Jan. 9, 2004
NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH (7-3, 1-0)
AT VILLANOVA WILDCATS (8-4, 0-0)
Date: Saturday, January 10, 2004
Place: Wachovia Center (21,000)
Time: 12:00 p.m. (EST)
Television: ESPN Regional – Don Criqui (play-by-play analyst) and Bucky Waters (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.
- Notre Dame heads into today’s game riding a five-game win streak.
- The Irish are playing on the road for the first time in nearly a month. Notre Dame’s last road game was against DePaul (an 82-69 victory) on December 14. Since then, the Irish have played four consecutive contests at home.
- Notre Dame will open up BIG EAST play by playing three of its first five conference games on the road.
- The current five-game win streak is the longest since winning eight straight contests last season – from November 30, 2002-January 4, 2003 (Albany, Marquette, Maryland, Texas, DePaul, Canisius, Vanderbilt and Valparaiso).
- Mike Brey earned his 70th win along the Irish sidelines against American on December 21. He owns a 73-34 (.682) overall record as the Irish head coach in three-plus seasons. Brey coached in his 100th game on December 1 and in his 250th career game against Mount St. Mary’s on November 29.
- Notre Dame has a 14-7 record when playing on January 10.
- Torrian Jones played in his 100th career game in an Irish uniform in Notre Dame’s win over Morehead State on December 28 and has played in more games than any other Irish player.
- Under head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame is 16-1 ( .941) all-time during the month of November and owns an overall record of 19-7 mark (.731) in the month of December. The Irish finished with a perfect 6-0 mark in December during the 2002-03 season.
- Notre Dame is 16-8 during the month of January under Brey.
- Notre Dame is 22-4 in its last 26 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 6-4 in their last 10 home games.
- In Notre Dame’s three straight losses to Marquette, Central Michigan and Indiana, the Irish shot a combined 58-165 (.352) from the field and 19-70 (.271) from three-point range. Since those three losses Notre Dame has shot better than 50.0 percent from the field in three of its last five games and is 132-271 (.487) from the field and 43-113 (.381) from three-point range.
- Notre Dame has held four opponents to under 40.0 percent shooting this season. After allowing American (on December 21) to shoot 63.0 percent from the field on December 21, Notre Dame has held two of its last three opponents to under 40.0 percent. Quinnipiac connected on just 34.4 percent of its shots, while West Virginia made good on only 36.8 percent of its attempts. Northern Illinois converted just 33.3 percent from the field in the season opener and Mount St. Mary’s shot just 38.2 percent in the second game of the ’03-’04 campaign.
- Notre Dame’s 77.2 accuracy from the free-throw line ranks third nationally.
- This afternoon’s contest is the 24th meeting between the two schools with Villanova holding a 13-10 advantage in the series.
- This will be the first matchup between the Irish and the Wildcats since January 6, 2002 as Villanova earned a 74-72 at the Joyce Center.
- This is Notre Dame’s first visit to Philadelphia to play Villanova since February 8, 2000 when it dropped an 86-69 decision to the Wildcats.
- Since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96, Notre Dame is winless against the Wildcats in eight matchups. Villanova is the only team that the Irish have failed to beat in conference play.
- Notre Dame’s three losses have been by a total of 18 points. It’s win at DePaul had been the first in the month December and the first in 15 days. Prior to that, the Irish had 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.
- Notre Dame’s defense is allowing 66.1 points per game. The 74 points allowed by the Irish against American have been the most allowed by the Irish this season. Notre Dame has held eight opponents to under 70 points. The 52 points given up by the Irish against West Virginia were the fewest allowed this season.
- This afternoon’s contest is the first league game for Villanova. The Wildcats are 8-4 overall, but have dropped its last two games to Kansas on the road (86-79) and Memphis (73-57) at home. Prior to the two losses, Villanova had won five straight after beginning the season 3-2.
- For the fifth consecutive game, and sixth time this season, Notre Dame had more assists (14) than turnovers (12) against West Virginia. Notre Dame had a season-best 2.5 assist to turnover ratio against Morehead State as the Irish had 20 assists and committed just eight turnovers. The Irish have turned the ball over 10 or less times on four occasions this season. Against American, Notre Dame had a season-low seven turnovers. In the season opener against Northern Illinois, Notre Dame dished off 14 assists and turned the ball over just eight times. In the last five games against DePaul, American, Quinnipiac and Morehead State, Notre Dame has committed a total of 52 turnovers (10.4 per game).
- Overall this season, Notre Dame owns a 1.25 assist-to-turnover ratio with 151 assists and 121 turnovers. The Irish are averaging 15.1 assists and 12.1 turnovers.
- Notre Dame owns a 0.7 rebounding edge over its opponents (35.1 to 34.4), but in Wednesday night’s win over West Virginia enjoyed a +17 advantage on the boards (43-26). The Irish have outrebounded five opponents this season.
- Three Irish players are netting double figures with Chris Thomas leading the team with an 18.2 scoring average. Torin Francis is averaging a double double with averages of 16.5 points and 10.2 rebounds. Chris Quinn is the third Irish player in double figures with a 13.9 scoring average.
- Torrian Jones is coming off his most impressive outing of his career as he scored 17 points (tying a career-high) and grabbed 14 rebounds (establishing a new personal best) in Wednesday’s win over West Virginia. Jones played a career-high 38 minutes in the contest and connected on 7-8 shots from the field and was 3-3 from the free-throw line. It marked the first double double of his career and the fourth time in 2003-04 that he has scored in double figures.
- Chris Thomas has netted 20-plus points five times and on four occasions in the last seven outings. Thomas had his 27-game consecutive scoring streak snapped against Quinnipiac in Notre Dame’s December 23 outing. He has averaged 6.5 assists in the last six contests.
- Torin Francis recorded double figures in scoring for the 11th consecutive game with his 17-point effort against West Virginia. He is the only Notre Dame player who has scored in double figures in all 10 games this season. He is shooting 64.6 percent from the field (31-48) in the last five games.
- Chris Quinn has registered double figures in five consecutive games and is averaging 16.8 points in those games. He is shooting 61.7 percent from the field in those games (29-47) and 58.1 percent (18-31) from three-point range in Notre Dame’s last five games. Quinn started the first five games of the season, but has come off the bench in each of the Irish’s last five victories.
- Colin Falls has been in the starting lineup in each of Notre Dame’s last five games and has earned starts in six contests overall. He owns a 6.2 scoring average.
- Jordan Cornette has started the last four games and has earned nine starting appearances overall this season. The only game he did not start was against DePaul. In that contest, he came off the bench to finish with a career-high 17 points. Cornette was awarded the Wendell Smith Award, as the game’s MVP. Cornette shot 6-10 from the field and was 5-7 from three-point range. In addition, he grabbed seven rebounds and blocked three shots in 34 minutes.
- Free throw shooting continues to be a bonus with 23.8 percent of the Irish’s points coming from the charity stripe. Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 173-89 from the line and has attempted 102 (224-122) more free throws.
- Five Notre Dame players are averaging better than 30 minutes per game – Chris Thomas (37.0), Torin Francis (35.4), Chris Quinn (33.8), Torrian Jones (31.4).
IRISH PLAYER TIDBITS:
- Chris Thomas leads the team in scoring as he is averaging 18.2 points per game. He has registered 20-plus points in four of the last seven games, including a season-high 28 points versus American on December 21. Thomas was key down the stretch for the Irish in that game as he tallied 11 points in the final 3:18 of the contest. He was held to a season-low seven points against Quinnipiac which snapped his streak of 27 straight games in double figures dating back to last season. He has reached double digits in 64 of 77 career contests. Prior to the game against the Bobcats, 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 had season-high 11 assists against Quinnipiac marking the first time this season (and 15th time in his career) with 10-plus 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 546.
- Chris Quinn started the first five games of the season, but has come off the bench in each of the last five contests. He has averaged 16.38 points in those five contests and has registered double figures in eight of 10 games. Quinn posted back-to-back career outings against American and Quinnipiac, scoring 19 and 25 points, respectively. In addition, he netted 17 points versus Morehead State. He is averaging career bests of 13.9 points and 2.6 rebounds in addition to 3.3 assists. In addition, Quinn has played the third-most minutes of any Irish player (33.8 per game). In just his fourth collegiate start, he played all 40 minutes in Notre Dame’s loss to Central Michigan. He has turned the ball over just seven times this season and is averaging one turnover every 48.2 minutes. He has not turned the ball over in four straight games and has committed a turnover since the first half (6:51) of the DePaul game. Quinn has not had a turnover in the last 155:51 that he has played,.
- Torin Francis has posted a double double in five games this season. In 44 career outings (all starts), he has 15 career double doubles. Francis is Notre Dame’s second-leading scorer (16.5 ppg.) and leading rebounder (10.2). In addition, he leads the team with 2.5 blocked shots per game. He has scored 20-plus points in three contests, netting 24 in the season opener against Northern Illinois, 23 in the December 1 loss at Marquette and 21 against Morehead State. Dating back to last season, he has had eight doubles doubles in the last 16 games. Francis also has scored 20-plus points on seven occasions and has registered 10 or more rebounds 17 times. He has scored in double figures on 29 occasions and in each of Notre Dame’s last 11 outings.
- Torrian Jones has started all nine games he has played. He missed the Central Michigan game with a hip flexor and did not dress. He is averaging 8.9 points and 5.3 rebounds. Jones registered his first career double double in Wednesday night’s win over West Virgnia. He has scored in double figures in four of the nine games he has played – 17 points versus West Virginia, 14 points versus Marquette, 12 points against Mount St. Mary’s and 10 in the win over Quinnipiac – and nine times during his career. His double-digit scoring efforts in both the Mount St. Mary’s and Marquette games 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 Mount St. Mary’s, he had seven rebounds and career-high six assists.
- Jordan Cornette has started nine of the 10 games he has played. He started the Irish’s first five contests before coming off the bench in the sixth game of the season against DePaul. That outing proved to be his best in an Irish uniform as Cornette finished with 17 points against the Blue Demons, marking the second time in his career that he has reached double figures. He has 113 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.
- Tom Timmermans has played in each of Notre Dame’s last three games versus Quinnipiac, Morehead State and West Virgnia after missing the previous four outings (Central Michigan, Indiana, DePaul and American) with a back injury. He also missed the Mount St. Mary’s contest. He has played in five games total. In Timmermans’ return first game back against Quinnipiac, he finished with three points and five rebounds, and then had two points and four rebounds versus Morehead State.
- Rick Cornett averaged 3.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in the first six games in 9.5 minutes per game. He missed three games (American, Quinnipiac and Morehead State) after suffering a sprained foot in practice on December 18. In his first career start in the win at DePaul on December 14, he played a career-high 16 mintues, and finished with 10 points (on 4-6 shooting from the field) and grabbed five rebounds.
- Colin Falls is averaging 21.7 minutes per game while netting 6.2 points and grabbing 2.1 rebounds. He earned his first career start against Central Michigan and played 33 minutes while netting 11 points. Falls has started each of the last five games. He made his second start of the season against the Blue Demons and finished with a career-high 12 points, the second time in his career that he has scored in double figures. Falls has averaged 8.1 points (57 points) in Notre Dame’s last seven outings. He scored a combined five points in Notre Dame’s first three games.
- 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 has seen action in six games this season.
SERIES RECORD VS. VILLANOVA:
Today’s game is the 24th meeting between the two schools, but just the second during Mike Brey’s tenure. Villanova has won eight straight with all eight of those contests coming since Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST at the start of the 1995-96 campaign. The Wildcats are the only team the Irish have never beaten. Notre Dame’s last victory over a Villanova team was on January 21, 1984 as the Irish captured an 81-68 victory at the Joyce Center. Mike Brey is 0-1 versus Villanova since coming to Notre Dame and 0-3 all-time during his eight-plus seasons as a head coach.
FORMER AMERICA EAST COACHING FOES MATCH WITS IN BIG EAST:
Mike Brey and Villanova coach Jay Wright are certainly no strangers matching coaching wits against each other. Both former coaches in the America East Conference (Brey at Delaware and Wright at Hofstra), the two faced each other 13 times from 1995-2000 with Brey owning a 9-4 edge in their coaching series. Today’s game will be the 15th time the two have faced each on the hardcourt (Brey leads 9-5).
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. 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 BIG EAST OPENERS:
Notre Dane’s BIG EAST opener against West Virgnia marked just the second time in nine years (since joining the leage in 1995-96) that the Irish opened up conference play at home. Notre Dame is 4-5 all-time in conference openers. The only other time that an Irish team opened up BIG EAST play at the Joyce Center was during the 2001-02 campaign. In that contest, which was played on January 6, 2002, Notre Dame dropped a 74-72 decision to the Wildcats.
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, marking 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 426-126 record all-time for a .772 winning percentage. The Irish are 41-12 (.774) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s three seasons, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they own an 91-31 mark for a .746 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 22 of their last 26 games at home, but have dropped four of the last 10 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 1536-841 record for a .646 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 34-8 (.810) combined record. Six of the 42 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.
HAPPY HOMECOMING FOR CORNETT AND FALLS AGAINST BLUE DEMONS:
The December 14th win against DePaul at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., snapped Notre Dame’s three-game losing streak, provided a happy occasion for two Chicagoland natives – sophomore Rick Cornett and freshman Colin Falls. Both started the contest and were instrumental in the victory. Cornett, making his first career start, scored a personal best 10 points (all in the first half) as he converted on 4-6 field goals from the field. In playing a career-high 15 minutes, he also grabbed a career-high five rebounds and finished with two steals. Falls, earning his second start of the season (and second in the last three games), also notched a career best in scoring 12 points. All four of his field goals and all eight of his attempts came from beyond the three-point arc.
CORNETTE EARNS WENDELL SMITH AWARD:
Jordan Cornette was named the recipient of the Wendell Smith Award, which is presented annually to the most valuable player of the Notre Dame-DePaul game. Cornette’s selection marks the third straight year an Irish player has claimed the honor. After starting the first five games of the season, he came off the bench to net a career-best 17 points in 34 minutes. It marked only the second time in 71 career games played at the time that he had scored in double figures. The last time he scored in double figures was against Georgetown (January 21, 2002) when he notched 11 points in 31 minutes of action (spanning 56 games). Against the Blue Demons, he connected on 6-10 shots from the field and converted on 5-7 from three-point range. In addition, he grabbed seven rebounds and blocked three shots.
Sophomores Torin Francis and Chris Quinn have enjoyed a torrid shooting streak during Notre Dame’s five-game win streak. Francis is shooting 64.6 percent from the field in the last five games as he has converted 31-48 from the field. Quinn has been equally impressive from the floor as he has made 61.7 percent of his shots from the field (29-47) and hit 58.0 percent (18-31) of his three-point attempts. Overall, Francis is shooting 56.5 percent from the field (52-92), while Quinn has nailed 49.5 percent of his shots (46-93). He also leads the team in three-point field goals made (26) and three-point field goal percentage (.448).
IN GOOD HANDS:
Chris Quinn owns an impressive 4.43 assist-to-turnover ratio. He has played 338 minutes, dished off 31 assists and turned the ball over just seven times which translates into one turnover every 48.3 minutes. Quinn has not turned the ball over in the last four games. In fact, his last turnover occurred with 6:51 remaining in the first half of Notre Dame’s win at DePaul. Heading into the West Virginia game, Quinn has gone 155:51 without committing a turnover.
TAKING CARE OF THE BASKETBALL:
In six of its seven victories, Notre Dame has been most successful when the Irish have taken care of the basketball. The Irish have turned the ball over 10 times and fewer on four occasions this season. In the season opener against Northern Illinois the Irish committed just eight turnovers, and in the win over DePaul, turned the ball over just 10 times. Notre Dame has a season-low seven turnovers in the win over American and committed just eight turnovers against Morehead State. The Irish have had more turnovers than assists in six games this season. The Irish are averaging 12.1 turnovers per game this season.
IRISH DEFENSE SHUTS DOWN MOUNTAINEERS:
Notre Dame held West Virginia to a season-low 52 points in its 63-52 victory. The 52 points were the second-fewest ever ever allowed by the Irish in a BIG EAST game. Notre Dame also allowed 52 points in a 69-52 win at the Joyce Center on January 2, 1997. The fewest points ever allowed by the Irish in a league game was 51 in a 60-51 victory over Seton hall at Notre Dame on January 26, 2002.
IRISH IN THE SCORING GROOVE:
Notre Dame’s 84 points in its win over Morehead State on December 28 marked a season-high for the Irish who also hit the 80-point mark in an 82-69 victory over DePaul on December 14. Prior to that contest, Notre Dame’s season-high was 78 points in the second game of the season versus Mount St. Mary’s. In their three losses, the Irish were held to just 63.0 points per game. Currently, Notre Dame is averaging 72.7 points per game. In Mike Brey’s first three seasons, Notre Dame averaged 78.1 ppg. (2000-01), 78.8 ppg (2001-02) and 79.2 ppg. (2002-03).
Notre Dame is yielding just 66.1 points per game and has held eight of its 10 opponents to under 70 points. Marquette and American have been the only two teams to score more than 70 points against the Irish this season. Notre Dame allowed 69.5 ppg. in 2000-01, 68.3 ppg. in 2001-02 and 71.3 ppg. in 2002-03).
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-plus seasons as a member of the BIG EAST Conference, Notre Dame owns a 67-70 record all-time in conference regular-season play for a .489 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 32-17 (.653) 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 32-17 record in BIG EAST regular-season games for a 65.3 winning percentage and 1-3 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 33-20 (.623) 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).
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. At home this season, Notre Dame has outscored their opponents 143-71 from the line and has attempted 92 more free throws (182-90). Overall, the Irish have converted on 77.2 percent of their attempts. In its two best performances of the season, Notre Dame was 19-20 (.950) from the line against Mount St. Mary’s and 18-20 (.900) versus American. In home games this season, the Irish have converted on 143-182 (.786), while opponents are 71-90 (.789).
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 17.3 made free throws per game this season and have attempted an average of 22.4 per game. Irish opponents are averaging just 8.9 made three throws per game and 12.2 attempted.
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.
Jordan Cornette led six Irish players in double figures in the victory over DePaul. He tallied a team-high 17 points, while Chris Thomas netted 13 points. Torin Francis, Colin Falls and Chris Quinn each finished with 12 points each, while Rick Cornett chipped in 10. It marked the first time since January 27, 1990 in a 107-60 win at the Joyce Center that six Irish players were in double figures. In that game, Kevin Ellery tossed in 17 points to lead the Irish, while Joe Frederick added 14 points and Keith Robinson netted 12 points. In addition, Elmer Bennett and Daimon Sweet each finished with 11 points, while LaPhonso Ellis round out the double-figure scorers with 10 points.
THOMAS REACHES ASSIST MILESTONE:
Chris Thomas surpassed 500 career assists on December 1 against Marquette. In 77 career contests, he has 546 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 1,335 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 third all-time in career assists and needs just 41 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 59 blocks in 2003-04 for an average of 5.9 per game.
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 77 games he has directed Mike Brey’s teams, Thomas has helped the Irish compile a 53-24 record for a .688 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:
Freshman Colin Falls seems to have found his three-point range. After missing his first seven three-point attempts, he has come back to make 15 of his last 37 attempts (40.5 percent). Fifteen of the 20 field goals he has made have come from three-point range. Falls is shooting 36.4 percent overall from the field and 34.9 percent from three-point range. He has been in the starting lineup in six games – Central Michigan, DePaul, American, Quinnipiac, Morehead State and West Virginia – and is averaging 21.7 minutes per game. Falls hit his first career three-pointer in his first career start in the loss to the Chippewas. 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.
DOUBLE THE PLEASURE:
Torin Francis’ 21 points and 10 rebounds against Morehead State marked the 15th double double of this career and his fifth of the season. He also had double doubles against Northern Illinois (24 points/19 rebounds), Central Michigan (10 points/12 rebounds), Indiana (13 points/13 rebounds) and Quinnipiac (19 points/11 reboudns). Francis’ scoring (24 points) and rebounding (19 rebounds) totals in the Northern Illinois game were the second-highest of his career. Dating back to the Syracuse game (March 4, 2003), Francis has registered eight double doubles in the last 16 games and in seven of the Irish’s last 13 outings. He has scored in double figures 29 times during his career and grabbed 10 or more rebounds on 17 occasions.
CENTURY MARK II:
Jordan Cornette blocked his 100th career shot against Marquette and has 113 to his credit for a 1.50 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.
Torrian Jones had his best game in an Irish uniform in Wednesday night’s win over West Virginia as he recorded his first career double double, netting 17 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. The 17 points equalled his career best, while the 14 boards established a new personal best. It marked the fourth time this season that he has scored in double figures and the just the second time in his career that he has grabbed 10-plus rebounds in a game. Jones has also scored in double figures nine times in 101 career games. He has played more games than any other player on the roster.
JONES REACHES DOUBLE DIGITS FOR THIRD TIME THIS SEASON:
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 ninegames in 2003-04 and is averaging 9.9 points and 5.3 rebounds, while averaging 31.4 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. He posted his third double-figure scoring effort of the season with his 10-point effort against Quinnipiac. 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 the 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.
157 AND COUNTING:
Heading into today’s game against Villanova, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 156 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.
IRISH ADD CARLSON TO ROSTER:
Notre Dame has added another walk-on to its roster as freshman John Carlson joined the Irish squad on January 8 for the first time in practice. Carlson, a 6-6, 230-pound forward, is a scholarship member of the Notre Dame football team and is a tight end. He did not see action in any games this season for the Irish at tight end. A native of Litchfield, Minn., Carlson was four-year starter at Litchfield High School where he was a three-time all-conference selection and two-time all-state honoree. He was the starting center on his prep basketball team and led his squad to a 114-8 record during his career in winning the Minnesota Class 2A state title three times. A first-team all-state selection as a senior and four-time all-conference choice, he finished his career with 1,676 career points, 974 rebounds and 412 assists.He also played tennis at Litchfield posted a 106-22 mark at #1 doubles as a three-time all-conference honoree.
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.
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.
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.
NOTRE DAME 12TH IN DIRECTORS’ CUP:
Notre Dame stands 12th in the second set of fall sports standings in the 2003-04 Division United States Sports Academy Directors’ Cup all-sports competition. Irish teams have earned a combined 199 points. Michigan currently leads the standings with 482 points. Notre Dame has reached its highest finish – 11th- on three occasions (1993-94, 1995-96 and 2000-01).