Dec. 15, 2011
#18/20 Indiana (9-0) vs. Notre Dame (7-4)
Dec. 17, 2011 – 4:30 p.m. (ET)
Close The Gap Crossroads Classic
Conseco Fieldhouse (18,165)
Dan Shulman (play-by-play)
Dick Vitale (analyst)
Radio: Broadcast on UND.com
Jack Nolan (play-by-play)
Sean Kearney (analyst)
IRISH TO FACE HOOSIERS IN CLOSE THE GAP CROSSROADS CLASSIC
- Notre Dame (7-4) will battle instate rival Indiana (9-0) on Saturday in Indianapolis, Ind., in the inaugural Close the Gap Crossroads Classic. Tip-off is slated for 4:30 p.m. (ET) inside Conseco Fieldhouse. The game between the Irish and Hoosiers is part of a doubleheader. Purdue and Butler meet in the first game at 2:00 p.m.
- The Notre Dame-Indiana contest will be aired on ESPN2/ESPN3 with Dan Shulman (play-by-play) and Dick Vitale (analyst) calling the action.
- The Fighting Irish Digital Media radio crew of Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Sean Kearney (analyst) will call the action on radio (affiliate listings on Pg. 5) and their broadcast can also be heard on UND.com.
- Saturday will be the 69th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Indiana and the first since the Irish topped the Hoosiers, 88-50, during the first round of the 2008 EA Sports Maui Invitational. Indiana leads the series 47-21, but the Fighting Irish have won the past two encounters. Head coach Mike Brey is 2-3 against the Hoosiers during his Notre Dame tenure.
- This will be the ninth meeting between the Fighting Irish and Hoosiers in Indianapolis. The last time they squared off in the Circle City was during the 1959-60 season inside Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse. Notre Dame is 2-6 against Indiana in Indianapolis.
- Indiana is the first member of the Big Ten Conference Notre Dame has faced since defeating Wisconsin, 58-51, during the title game of the 2010 Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla. The Fighting Irish are 231-206-1 all-time against teams currently in the Big Ten.
- The Fighting Irish are 61-14 (.813) in December under head coach Mike Brey.
FIGHTING IRISH IN INDY
- Under head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame is 4-3 in Indianapolis, including a 2-2 mark in Conseco Fieldhouse.
- Saturday will be Notre Dame’s first game in Indianapolis since a 67-62 setback to Ohio State on Dec. 6, 2008, inside Lucas Oil Stadium. Notre Dame’s last contest inside Conseco Fieldhouse was a 92-60 win over Lafayette on Nov. 14, 2006. Brey’s third victory at Notre Dame was a 69-51 win over Cincinnati on Nov. 25, 2000, inside Conseco Fieldhouse.
- The Fighting Irish advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 2003 NCAA Tournament under Brey by notching wins over Wisconsin-Milwaukee (70-69) and Illinois (68-60) inside the RCA Dome.
- Notre Dame’s 65-47 win over Dartmouth on Saturday upped its home win streak to 26 games. That is the second longest Irish win streak inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center in program history. The Fighting Irish won 45 straight at the Joyce Center from March 4, 2006-Jan. 10, 2009.
- Six Notre Dame players – Tim Abromaitis, Eric Atkins, Pat Connaughton, Jack Cooley, Jerian Grant and Scott Martin – have scored 20 or more points in a game this season.
- Notre Dame is the only NCAA Division I school to have at least six 20-point scorers this season. Six schools have five 20-point scorers (East Tennessee State, Indiana, Lipscomb, UNC Asheville, North Dakota, Oakland).
- Atkins, Cooley and Grant all have scored 20-plus points a team-best two times this season.
SHUFFLING THE LINEUP
- Notre Dame has used seven different starting lineups in its first 11 games of the season. No Notre Dame player has started every game this season (game-by-game starting lineups listed on page 7).
- The quintet of Scott Martin (Sr./G), Joey Brooks (Jr./G), Jack Cooley (Jr./F), Eric Atkins (So./G) and Jerian Grant (So./G) has started three games, which makes it the most-used starting lineup for the Irish this season. The Fighting Irish are 2-1 with that starting lineup.
- 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.
CAREER-HIGH FOR COOLEY
- Since missing the Maryland game on Dec. 4 due to illness, junior forward Jack Cooley has posted a career-high 22 points in each of the last two games (Maine and Dartmouth). Those performances landed him a spot on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll.
- Cooley is the first Notre Dame player to score 20-plus points in consecutive games since Ben Hansbrough netted 20-plus points in five straight last season (Feb. 23-March 10).
- In addition to the 22 points versus Maine, Cooley hauled down 14 rebounds. It was his team-high second double-double of the season.
- Cooley notched his first career double-double by registering 11 points and 17 rebounds against Delaware State (Nov. 18). The 17 rebounds, which included 10 offensive boards, were a career-high total for Cooley. He became the first Irish player to haul down that many rebounds in a game since Luke Harangody had 17 against Louisville during the 2008-09 season (Feb. 12, 2009).
- Cooley leads the Irish with a 7.9 rpg. average this season.
- The Fighting Irish limited Dartmouth to 30.0% (15-50) shooting in Saturday’s win. That is the lowest shooting percentage of the season for an Irish opponent.
- Notre Dame held Dartmouth to 26.1% (6-23) shooting in the first half. That is the lowest percentage for a Notre Dame opponent in any half this season. It marked the third time this season the Irish have held an opponent to under 30% shooting in a half. Notre Dame limited Detroit to 26.3% (10-38) shooting in the second half (Nov. 14) and Sam Houston State to 29.2% (7-24) in the first half (Nov. 16).
SUCCESS AT THE STRIPE
- Notre Dame was 14-for-15 (.933) from the free throw line against Dartmouth on Saturday. That was a season-best mark for the Fighting Irish.
- The Irish have made more free throws (181) than their opponents have attempted (160). Notre Dame is 181-253 (.715) from the charity stripe, while Irish opponents are 110-160 (.688).
HANDLING THE ROCK
- The Fighting Irish matched a season-low total with seven turnovers on Saturday against Dartmouth. The Irish also had seven turnovers against Maryland (Dec. 4).
- The Irish have registered 20 or more assists in a game three times this season. Their season-high total was 24 (on 31 made baskets) against Bryant on Nov. 27. Notre Dame ranks 16th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.41).
- Notre Dame blocked a season-high 11 shots against Dartmouth. Junior forwards Jack Cooley and Tom Knight both established career-high block totals with four and three, respectively.
ATKINS ON THE ATTACK
- Sophomore point guard Eric Atkins is averaging a team-best 13.9 points-per-game this season. Atkins has scored in double-figures in six of the nine games he has played this season. He missed two games (Sam Houston State & Delaware State) due to illness.
- Atkins deposited a career-high 27 points versus Mississippi Valley State in the season opener. He has led the Irish in scoring four times this season.
- Versus Maine (Dec. 8), he hit a career-high five three-pointers (on seven attempts) en route to 26 points.
- Atkins is 35-43 (.814) from the charity stripe and he is 16-31 (.516) from three-point range. Both of those are team-best figures this season.
- Atkins dished out a career-high nine assists against Bryant (Nov. 27).
- Sophomores Jerian Grant, Eric Atkins and Alex Dragicevich along with freshman Pat Connaughton have accounted for 56% of Notre Dame’s scoring this season. They have tallied 440 of the team’s 781 points.
- Junior forward Tom Knight scored a career-high eight points on Saturday against Dartmouth. His previous high was seven, which he tallied the previous game versus Maine and on two other occasions.
- Knight tied a career-high mark with five rebounds against Dartmouth. He also blocked a career-best three shots versus the Big Green.
- Knight has started each of the past three games. Those were his first three career starts.
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 (136), assists (46), steals (14) and minutes played (361). His 14 made three-pointers rank second among all Irish players.
- Grant is shooting 51.2% (43-84) from the field, which includes a 38.9% (14-36) mark from three-point range. Grant also boasts a 2.71 assist-to-turnover ratio.
- Grant scored a season-best 20 points against both Georgia (Nov. 22) and Maryland (Dec. 4).
- He has scored in double-figures a team-best eight times this season.
- Grant posted his first career double-double by notching 12 points and a career-high 11 rebounds against Bryant on Nov. 27.
- Notre Dame’s 42 bench points against Maine (Dec. 8) were the most points from the Irish subs since they deposited 48 in the 2010-11 season opener against Georgia Southern, a 98-61 victory on Nov. 12, 2010. Junior forward Jack Cooley spearheaded the bench attack against Maine with a career-high 22 points, while sophomore guard Alex Dragicevich added 14.
- The Fighting Irish reserves scored 33 points against Sam Houston State on Nov. 16. Freshman Pat Connaughton led the way that night with 24 off the bench.
- 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).
DRAINING FROM DEEP
- 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.
419 AND COUNTING
- Notre Dame has made at least one three-pointer in 419 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. Six of the squads – #1 Syracuse, #4 Louisville, #9 Connecticut, #11 Marquette, #15 Pittsburgh and #16 Georgetown – are BIG EAST foes, while the Fighting Irish faced #10 Missouri and will face #18 Indiana in non-conference action. The Irish will meet ninth-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.