Senior captain Scott Martin and the Irish will try to win the program's 13th straight season opener on Saturday against Mississippi Valley State.

Irish Open Season On Saturday Against Mississippi Valley State

Nov. 10, 2011

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Mississippi Valley State vs. Notre Dame
Nov. 12, 2011 o 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center (9,149)
Notre Dame, Ind.


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Jack Nolan (play-by-play)
LaPhonso Ellis (analyst)

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  • Notre Dame will open its 107th season of men’s basketball on Saturday against Mississippi Valley State. The first-ever meeting between the Fighting Irish and Delta Devils will tip-off at 2:00 p.m. (ET) inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
  • Mississippi Valley State is a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). The Delta Devils posted a 13-19 record last season, including a 12-6 mark in SWAC play.
  • Notre Dame is 1-0 all-time against teams currently in the SWAC. The Fighting Irish defeated Prairie View A&M 89-52 during the 1987-88 season at the Joyce Center.
  • The Fighting Irish went 2-0 in exhibition play. Notre Dame defeated Saint Xavier University (Ill.), 90-72, and Stonehill College (Mass.), 92-70.
  • The Irish bring a 19-game home winning streak into Saturday’s contest.
  • A free live video broadcast of Saturday’s game will be available on Jack Nolan will handle play-by-play duties, while LaPhonso Ellis will serve as the analyst. The broadcast can also be heard on the radio (check Pg. 5 for affiliate info).


  • Notre Dame owns an all-time record of 88-18 (.830) in season openers and have won all 11 openers under head coach Mike Brey. Since the opening of Purcell Pavilion (formerly the Joyce Center), Notre Dame teams are 37-6 (.860) in season openers at home. The last time Notre Dame lost a season opener at home was against Miami of Ohio (76-65) on November 13, 1998.
  • Notre Dame bested Georgia Southern, 98-61, at Purcell Pavilion in last season’s opener.


  • The season opener against Mississippi Valley State on Nov. 12 will be the first of eight games in an 18-day span for the Fighting Irish. The stretch will end with a road test at Gonzaga on Nov. 30.


  • Saturday will mark the first time Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey and Mississippi Valley State head coach Sean Woods have been involved in the same game since the classic Duke-Kentucky showdown in the 1992 NCAA East Regional Final. Brey was an assistant coach at Duke at that time, while Woods played for Kentucky. Woods gave the Wildcats a one-point lead with 2.1 seconds left in overtime, but Duke won, 104-103, on a last-second shot by Christian Laettner, who is the uncle of Notre Dame junior forward Mike Broghammer.


  • Forward Tim Abromaitis will miss the first four games of the regular season due to a misunderstanding in the technicality of an NCAA rule governing seasons of competition that dates back to the 2008-09 campaign.
  • In his sophomore year (’08-’09), Abromaitis played in Notre Dame’s first two exhibition games against Briar Cliff (Oct. 31) and Stonehill (Nov. 9) and then was withheld from competition for the remainder of the season in order to preserve an extra year of eligibility. Under NCAA rules, and specifically Bylaw, freshman student-athletes are allowed to participate in preseason exhibition contests and still preserve the entire year of eligibility. The Bylaw, however, does not provide the same exception for returning student-athletes in their sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Therefore, Abromaitis technically used a season of eligibility when he participated in those two preseason exhibition contests during that year.
  • Abromaitis’ fifth year of eligibility has been preserved for this season due to an NCAA waiver that took into consideration the Notre Dame men’s basketball coaching staff’s misunderstanding of the rule and on the condition that he be withheld from the first four regular-season games.
  • Saturday will be the first game Abromaitis has missed since he sat out the 2008-09 campaign. He has played in 69 straight contests.


  • The 2011-12 campaign marks the 107th season of basketball at Notre Dame and the 17th season as a member of the BIG EAST Conference. Notre Dame teams have posted an all-time record of 1701-927 for a .647 winning percentage. In 15 seasons as a member of the BIG EAST, the Irish own a 147-125 (.540) record in conference regular-season play.


  • Notre Dame forward Tim Abromaitis has been selected to the preseason watch lists for both the John R. Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy. Both awards are presented annually to the national player of the year. Fifty student-athletes appear on both watch lists.
  • Abromaitis was named to the six-man preseason All-BIG EAST First Team.
  • The Fighting Irish forward also is one of 30 candidates up for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.


  • Eight teams on Notre Dame’s 2011-12 schedule are ranked in the Associated Press top-25 preseason poll. Six of the squads – #4 Connecticut, #5 Syracuse, #9 Louisville, #10 Pittsburgh, #21 Cincinnati and #22 Marquette – are BIG EAST foes, while the Fighting Irish will face #23 Gonzaga and #25 Missouri in non-conference action. The Irish will face fourth-ranked UConn twice during the regular season. Notre Dame could also face #24 California in the CBE Classic.


  • Missouri, Notre Dame, California and Georgia will serve as the four Regional Round hosts for the 2011 CBE Classic with play beginning on Nov. 13. Each of the four Regional Round hosts will play two games on campus before advancing to the Championship Rounds, Nov. 21-22, at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
  • Joining Missouri, Notre Dame, Cal and Georgia in the 2011 CBE Classic are Austin Peay, Bowling Green, Detroit, George Washington, Mercer, Niagara, Sam Houston State and South Dakota State. Bowling Green and Mercer will serve as Subregional Round hosts for games played Nov. 21-23.
  • The Fighting Irish will play host to Detroit and Sam Houston State in regional round action on Nov. 14 and 16, respectively.


  • Notre Dame will meet Maryland on Dec. 4 in the BB&T Classic at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The Fighting Irish will be making their third appearance in the event, which is held annually in the nation’s capital. Each of the last two meetings between Notre Dame and Maryland has occurred at the BB&T Classic. Notre Dame topped Maryland 79-67 during the 2002 event and the Irish bested the Terrapins again, 81-74, in the 2006 BB&T Classic.


  • Notre Dame will battle instate rival Indiana in the inaugural Crossroads Classic at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. The game between the Irish and the Hoosiers is part of a doubleheader on Saturday, Dec. 17. Purdue and Butler meet in the first game at 2:00 p.m. (ET) followed by Notre Dame and Indiana at 4:30 p.m. (ET).


  • Notre Dame will have 17 television appearances during the 2011-12 season. The Irish will appear on ESPN’s family of networks 16 times in addition to being on CBS once.


  • Freshman guard/forward Pat Connaughton also is a pitcher on the Fighting Irish baseball team. Connaughton is the 66th Notre Dame student-athlete to compete in both basketball and baseball and the first to do so since Tom Hansen during the 1973-74 academic year.


  • Tim Abromaitis and Scott Martin will captain the Fighting Irish during the 2011-12 season. Abromaitis is the 19th player in program history to serve as a two-time team captain.


  • In August, Tim Abromaitis represented the United States at the 2011 World University Games in China. The U.S. squad posted a 7-1 record and placed fifth in the competition. Abromaitis started three of the games and averaged 6.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per contest.


  • The Fighting Irish bring a 19-game home win streak into the 2011-12 campaign.
  • The Fighting Irish concluded their 2010-11 home slate with a perfect 17-0 mark. It’s the third undefeated season at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center in the last five years and the fifth overall for Notre Dame since the building opened at the start of the 1968-69 campaign. The other perfect home seasons occurred in: 1973-74 (15-0), 1985-86 (15-0), 2006-07 (18-0) and 2007-08 (17-0).
  • Notre Dame is the only BIG EAST team that did not lose at home in 2010-11.
  • Over the course of the last five seasons, Notre Dame is the only school nationally to go undefeated at home in three seasons (Duke and Kansas have done it twice), while its 84-6 record at home for a .933 winning percentage is the sixth best among NCAA Division I schools. The Irish also own the best record among all BIG EAST teams in regular-season conference home games over the same time span with a sterling 39-5 record for an .886 winning percentage.
  • See page 8 of this notes packet for more information


  • Notre Dame has made at least one three-pointer in 408 straight contests dating back to the 1998-99 campaign. The Fighting Irish have made at least one three pointer during every game of the Mike Brey era. The last time an Irish team failed to hit a three-pointer in a game was in a 101-70 loss to Connecticut at the Hartford Civic Center on Jan. 12, 1999. Notre Dame finished 0-7 from beyond the arc in that contest. In 2008-09, the Irish set a single-season three-point record with 319.


  • Last season’s 27 wins (27-7) were the most in the modern era of Fighting Irish basketball. Notre Dame’s highest win total ever was 33 (33-7) in 1908-09.
  • The 14 regular-season BIG EAST victories in 2010-11 tied the program standard. The Fighting Irish went 14-4 in BIG EAST play in 2007-08.
  • Notre Dame’s 15 BIG EAST wins (14 regular season, 1 tournament) last season were the most in program history (combined regular season and tournament).


  • Notre Dame has posted a 96-42 (.696) record over the past four seasons. The 96 wins are the most victories in program history over a four-year span. The previous standard was 93 from when the Irish went 93-43 from 2006-10. The past four seasons also has produced the most regular-season BIG EAST victories (46) in school history. The Irish have gone 46-26 in BIG EAST regular-season play over the past four seasons.


  • Notre Dame has reached the 20-win mark in each of the last five seasons and eight times in the last 11 seasons under head coach Mike Brey. The last time Irish teams reached the 20-win plateau in six straight campaigns was from 1983-89 under head coach Digger Phelps.


    • Mike Brey is entering his 12th season along the Irish sidelines. He is the third-longest tenured coach in the BIG EAST, behind only Jim Boeheim of Syracuse and Jim Calhoun of Connecticut. Brey stands sixth all-time in career BIG EAST victories (both regular-season and tournament) with his 119-83 (.589) mark. He is one of eight coaches in BIG EAST history to record 100 conference wins.


    • Notre Dame has earned appearances in the postseason in each of the last 12 seasons, which marks the longest stretch in school history. The Irish have been to the NCAA Tournament on seven occasions and the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) five times during this current stretch. Under head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame has played in the NCAAs seven times and NIT four times.