Nov. 1, 2007
The Notre Dame men’s basketball team will open up with the first of two exhibition games on Friday night (November 2) when the Irish play host to St. Ambrose at 9:00 p.m. (EST) at the Joyce Center.
Notre Dame (0-0, 0-0 BIG EAST)
St. Ambrose (0-0, 0-0 Midwest Collegiate Conference)
Friday, November 2, 2007 * 9:00 p.m. (EST) Joyce Center * Notre Dame, Ind.
Radio: Jack Nolan (play-by-play analyst)
LaPhonso Ellis (color analyst)
Notre Dame Sports Properties originates the Notre Dame Radio Network which includes: WLS 890 AM in Chicago, Ill (Chicagoland area and Midwest); WNDV FM/U93 92,3 in South Bend, Ind.; ESPN 950 AM in Indianapolis, Ind.; WLYV 1450 AM in Fort Wayne, Ind. and Northeast, Ind.; WLUV 96.7 AM in Rockford and DeKalb, Ill., and Beloit and Janesville, Wis.; WLUV 1520 AM in Rockford and DeKalb, Ill., and Beloit and Janesville, Wis.; WEFM 95.9 FM in Michigan City and Gary, Ind.; ESPN (WRSW) 1480 AM in Warsaw, Ind.; WAMW 107.9 FM and 1580 AM in Washington, Ind., and 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).
Notre Dame vs. St. Ambrose
* Friday night’s contest against St. Ambrose is the first of two exhibition games the Irish will play before their season opener against Long Island on Mon., Nov. 12. Following this matchup, Notre Dame will play St. Edward’s of Texas on Wed., Nov. 7 at 7:00 p.m.
* Notre Dame is coming off of a 24-8 campaign in which the Irish returned to the NCAA for the first time since the 2003 season and fourth time under Irish head Mike Brey. The Irish also finished 11-5 in BIG EAST play and fourth in the final BIG EAST regular-season standings. The 11-5 record matched the best by a Notre Dame team since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96. After receiving a first-round bye in the BIG EAST Championship, the Irish advanced to the semifinals before losing to eventual tournament and regular-season champion Georgetown (the Hoyas also would go on to reach the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament). The Irish lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, marking the first time under Brey that Notre Dame was beaten in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The 24 wins by the Irish marked the most during the Brey era, while the eight losses were the fewest since the 1986-87 campaign when that squad finished with an identical 24-8 record. It also was the first since 1988-89 that an Irish team recorded single-digit losses (21-9).
* Notre Dame lost its top two scorers from a year ago Russell Carter (17.1 ppg.) and Colin Falls (15.3 ppg.) as both were first team all-BIG EAST selections. The Irish do return three starters in senior forward Rob Kurz, and sophomores Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson. Kurz is the top returning scorer (12.6 ppg.) and led Notre Dame in rebounding a year ago with 8.0 rpg. Harangody and Jackson were named to the BIG EAST all-rookie team after earning a combined 36 starts a year ago. Harangody, a forward, averaged 11.2 ppg. and was the team’s second-leading rebounder with 6.2 rpg. Jackson started the final 20 games of the season at point guard and finished with a 7.8 scoring average while leading the team in assists (4.3) and steals (1.8). He also led the BIG EAST with 6.0 assists per game in conference play. Junior guard Kyle McAlarney also returns after starting the first 12 games of the 2006-07 campaign and averaging 10.3 points and 5.4 assists. Junior forward Zach Hillesland is coming off of his best season as he averaged 5.8 points and 4.8 rebounds, while teammate Luke Zeller finished the year averaging 3.8 points and 2.2 rebounds. Junior guard Ryan Ayers will be heavily in the mix after averaging 2.9 points, while sophomore Jonathan Peoples will look for more minutes off the bench after averaging 1.8 points per game.
* The Irish averaged 81.0 points per game, the most ever for an Irish team under head coach Mike Brey, while allowing just 68.0 points per game. It also marked the firs time since the 1977-78 campaign that Notre Dame averaged better than 80 points per game. During that campaign, Notre Dame averaged 80.7 points after netting 85.4 points per game the previous season (1976-77).
* Sophomore Luke Harangody suffered a torn ligament in his right thumb on October 15 and has been practicing with a cast. Harangody will be evaluated next week to determine whether he will be able to play in the final exhibition tuneup next Wednesday night against St. Edward’s.
One Is A Lonely Number
* Rob Kurz is the lone senior amongst 14 players on this year’s Irish roster. The last time Notre Dame had only one senior on the roster was during the 1983-84 when Cecil Rucker on the only member of that time that consisted of four juniors, five sophomores and three freshmen. The 1988-89 Irish squad featured no seniors on that team and was comprised of five juniors, two sophomores and five freshmen.
* Notre Dame joined an elite group last year when it registered its 1,600th win against Providence on February 15, 2007. Entering its 103rd season, Notre Dame has 1,605 victories. Only 12 other schools have reached the mark: Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Duke, Syracuse, Temple, St. John’s, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Utah and UCLA.
Eight Straight Postseason Appearances
* Notre Dame’s appearance in last year’s NCAA tournament field marks the fourth NCAA berth for the Irish in seven years. Since 2000, Notre Dame has appeared in either the NCAA or NIT tournaments each of the last eight years. The Irish played in the 2000 NIT and then earned consecutive NCAA tournament berths – 2001, ’02, ’03 – followed by NIT appearances in ’04, ’05 and ’06. This current postseason streak matches the longest stretch since making eight straight from 1983-90 (NIT in 1983 and ’84 and NCAA from 1985-90).
Four 20-Win Seasons Under His Belt
* Notre Dame’s 24-8 campaign a year ago marked the fourth time in seven seasons under head coach Mike Brey that the Irish won 20-plus games. The 24 wins also equaled the most for Notre Dame during the Brey era. Notre Dame’s 20-win campaigns under Brey have been in 2000-01 (20-10), 2001-02 (22-11) and 2002-03 (24-10). In the 102-year history of the program, Notre Dame teams have won 20 or more games on 31 occasions.
* Notre Dame’s 18-0 record at home last season marked just the third time since the opening of the Joyce Center in 1968-69 that an Irish team finished undefeated at home during the regular season.
Only two other Notre Dame squads ever completed a season undefeated at home – the 1973-74 and 1985-86 squads both finished their campaigns with identical 15-0 records. The Irish were the only BIG EAST team to finish the season undefeated at home. Dating back to 2005-06 campaign, Notre Dame has won 20 consecutive games at home – a streak which is tied for sixth among all Division I teams and is the third longest in school history as well as the longest during Mike Brey’s tenure. The record for consecutive wins at the Joyce Center is 24 (1973-74).
Current NCAA Division I Home Court Win Streaks:
3. Ohio State-25
6. NOTRE DAME-20
9. Holy Cross-19
Joyce Center Streakin’
* Notre Dame will start the season in pursuit of breaking the Joyce Center home win streak. Currently at 20 games, it’s the longest win streak at the Joyce Center and longest during the Mike Brey era. Here’s a look at the Joyce Center streaks …
24 – Began with a 94-68 win over Xavier on 2/3/73 and ended with a 94-84 loss to Indiana on 12/11/74
22 – Began with an 88-68 win over Pittsburgh on 1/26/77 and ended with a 69-68 overtime loss to DePaul on 2/12/78
20 – Began with a 66-61 win over DePaul on 3/4/06
16 – Began with a 92-70 win over Fairfield on 12/9/82 and ended with a 51-47 loss to UCLA on 12/3/83
16 – Began with an 89-76 win over West Virginia on 2/20/02 and ended with an 87-79 loss to Connecticut on 2/24/03 What A Difference A Year Makes
With its 11-5 record in BIG EAST play last season, Notre Dame’s win total was five more than the 2005-06 team which finished with a 6-10 conference mark after beginning league play 1-8. Notre Dame’s 24 wins also were eight more its total of 16 the previous season.
Irish Roll Under Brey In November
Notre Dame completed the month of November in 2006 with a 5-1 record. Under head coach Mike Brey, the Irish are 26-3 (.897) all-time in games played during the month of November. The three November losses have been to Creighton 80-75 in the championship game of the Guardians Classic on Nov. 26, 2002; to North Carolina State (61-48) at the John R. Wooden Tradition at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Nov. 26, 2005; and to Butler (71-69) on Nov. 13, 2006 in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
The Irish All-Time
The 2007-08 men’s basketball campaign marks the 102nd season of basketball and 12th as a member of the BIG EAST Conference. In 101-plus seasons, Irish teams have posted a 1605-885 record for a .646 winning percentage. In BIG EAST play, Notre Dame owns a 101-99 (.505) record all-time in conference regular-season play.
Always In It
Since the 2005-06 campaign, Notre Dame’s 22 losses have been by a combined 116 points for an average of 5.3 points per game. The 14 setbacks in’05-’06 were by a total of 59 points (4.2 points). The only double-digit loss was to North Carolina State (61-47). The Irish suffered 10 BIG EAST losses during the regular season and those were by a combined 35 points (3.5).
Keeping It Close
In the 78 losses suffered by Irish teams in Mike Brey’s seven seasons, only 19 have been by 10 or more points and have been by a combined 515 for an average of 6.6 points per game. Notre Dame’s 18-point loss (66-48) to Georgetown in 2006-07 was the largest ever for an Irish team under Brey.
BIG EAST Formula For Success Under Brey
Since his arrival at Notre Dame, Mike Brey has led Notre Dame to a 66-46 (.589) record in BIG EAST regular-season games and a 3-7 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 69-53 (.566) 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 had a 35-53 (.398) regular-season record since joining the league in 1995-96.
269 And Counting
Heading into the 2007-08 season, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 269 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 Jan. 12, 1999 as Notre Dame finished 0-7 from beyond the arc in the game. The 2005-06 Irish squad set the single-season record with 288 three-pointers and fell just one field goal short of that mark (287) in 2006-07.
Home Sweet Home
Since the inaugural season in 1968-69 at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame owns a 474-142 record all-time for a .769 winning percentage. The Irish are 88-27 (.765) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s six-plus seasons, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they own a 136-43 mark for a .760 winning percentage. Notre Dame’s 17 wins at home this season marks the ninth time in 10 years that the Irish won 10 or more home games. The Irish played their 600th game at the Joyce Center on Nov. 27, 2006 versus Lehigh.