounder (12.0). In addition, he leads the team with 3.2 blocks per game. He has scored 20-plus points in two contests, netting 24 in the season opener against Northern Illinois and 23 in the December 1 loss at Marquette. In the season opener versus Northern Illinois, he scored 24 points and grabbed 19 rebounds. Dating back to last season, he has had five doubles doubles in the last 10 games. Francis also has scored 20-plus points on six occasions in 38 career outings (all of them starts) and has registered 10 or more rebounds 15 times. He has scored in double figures 24 times.
- Torrian Jones came back from his hip flexor injury against Central Michigan (he did not dress for the game) and started against Indiana. He played 32 minutes and spent most of the evening guarding IU’s leading scorer, Bracey Wright. Jones held right to 17 points and 41.2 percent shooting from the field. He has started all four games he has played and is averaging 8.5 points and 4.0 rebounds. Jones has scored in double figures in two of the five games he played – 14 points versus Marquette and 12 against Mount St. Mary’s – and seven times during his career. His double-digit scoring efforts in both of those game marked the first time in his career that he has scored in double figures in consecutive outings. In addition to his 12 points against the Mountaineers, he had seven rebounds and career-high six assists.
- Jordan Cornette has been in the starting lineup for each of Notre Dame’s first five games and has made 32 starts during his career. He has 103 career blocks in an Irish uniform. His season-high 10 rebounds against Marquette marked the fifth time in his career with 10 or more rebounds. Cornette scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds against Indiana.
- Tom Timmermans has seen limited playing time this season with a sore back. He missed the Mount St. Mary’s game after playing 12 minutes in the season opener against Northern Illinois. He played just three minutes against Marquette and did not dress for both the Central Michigan and Indiana contests.
- Rick Cornett has averaged 2.6 points and 3.0 rebounds in the first five games in 8.2 minutes per game. He played a career-high 15 minutes against Mount St. Mary’s.
- Colin Falls is averaging 20.6 minutes per game while netting 4.8 points and grabbing 2.2 rebounds. He earned his first career start against Central Michigan and played 33 minutes. He connected on three three-pointers in the contest and finished with 11 points. Falls has averaged 9.5 points in Notre Dame’s last two outings after scoring eight points in 20 minutes of action against Indiana.
- Russell Carter saw action for the first time in his career coming off the bench against Mount St. Mary’s and recorded the first collegiate points of his career when he hit a three-pointer at the buzzer right before the end of the first half. He also played in the Marquette and Central Michigan contests.
Series Record Vs. DePaul:
Today’s contest will mark the second third straight year the Irish and Blue Demons will square off for the third straight year. Notre Dame has won each of the last two meetings between. The December 1, 2001 matchup, won by the Irish 82-55, at the United Center came in the Dell Classic 4Kids. It was the first contests played between the two schools in seven years. Last year, Notre Dame defeated the Blue Demons 102-71 at the Joyce Center. The 102 marked the second-most scored by any in the series. Notre Dame is playing at Allstate Arena (formerly Rosemont Horizon) for the first time since it dropped a 70-62 decision on February 21, 1993.
Notre Dame Vs. Conference USA:
Notre Dame owns an all-time record of 155-103 (.601) against teams from Conference USA. This is second matchup this season for the Irish against a team from Conference USA – the first was its December 1 contest at Marquette. Notre Dame played both DePaul and Marquette at the Joyce Center last year. Irish teams are 3-1 against teams from Conference USA the last four times it has played a team from that league. In addition to last year’s two wins over the Blue Demons and Golden Eagles, Notre Dame earned a 69-51 victory over Cincinnati in the Wooden Classic in Indianapolis, Ind., at Conseco Fieldhouse on November 25, 2000.
For the first time in the 99-year history of the Notre Dame men’s basketball program, four players will be serving as team captains. Seniors Torrian Jones and Tom Timmermans and juniors Jordan Cornette and Chris Thomas will serve as the Irish captains for the upcoming 2003-04 campaign.
Notre Dame played host to 10 sellouts at the Joyce Center during the 2002-03 season – the most since the 1985-86 campaign when 14 of the team’s 17 games drew a record capacity crowd. Three games last season – Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and Syracuse – produced the largest crowds to ever witness a Notre Dame basketball game – 11,480. Already this season, seven games are already sold out – Indiana, Kentucky, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Seton Hall and Georgetown. Student tickets (2,800 to students, 400 to band and Notre Dame student-athletes) were sold out in 5-1/2 hours. Last season, student ticket packages were sold out in 36 hours.
Irish In November Under Brey:
Notre Dame played just two games in the month of November. Each of the past two campaigns, the Irish have played six games during the first month of the season. Notre Dame owns a 16-1 record during the month of November under head coach Mike Brey. In 2001-02, the Irish completed November with a perfect 6-0 slate. It marked the most wins ever by a Notre Dame team in the month of November. The only loss suffered by the Irish during the month of November under Brey was an 80-75 setback in the championship game of the Guardians Classic in Kansas City, Mo., last season.
Home Sweet Home:
Since the inaugural season (1968-69) at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame owns a 422-126 record all-time for a .770 winning percentage. The Irish are 37-12 (.755) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s three seasons, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they own an 87-31 mark for a .737 winning percentage. Notre Dame was 14-2 at home in 2002-03, winning 10-plus games for the sixth time in seven years. The Irish have won 18 of their last 22 games at home, but have dropped four of the last six on their homecourt dating back to last season.
The Irish All-Time:
The 2003-04 campaign marks the 99th season of men’s basketball at Notre Dame. Irish teams have posted a 1531-841 record for a .645 winning percentage.
Notre Dame begins the 2003-04 campaign by playing eight of its first 10 games at home. That’s an advantage the Irish did not enjoy two years ago (2001-02) when they were on the road for eight of their first 11 contests.
Over the course of the last three-plus seasons, Notre Dame teams have played well in its non-conference tuneups before the start of the BIG EAST regular season during the months of November and December. Irish teams own an impressive 31-8 (.795) combined record. Six of the 38 games have been against ranked opponents and have included wins against Cincinnati (2000), Marquette (2002), Maryland (2002) and Texas (2002).
New BIG EAST Look:
The BIG EAST Conference will play under a new league format in which every team will play each other at least once and three other schools twice during the regular season. Notre Dame is slated to play Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Syracuse twice as part of its 16-game conference slate.
The past three seasons have seen the 14-team league play under a two seven-team divisional format. Under the former system, the teams were broken down into the East and West divisions. Each school played 12 divisional contests on a home-and-home basis and crossover opponents against teams from the other divsion (two at home and two on the road), but did not face three schools from the opposite division.
In addition to its home-and-home series with the Huskies, Panthers and Orangemen, Notre Dame’s conference home slate this season also includes matchups against Georgetown, Miami, Providence, Seton Hall and West Virginia. The Irish are scheduled for road games at Boston College, Rutgers, St. John’s, Villanova and Virginia Tech.
Twelve teams will once again advance to the ’04 BIG EAST Championship at Madison Square Garden, March 10-13, with the top four finishers during the regular season receiving a first-round bye.
Francis, Thomas On Wooden Watch List; Thomas Listed Among Naismith Candidates:
Chris Thomas and Torin Francis are one of 50 candidates named to the 2003-04 John R. Wooden Award Preseason All-America Team. The 50 candidates were announced in early August and selected by the Wooden Award Preseason All-America Committee.
The Irish tandem is among 11 BIG EAST players named to the team, the most of any conference. Only three other teams – Connecticut (Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor) and Syracuse (Gerry McNamara and Hakim Warrick) -also placed two players on the list.
Thomas, an honorable mention Associated Press All-America selection, and second-team all-BIG EAST honoree as a sophomore, was among the top-30 candidates last year for the Wooden Award and also was a finalist for the Naismith and USBWA/Oscar Robertson player-of-the-year awards. Francis was a member of the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.
The other BIG EAST players selected as candidates were: Andre Barrett (Seton Hall), Ryan Gomes (Providence), Julius Page (Pittsburgh), Darius Rice (Miami) and Craig Smith (Boston College).
The 10-player Wooden Award All-America Team will be announced on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 and one member from that squad will be awarded the Wooden Award Trophy, symbolic of the nation’s “Most Outstanding Collegiate Basketball Player of Year.” That announcement will be made on Saturday, April 10 and CBS Sports will televise the event live from The Los Angeles Athletic Club.
Thomas also is listed among the top 30 candidates for the Naismith Player of the Year honor.
Looking To Make It Four-In-A-Row:
The Irish will be bidding for their fourth straight NCAA tournament bid in 2004. That would be a first since Notre Dame made six consecutive appearances from 1985-90. The most consecutive NCAA tournament appearances made by Notre Dame teams was eight – from 1975-81.
The 20-Win Mark:
Notre Dame’s 24 wins a year ago marked the 30th time in the program’s 98-year history that an Irish team reached the 20-win mark. It marked the fourth consecutive 20-win campaign and first time since 1985-89 that Irish teams posted four consecutive seasons with 20 or more wins.
Notre Dame All-Time In The BIG EAST:
In eight seasons as a member of the BIG EAST Conference, Notre Dame owns a 66-70 record all-time in conference regular-season play for a .485 winning percentage. In their first five years, Irish teams were 35-53 (.398), but since Mike Brey took over the program, Notre Dame has compiled a 31-17 (.646) mark in regular-season play.
BIG EAST 10:
Notre Dame is the only BIG EAST team to win 10-plus conference games during each of the last three regular-season campaigns. The Irish finished 11-5 in 2000-01 and produced 10-6 marks in both 2001-02 and 2002-03. Notre Dame is the only BIG EAST team to make the NCAA Tournament each of the last three seasons.
Brey Has The Formula For BIG EAST Success At Notre Dame:
Since his arrival at Notre Dame, Mike Brey has led Notre Dame to a 31-17 record in BIG EAST regular-season games for a 64.6 winning percentage and 1-3 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 32-20 (.615) against league foes. The Irish won the BIG EAST West Division title by fashioning an 11-5 record (the most conference wins in its six previous seasons in the league). Under Brey, Notre Dame is the only BIG EAST school to win 10-plus league games each of the last three seasons. Prior to Brey’s arrival at Notre Dame, Irish teams had a 35-53 (39.8 percent) regular-season record in its conference games since 1995-96.
Brey Versus Ranked Opponents:
As a head coach at both Notre Dame and Delaware, Mike Brey has coached in 34 games against ranked opponents and owns a 12-22 record in those matchups. In three-plus seasons at Notre Dame, he has faced ranked opponents on 28 occasions and his teams are 12-16 in those contests. Last season, his team was 5-6 versus ranked teams. The Irish were 3-6 and 4-3 during the 2001-02 and 2000-01 campaigns, respectively.
Brey And The Irish In Overtime Games:
Notre Dame is 3-0 in overtime games (two on the road and one at home) under head coach Mike Brey. The Irish did not play an overtime game in Brey’s first season. The first overtime game played by Notre Dame under Brey (during the 2001-02 campaign) was the epic four-overtime classic in 2002 against Georgetown at the MCI Center in which the Irish defeated the Hoyas 116-111. The Irish played two overtime contests in ’02-’03 – at Boston College (101-96) and at home against Georgetown (93-92 in double overtime).
Over The Century Mark:
Notre Dame has scored 100-plus points five times during the Mike Brey era. The Irish went over the century mark twice last season – a 102-71 victory over DePaul (December 14, 2002) and 101-96 overtime decision against Boston College (January 25, 2003).
Notre Dame is one of just nine schools – Arizona, Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland Misouri and Stanford – that has advanced past the first round each of the NCAA Tournament each of the last three years.
Home Stripe Advantage:
Notre Dame was particularly successful from the free-throw line in home games last season as the Irish were 286-373 (.767) compared to 177-257 (.689) for their opponents. In the last 11 home games of ’02-’03, Notre Dame finished 224-279 (.803) from the line as the Irish made an average of 20.4 free throws on 25.4 attempts and averaged just 5.0 misses per game. Notre Dame shot a season-best 95.7 percent from the line against Rutgers (Jan. 14, 2003) as the Irish converted 22 of their 23 attempts. This season overall, Notre Dame has outscored their opponents 94-50 from the line and attempted 50 more free throws. As a team, the Irish have converted on 79.0 percent of their attempts. Notre Dame was 19-20 from the line against Mount St. Mary’s and 24-31 versus Central Michigan. In home games this season, the Irish have converted on 79-99 (.797), while opponents are 37-49 (.755).
Where Charity Begins:
The Irish used free throw shooting as a weapon last season averaging nearly 17 free throws made per game. Notre Dame outscored their opponents 575-389 and attempted 190 more free throws (756-566). The Irish converted 76.1 percent of those attempts, while their opponents hit on 68.7 percent. Notre Dame is averaging 18.8 made free throws per game this season and have attempted an average of 23.8 per game. Irish opponents are averaging just 10.0 made three throws per game and 13.8 attempted.
Thomas Reaches Assist Milestone:
Chris Thomas surpassed 500 career assists on December 1 against Marquette. In 72 career contests, he has 512 for a 7.1 career average. He is one of only five Irish players who have reached that mark and is one of just three players who has scored more than 1,000 points and dished off more than 500 assists in their career. Thomas has 1,251 career points. The other two players who have scored 1,000 career points and dished off 500 assists are David Rivers (1984-88 – 2,058 points and 586 assists) and Elmer Bennett (1988-92 – 1,488 points, 516 assists). Thomas stands fifth all-time in career assists and needs just 75 to break Rivers’ career assist mark.
Notre Dame’s 189 blocked shots in 2002-03 set a new single-season team record with a per game average of 5.59. The former mark of 178 was set during the 2000-01 season in which Notre Dame averaged 5.93 blocks. The Irish finished the 2001-02 campaign with 163 blocks for an average of 4.94 per game. Notre Dame’s block totals each of the last three seasons rank as the top three all-time. Notre Dame already has 34 blocks in 2003-04 for an average of 6.8 per game.
The “Quinn”-Essential Player:
Sophomore guard Chris Quinn has made the most of his opportunity as a starter in the Irish lineup. He is averaging 11.0 points and is shooting 37.0 percent from the field (17-46) . Quinn is averaging 36.2 minutes per game. In his first career start in the season opener against Northern Illinois, he scored a career-high 18 points and had a personal best six steals. Quinn, who averaged 15.3 minutes off the bench as a rookie last season, hit 7-10 from the field and was 3-5 from three-point range in the contest. In the last two games, he has averaged 37.3 minutes, playing 38 against Marquette, 40 versus Central Michigan and 34 in the Indiana game.
Double Dose Of “Chris” Give Irish “1”-“2” Punch:
Notre Dame’s backcourt tandem of junior Chris Thomas and sophomore Chris Quinn will certainly provide Irish opponents with some headaches this season. The two have combined for 153 of the team’s 341 points (44.9 percent) and taken 131 of the team’s 274 total shots (47.8 percent) in the first five games.
In The Spirit Of Giving:
Chris Thomas’ unselfish play is one of the reasons why the Irish have been successful while he has been in the Notre Dame backcourt. In the 72 games he has directed Mike Brey’s teams, Thomas has helped the Irish compile a 48-24 record for a .667 winning percentage As a freshman, he averaged 7.64 assists to rank fifth nationally in that category, and dished off 6.9 assists (eighth in the nation), as a sophomore. Thomas is the only player in Notre Dame history to dish off 200-plus assists in consecutive seasons. He has dished off 10-plus assists in 15 games during his career.
Threes Finally Falling For Falls:
While earning his first career start (and playing 33 minutes against Central Michigan), freshman Colin Falls finally hit his first career three-pointer. Heading into the contest, he was 0-6 from beyond the arc. Falls missed his first three-point attempt against Central Michigan, but nailed his first career three-pointer on his second attempt at the 14:02 mark of the contest. He was 2-4 from beyond the arc against Indiana and has made five of his 19 three-point attempts this season.
Double The Pleasure:
Torin Francis recorded the 13th double double of his career against Indiana with his 13 points and 14 rebounds. It marked his second straight outing with a double double after scoring 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds against Central Michigan. Wednesday night’s performance was his third double double of the season for Francis. He registered his first double double of the season in the season opener versus Northern Illinois. His scoring (24 points) and rebounding (19 rebounds) totals in that game were the second-highest of his career. Dating back to the Syracuse game (March 4, 2003), Francis has registered six double doubles in the last 11 games and in five of the Irish’s last eight outings. He has scored in double figures 24 times during his career and grabbed 10 or more rebounds on 15 occasions.
Century Mark II:
Jordan Cornette blocked his 100th career shot against Marquette and has 103 to his credit for a 1.47 career average in that category. He is one of just four players in Notre Dame history who has blocked 100 or more shots during his career. LaPhonso Ellis (1988-92) holds the school mark with 200, followed by Ryan Humphrey’s (2000-02) 166 and Troy Murphy’s (1998-01) 126.
Jones Reaches Double Digits In Back-To-Back Scoring Efforts:
At the start of this season, senior Torrian Jones had averaged 3.4 points and 2.1 rebounds in 14.2 minutes per game in his first three seasons. He has played in four games in 2003-04 and is averaging 8.5 points and 4.0 rebounds, while averaging 32.6 minutes per game. His back-to-back double-figure scoring efforts against Mount St. Mary’s (12 points) and Marquette (14 points), marked the first time in his career that he was in double figures in consecutive outings. Prior to the start of the season, he had scored in double figures on just five occasions.
Facing The Defending National Champions:
Notre Dame will meet defending national champion Syracuse twice during the 2003-04 season. It will mark the second straight year the Irish will play the NCAA champion from the previous season. Notre Dame’s matchup last season with Maryland on December 7, 2002 in the first round of the BB&T Classic at the MCI Center marked the 31st time and Irish team had played a team that had won the NCAA crown the previous year. With than victory, Notre Dame owns an 8-23 mark versus those teams, but has been victorious three of the last four times it has gone up against a team which had won the national championship the previous season. The 1999-00 Irish squad beat Connecticut twice – 75-70 at the Hartford Civic Center and 68-66 at the Joyce Center – the season after the Huskies claimed the ’99 NCAA title.
Keeping It Close:
In the 34 losses suffered by Irish teams in Mike Brey’s three seasons, only nine have been by 10 or more points and have been by a combined 245 points for an average of 7.21 points. Notre Dame’s two 17-point losses (at Pittsburgh and against Arizona in the semifinals of the West Regional last season) were the two worst by an Irish team under Brey. Prior to those two 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 4.45 points. Only one loss (versus Georgetown 83-73) was by double figures, while eight of those setbacks were by five points or less.
152 And Counting:
Heading into today’s game against Indiana, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 152 straight games, a mark that dates back to the 1998-99 campaign. The last time and Irish team failed to hit a three-pointer was in a 101-70 loss to Connecticut in the Hartford Civic Center (January 12, 1999) as Notre Dame finished 0-7 in the contest.
Bosl Joins Irish Roster:
Junior Greg Bosl, a 6-3, 191-pound guard out of Syosset, N.Y., has joined the Irish team as a walk-on. He played prep basketball at St. Dominic High School and averaged 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds as a senior. He captained St. Dominic’s during his final prep season and helped his team to a No. 3 ranking in the New York metro area. Bosl’s brother Mike played basketball for one year (1998-99) at Villanova and his sister Christine is a 1999 Notre Dame graduate. He is enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business and is majoring in finance.
Notre Dame Wins USA Today/NCAA Academic Achievement Award in 2003:
Notre Dame compiled the nation’s highest overall graduation rate for Division I-A student-athletes to take top honors in the 2003 USA Today/NCAA Academic Achievement Awards.
Ninety-two percent of the Fighting Irish student-athletes who enrolled in 1996 earned a degree from the University. The award included a $20,000 prize and was based on federally compiled figures submitted by the NCAA member institutions.
The NCAA bases graduation rates on the raw percentage of student-athletes who entered an institution and graduated within six years. Students who leave or transfer, regardless of academic standing, are considered non-graduates. Notre Dame’s graduation rate for student-athletes who complete all fours of athletic eligibility is 99 percent.
Notre Dame Partners With College Sports Television:
College Sports Television (CSTV) and Notre Dame are in a multi-year, multi-sport agreement by which CSTV is the year-round home of Fighting Irish athletics. CSTV airs a Notre Dame programming block every Sunday night called “Notre Dame Primetime,” featuring live and classic Fighting Irish events as wll as programming. In addition, CSTV has the rights to televise several Irish Olympic sporting events throughout the year.
Mike Brey Radio Show:
For the second consecutive year, Mike Brey will host a 30-minute radio show live on Tuesday evenings (beginning on December 9) from 7:30-8:00 p.m. at Logan’s Roadhouse on Main Street in Mishawaka. The show will air from December 9, 2003-March 2, 2004 (no shows on December 23, January 20 and February 24) and will broadcast live on 92.9-FM (U93 in South Bend).
Web Site (www.und.com):
Notre Dame’s official athletic department web site can be found at www.und.com. with the extensive offerings including live audio for all Irish women’s basketball games (home and away), as well as real-time statistics for all Notre Dame home games.
ESPN 1000 To Carry Men’s Basketball Game Broadcasts:
ESPN Radio 1000 (WMVP-AM) in Chicago will carry 17 regular-season Notre Dame men’s basketball games live in 2003-04 and another seven on delayed basis, as part of a multi-year agreement that will make ESPN 1000 the home for Irish men’s basketball in that market.
Irish Ink Rob Kurz In Early Signing Period:
Rob Kurz, a 6-8, 225-pound forward from Gwynedd, Pa., has signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at the University of Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2004.
Kurz has starred the last two years for William Penn Charter High School in Philadelphia, Pa. As a junior in 2002-03, he averaged 18.0 points and 12.0 rebounds in leading his prep team to a 26-4 record overall and garnering first-team all-league honors. He earned first-team all-city honors after helping William Penn Charter capture the Philadelphia Inter-Academic League crown with a perfect 10-0 league mark that also included two victories in the postseason.
As a sophomore, he netted 19.0 points per game and guided his team to a 16-9 overall record. However, he was unable to compete in league play that season after transferring to William Penn Charter at the beginning of the 2001-02 school year.
Kurz attended the Nike All-America camp each of the past two summers (’02 and ’03) and will serve as one of the team’s co-captains during the 2003-04 campaign.
Kurz’ sister, Laura, also a high school senior, will attend Duke University and play basketball for the Blue Devils.
Notre Dame All Over The Big Screen In ’03-’04:
Notre Dame will make more national television appearances -13 – than any other BIG EAST team this season. The Irish will be appear on CBS four times, ESPN five times and ESPN2 on four occasions. It will mark the most single-season national television appearances ever by a Notre Dame basketball team. Connecticut will appear on 11 national broadcasts (excluding the Preseason NIT) during the regular season.
Irish in Barbados:
Notre Dame spent its fall break (Oct. 18-25) in Barbados and played three games. The Irish finished with a 2-1 record on its foreign tour. Notre Dame became the first-ever college team to play a game in Barbados. Coach Mike Brey and his team got a head start on the season with the first of its 10 practices (allowed by the NCAA before a tour) on September 4. ESPN Magazine followed the Irish on their seven-day trip and it was featured in the magzine’s college basketball preview issue. Notre Dame played the Milton Keynes Lions, a member of the British Basketball League, twice, and face off against the Barbados National Team in its other contest.