Jan. 3, 2012
Notre Dame (9-5, 1-0) vs. Cincinnati (11-3, 1-0)
Jan. 4, 2012 – 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Fifth Third Arena (13,176)
BIG EAST Network (Regional)
WMYS (South Bend area)
Tom Gelehrter (play-by-play) Brooke Weisbrod (analyst)
Affiliates listed below
Broadcast on UND.com
Jack Nolan (play-by-play)
Jordan Cornette (analyst)
IRISH RETURN TO ACTION ON WEDNESDAY AT CINCINNATI
- Notre Dame (9-5, 1-0) will return to the court following a seven-day layoff to face Cincinnati (11-3, 1-0) on Wednesday in Cincinnati, Ohio. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (ET) inside Fifth Third Arena.
- The game will be broadcast regionally on the BIG EAST Network with Tom Gelehrter (play-by-play) and Brooke Weisbrod (analyst) calling the action. The contest can be seen on WMYS in the South Bend area.
- The Fighting Irish Digital Media radio crew of Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Jordan Cornette (analyst) will call the action on radio (affiliate listings on Pg. 5) and their broadcast can also be heard on UND.com.
- This will be the 12th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Cincinnati. The Irish lead the series, 8-3. Notre Dame has won the last three encounters with the Bearcats, including two wins last season. The Fighting Irish captured a 66-58 home win over Cincinnati during the regular season (Jan. 19, 2011) and then topped the Bearcats, 89-51, during the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship (March 10, 2011).
- Notre Dame is 5-2 against Cincinnati since the Bearcats joined the BIG EAST Conference in 2005.
- The Irish are 1-2 all-time at Cincinnati. Notre Dame has dropped its last two games in the Queen City. The lone Fighting Irish win at Cincinnati was a 76-64 decision on Feb. 18, 2007.
- Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey is 6-2 all-time against Cincinnati.
- The Fighting Irish opened BIG EAST play last Tuesday with a 72-59 home victory over then #22 Pittsburgh. Notre Dame’s seven-day layoff is its longest-scheduled break this season.
BIG EAST TRENDS
- Notre Dame is 19-4 over its last 23 BIG EAST regular-season contests. The Irish stood 6-8 through 14 regular-season games during the 2009-10 campaign and then won four straight to finish 10-8. Last season, Notre Dame posted a 14-4 regular-season mark in the league.
- Notre Dame closed out the 2010-11 regular season by winning its final four BIG EAST games. Coupled with the win against Pittsburgh in this season’s BIG EAST opener, the Irish own a five-game regular-season conference win streak.
- The Irish are 12-1 over their last 13 BIG EAST regular-season games.
ATKINS ADDED AS CAPTAIN
- Sophomore point guard Eric Atkins recently was named Notre Dame’s third captain for the 2011-12 season. Seniors Tim Abromaitis, who is out for the remainder of the campaign due to a torn ACL, and Scott Martin are the other Fighting Irish captains.
- Notre Dame’s 28-game home win streak currently is the fourth-longest streak in the country. It is the second-longest win streak inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center in Irish history. The Fighting Irish won 45 straight at the Joyce Center from March 4, 2006-Jan. 10, 2009.
IRISH ENJOY HOME COOKING IN CONFERENCE PLAY
- Notre Dame has gone 40-5 (.889) at home in BIG EAST play over the last six seasons. That is the best home winning percentage for any BIG EAST school in league play over that time period.
- Notre Dame has won 12 straight BIG EAST games inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. The Irish went undefeated at home in conference play last season. Notre Dame’s last loss at home was a 69-68 setback to St. John’s on Feb. 14, 2010.
IRISH IN BIG EAST OPENERS
- Notre Dame’s 72-59 win over Pittsburgh marked its sixth straight victory in a BIG EAST opener. The Fighting Irish are 11-6 all-time in BIG EAST openers, including an 8-4 mark under head coach Mike Brey.
- Notre Dame’s last 2-0 start in BIG EAST play occurred during the 2007-08 season.
SHUFFLING THE LINEUP
- Notre Dame has used eight different starting lineups this season (out of 14 games played). No Notre Dame player has started every game this season (game-by-game starting lineups listed on page 7). Jerian Grant and Scott Martin both have a team-high 13 starts this season.
- Six different Irish players – Joey Brooks (Jr./G), Jack Cooley (Jr./F), Tom Knight (Jr./F), Jerian Grant (So./G), Alex Dragicevich (So./G) and Pat Connaughton (Fr./G-F) – have made their first career start this season.
- The quintet of Eric Atkins, Jack Cooley, Alex Dragicevich, Jerian Grant and Scott Martin has started the last three games.
PROTECTING THE ROCK
- Notre Dame ranks second nationally – and first in the BIG EAST – in fewest turnovers committed per game (9.7). The Fighting Irish boast the nation’s sixth-best assist-to-turnover ratio (1.57). That mark also ranks first in the BIG EAST.
- Notre Dame has committed fewer than 10 turnovers in a game seven times this season. The Irish had a season-low four turnovers in the victory over Sacred Heart (Dec. 19). The Irish also had a season-high 25 assists (on 35 made baskets) versus the Pioneers.
HOT SHOOTING HALF
- Notre Dame shot 72.0% (18-25) from the field in the second half of the Pittsburgh contest. That was Notre Dame’s best shooting percentage all-time in the second half of a BIG EAST game. The previous best was 71.4% against Georgetown on Feb. 27, 2010.
- With his career-high 22 points against Pittsburgh, sophomore guard Alex Dragicevich became the seventh Notre Dame player to score 20 or more points in a game this season. The other Irish players to net at least 20 points in a game this season are Tim Abromaitis, Eric Atkins, Pat Connaughton, Jack Cooley, Jerian Grant and Scott Martin.
- Atkins, Cooley and Grant all have scored 20-plus points a team-best two times this season.
COOLEY COMING TO PLAY
- Since missing the Maryland game on Dec. 4 due to illness, junior forward Jack Cooley has averaged 16.6 ppg., 10.0 rpg. and 2.4 bpg. in the past five contests. He is shooting 73.2% (30-41) from the field and 82.1% (23-28) from the free throw line during that stretch.
- Cooley grabbed 14 rebounds in the win over Pittsburgh (Dec. 27). That was his team-best fourth double-digit rebounding effort of the season.
- He has a team-high two double-doubles this season (Delaware State & Maine).
- Against Delaware State, Cooley hauled down a career-high 17 rebounds, which included 10 offensive boards. He became the first Irish player to haul down that many rebounds in a game since Luke Harangody had 17 against Louisville on Feb. 12, 2009.
- Cooley leads the Irish with a 8.2 rpg. average this season.
SUCCESS AT THE STRIPE
- The Irish have made more free throws (241) than their opponents have attempted (211). Notre Dame is 241-337 (.715) from the charity stripe this season.
- Notre Dame made a season-high 27 free throws (on 34 attempts) in the win over Sacred Heart on Dec. 19.
ATKINS ON THE ATTACK
- Sophomore point guard Eric Atkins has a team-best 14.0 ppg. average this season. Atkins has scored in double-figures in nine of the 12 games he has played in this season. He missed two games (Sam Houston State & Delaware State) due to illness. He has led Notre Dame in scoring a team-high five times this season.
- Atkins has dished out a career-high nine assists twice this season (Sacred Heart, Dec. 19 & Bryant, Nov. 27).
- Atkins deposited a career-high 27 points versus Mississippi Valley State in the season opener.
- Atkins is 49-62 (.790) from the free throw line and 17-35 (.486) from three-point range this season.
GRANT HAS ALL-AROUND GAME
- Sophomore guard Jerian Grant, who is in his first season playing with the Irish after sitting out all of last season, has team-high totals in points (180), assists (66), steals (17) and minutes played (461). His 21 made three-pointers rank second among all Irish players.
- Grant ranks seventh nationally – and first in the BIG EAST – with a 3.47 assist-to-turnover ratio.
- Grant has scored in double-figures a team-best 11 times this season. He scored a career-high 20 points against both Georgia (Nov. 22) and Maryland (Dec. 4).
- He dished out a career-high nine assists versus Pittsburgh in the BIG EAST opener.
- Grant posted his first career double-double by notching 12 points and a career-high 11 rebounds against Bryant (Nov. 27).
- Sophomores Jerian Grant, Eric Atkins and Alex Dragicevich along with freshman Pat Connaughton have accounted for 56.9% of Notre Dame’s scoring this season. They have tallied 579 of the team’s 1,017 points.
DRAGICEVICH DRAINING FROM DEEP
- Sophomore guard Alex Dragicevich has a team-best 22 made three-pointers this season. Dragicevich is 11-22 (.500) from beyond the arc in the last four games. Dragicevich is averaging 14.4 ppg. in the last five games.
- Dragicevich netted a career-high 22 points the last time out in the win over Pittsburgh. He was 8-13 from the field and 4-7 from three-point range. He was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for his performance against the Panthers.
HITTING THE CENTURY MARK
- Notre Dame scored a season-high 106 points in the 106-65 win over Sacred Heart (Dec. 19). It marked the first time the Irish scored 100-plus points since a 102-62 win over Chicago State on Nov. 17, 2010. It was the largest point total for the Irish since a 108-62 win over Northern Illinois on Dec. 8, 2007. It signified the 14th time during the Mike Brey era that the Irish have scored 100 or more points.
- The 41-point margin of victory against Sacred Heart was Notre Dame’s largest since a 46-point win (108-62) over Northern Illinois on Dec. 8, 2007.
- Notre Dame shot a season-best 61.4% (35-57) from the field against Sacred Heart. It marked the first time the Irish shot above 60% from the field since they connected on 60.7% (37-61) of their shots in a 101-69 win over Bucknell on Dec. 22, 2009. The 35 made field goals versus Sacred Heart also were a season-high total for Notre Dame.
GET TO 60
- Notre Dame is 8-1 this season when scoring 60 or more points, while the Irish are 1-4 when scoring less than 60 points. The Fighting Irish are averaging 80.0 ppg. in their nine wins, while they are averaging 59.4 ppg. in the five losses.
CRASHING THE BOARDS
- The Fighting Irish have a +6.0 rebound margin in their nine wins, while they have been out-rebounded by an 11.6 margin in their five setbacks.
- Junior forward Tom Knight scored a career-high nine points against Sacred Heart on Dec. 19. He has established a career-high point total in three of the last five games. Knight matched a then career-high with seven points versus Maine (Dec. 8) before netting eight points in the next contest against Dartmouth (Dec. 10).
- Freshman Pat Connaughton has scored in double-figures four times this season.
- Connaughton’s 24 points against Sam Houston State (Nov. 16) were the most for a Notre Dame freshman since Torin Francis had 25 against Arizona in the Sweet 16 of the 2003 NCAA Tournament (March 27, 2003).
- Connaughton’s six made three-pointers (on 10 attempts) against Sam Houston State were the most for an Irish freshman since Chris Thomas had six against Connecticut in the semifinals of the 2002 BIG EAST Tournament (March 8, 2002).
- Connaughton’s 24 points off the bench in the Sam Houston State game were the most bench points by an Irish player since Chris Quinn netted 25 against Quinnipiac during the 2003-04 campaign (Dec. 23, 2003).
BEYOND THE ARC
- Notre Dame has hit 10 or more three-pointers in a game three times this season. The Irish deposited 11 treys against Bryant (Nov. 27) and Delaware State (Nov. 18) and they hit 10 versus Sam Houston State (Nov. 16). The Fighting Irish made 10 or more three-pointers in a game seven times last season.
422 AND COUNTING
- Notre Dame has made at least one three-pointer in 422 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.
- Eight teams on Notre Dame’s 2011-12 schedule are ranked in the latest Associated Press top-25 poll (Jan. 2), including four in the top 10. Five of the squads – #1 Syracuse, #8 Connecticut, #9 Georgetown, #11 Louisville and #20 Marquette – are BIG EAST foes, while the Fighting Irish faced #7 Missouri, #12 Indiana and #25 Gonzaga in non-conference action. The Irish will meet eighth-ranked UConn twice during the regular season.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION
- 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.