March 10, 2014
ACC Championship First Round
(#13 seed) Notre Dame (15-16, 6-12 ACC)
(#12 seed) Wake Forest (16-15, 6-12 ACC)
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
1 p.m. (ET)
Greensboro Coliseum (23,500)
Sean McDonough (play-by-play)
Jay Bilas (analyst)
Tim Brant (play-by-play)
Mike Gminski (analyst)
Broadcast on WatchND.tv (free)
NOTRE DAME SET FOR PROGRAM’S FIRST ACC TOURNAMENT
- Notre Dame (15-16, 6-12) enters its first-ever Atlantic Coast Conference Championship as the No. 13 seed and will play No. 12 seed Wake Forest (16-15, 6-12) at 1 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday in the first round at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.
- The game will be televised on ESPN2/ESPNU with Sean McDonough (play-by-play) and Jay Bilas (analyst) handling the broadcast duties, while Tim Brant (play-by-play) and Mike Gminski (analyst) will be calling the action for the ACC Network. The game can also be seen on ESPN3 and WatchESPN.
- A free audio broadcast will be available on WatchND.tv. Jack Nolan will be on the call. The broadcast can also be heard on The Notre Basketball Radio Network headed by WSBT 96.1 FM and 960 AM in South Bend. A complete affiliate list is available on page 5 of this notes packet. The broadcast also is available on Sirius/XM channel 85.
- Notre Dame wrapped up the regular season March 3 with a 63-61 setback at North Carolina.
GOING BACK TO GREENSBORO
- While this will be Notre Dame’s inaugural appearance in the ACC Tournament, three current members of the Irish team — Eric Atkins, Tom Knight and Pat Connaughton — are no strangers to the Greensboro Coliseum. Notre Dame last played in Greensboro as the No. 7 seed in the 2012 NCAA Championship South Regional against No. 10 seed Xavier. The Irish dropped a 67-63 decision to the Musketeers on March 16, 2012.
- Prior to that game, Notre Dame had not played in Greensboro since the 1965-66 season when it suffered a 95-73 setback to Duke on Dec. 31, 1965.
NOTRE DAME IN POSTSEASON CONFERENCE PLAY
- As a member of the BIG EAST Conference from 1995-2013, Notre Dame was 11-18 in its 18 appearances in the BIG EAST Championship. Under head coach Mike Brey, the Irish were 10-13 in BIG EAST tournament play.
- Notre Dame’s top BIG EAST Championship finishes were semifinal appearances in 2002, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 (all under Brey).
- Notre Dame was the only team to advance to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship each of the last four seasons (2010-13). The Irish won at least one tournament game in each of its last five seasons (a program best streak).
IRISH AND DEMON DEACONS SET FOR FIRST-ROUND MATCHUP
- Wednesday’s first-round matchup with Wake Forest will mark the second meeting of the season between the two teams. The Demon Deacons captured a 65-58 victory over the Irish on Jan. 25 in Winston-Salem.
- This will be just the third meeting ever between the two schools. The first encounter was in the title game of the 2000 postseason NIT at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Irish fell to Wake Forest, 71-61, in that contest.
BREY GETS 300TH WIN AT NOTRE DAME, ONE SHY OF 400TH CAREER VICTORY
- Notre Dame’s victory over Georgia Tech on Feb. 26 was head coach Mike Brey’s 300th win at Notre Dame. Brey has compiled a 300-158 (.655) record in his 14 seasons in South Bend. He became the 17th active head coach to have 300 or more Division I victories at their current institution (see box on Pg.3).
- Only two other Notre Dame head coaches have reached the 300-win milestone. Digger Phelps led the Fighting Irish to a 393-197 record from 1971-91. George Keogan notched a 327-97 mark from 1923-43.
- Brey is just one victory shy of recording his 400th career win as a college head coach. He has registered a 399-210 (.655) record in 19 seasons at Delaware and Notre Dame. Brey would become the 47th active head coach with 400 career Division I wins.
- The Fighting Irish are 6-7 this season in games decided by five points or fewer. In ACC play, Notre Dame is 5-4 in games decided by five points or fewer.
- Notre Dame’s 12 ACC losses have been by a combined 95 points (7.9 ppg.).
- Notre Dame’s 16 defeats this season have been by a total of just 120 points (7.5 ppg.).
- Notre Dame’s 16 losses this season are the most ever for an Irish team under head coach Mike Brey. Previous to this season, the most losses under Brey had been 15 during the 2008-09 campaign when that squad finished with a 22-15 mark.
- The six wins and 12 losses in ACC play are the fewest wins and most conference losses for a Notre Dame squad under Brey. In 13 seasons coaching in the BIG EAST, Brey’s Irish teams only had two losing seasons — 2005-06 (6-10) and 2008-09 (8-10).
- Notre Dame’s lowest finish ever in the regular-season league standings was tied for 11th in 2005-06.
- The 16 overall losses are the most since the 1998-99 campaign (14-16).
IRISH SHOOT WELL IN LOSS TO PITT
- Notre Dame shot 54.8% (23-42) from the field in its 85-81 overtime loss to Pitt on March 1. That was the highest percentage for the Irish in an ACC game. The Fighting Irish shot 73.7% (14-19) from the floor in the first half.
- The Irish tied season-high marks for made free throws (23 on 27 attempts) and free throw percentage (.852) against the Panthers. Both figures were highs for Notre Dame in an ACC contest.
- The Fighting Irish were 12-of-23 from three-point range. It was the fourth time this season (second in ACC play) that Notre Dame made 10 or more three-pointers in a game. The 52.2% from three-point range was a team-best for an ACC game.
TAKING CARE OF THE BASKETBALL
- In ACC play, Eric Atkins (2.53) and Pat Connaughton (2.46) rank sixth and seventh, respectively, in assist-to-turnover ratio.
- Atkins recently had a three-game stretch (Miami, Virginia, Georgia Tech) without committing a turnover.
- Notre Dame ranks 19th nationally (third in the ACC) with a 1.44 assist-to-turnover ratio.
- The Irish have the third-best assists-per-game average (15.1) in the ACC (all games).
- The Irish have dished off 20 or more assists in five contests this season and they have committed fewer than 10 turnovers in 15 games (nine times in ACC play).
PAT AN ALL-AROUND PERFORMER
- In ACC play, junior swingman Pat Connaughton ranks seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.46), 10th in rebounding (7.1) and 14th in scoring (13.9).
- Connaughton’s 41 three-pointers in ACC games rank fifth in the league. His 73 treys overall this season are fourth among ACC players.
- Connaughton has pulled down 10 or more rebounds in seven games this season (four ACC contests) and has five double-doubles.
- vHe netted a season-high 22 points at Miami on Feb. 19. Connaughton was 6-of-7 from three-point range against the Hurricanes. It was his fourth game this season (second in ACC play) with 20-plus points.
- On March 1 against Pittsburgh, 17 of his 19 total points came in the first half. He was 4-of-6 from three-point range in the contest.
- In the loss to North Carolina in the regular-season finale, he had 17 points and 13 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.
- Connaughton is averaging career-bests of 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds this season. Last season, he averaged 8.9 points and 4.7 rebounds.
- Junior Pat Connaughton has never missed a game during his Fighting Irish career. He has played in all 100 contests, including 84 starts. Connaughton has started 81 consecutive games.
- Senior point guard Eric Atkins has played in 96 straight games (all starts). He has only missed two contests during his Notre Dame career and has competed in 132 games (104 starts). Atkins is third on Notre Dame’s career games played list and is ninth in games started.
- Atkins has played every minute of a contest nine times this season (seven times in ACC play). He was on the court for all 50 minutes of the double-overtime victory over Clemson on Feb. 11 and he played all 45 minutes versus Pittsburgh on March 1.
- Connaughton has never left the court in eight games this season (six in ACC play). Connaughton played 49 minutes in the double-overtime win against Clemson.
- Atkins ranks fourth nationally and first in the ACC in minutes played per game this season (38:05). Connaughton is 16th nationally and third in the league (37:07).
- In ACC contests, Atkins (39.22) and Connaughton (39.00) rank second and third, respectively, in minutes played per game.
DRAINING FROM DEEP
- Notre Dame’s 124 three-pointers in ACC games are the fourth-most in the league. Pat Connaughton’s 41 treys in ACC contests are the fifth-most in the conference.
- The Fighting Irish were 12-of-23 (.522) from three-point range versus Pittsburgh on March 1. It was the fourth time this season (second in ACC play) the Irish made 10 or more treys in a game.
- Notre Dame made a season-high 13 three-pointers (on 28 attempts) at Miami on Feb. 19.
- Pat Connaughton was 6-of-7 from beyond the arc against the Hurricanes. The six treys tied the most for an Irish player this season (Eric Atkins 6 vs. Canisius).
- Atkins (177) and Connaughton (172) rank eighth and ninth, respectively, in Notre Dame history in three-point field goals made.
- Connaughton has a team-high 73 three-pointers this season, while Atkins is second with 60.
ATKINS AMONG ACC LEADERS
- Eric Atkins is averaging a team-best 14.4 ppg. in ACC play, which ranks 13th in the league. Atkins has scored in double-figures in 14 of 18 ACC contests and topped the 20-plus point mark in four ACC games.
- His 1,408 career points are the fourth-most among active ACC players, while his 582 career assists are the most for any current ACC player.
- He recorded his first double-double of the season (fifth of his career) by tallying 19 points and 11 assists in the Jan. 4 win over Duke. The 11 assists are tied for the most for an ACC player in a league game this season.
- Atkins was named ACC Player of the Week in consecutive weeks (Dec. 30 and Jan. 6).
- He scored a career-high 30 points and played all 45 minutes in the overtime victory over Canisius on Dec. 29. Atkins deposited a career-high six three pointers (on eight attempts).
ATKINS ASSISTING THE IRISH
- Senior point guard Eric Atkins’ 2.36 career assist-to-turnover ratio is fourth among all active Division I players.
- His 582 career assists ranks 13th nationally among active players. This season, Atkins has 149 assists and 59 turnovers for a 2.53 assist-to-turnover ratio, which is seventh-best in the ACC.
- He is averaging 5.1 assists per game in ACC play, which ranks second in the league.
- Atkins has dished off 100-plus assists in each of his four seasons. He is one of four players in Notre Dame history to have 100-plus assists in four consecutive seasons. The other three players are Chris Thomas (2001-05), Tory Jackson (2006-10) and David Rivers (1984-88).
VASTURIA VERY IMPRESSIVE AGAINST PITT
- Freshman guard Steve Vasturia scored a career-high 15 points in the overtime loss to Pitt. He netted 12 of Notre Dame’s 16 points in overtime.
- He also pulled down a career-high (and team-high) six rebounds, made a career-high six free throws (on six attempts), tied a career-high total of three three-pointers and had a career-best three steals. All six free throw attempts came in overtime.
- Vasturia has scored in double figures in four contests (all in ACC play).
SHERMAN COMPILING A SOLID SEASON
- Senior center Garrick Sherman is averaging career-bests in points (13.6) and rebounds (7.3) this season.
- Against Georgia Tech on Feb. 26, Sherman tallied a game-high 21 points. Sherman has reached the 20-point mark five times this season, including four times in ACC play.
- In ACC play, he ranks second in shooting percentage (.492), 10th in rebounding (7.1 rpg) and 20th in scoring (12.9 ppg).
- He scored 20 or more points in consecutive games for the first time of his career when he tallied 21 and 20 against Florida State (Jan. 21) and Wake Forest (Jan. 25), respectively.
- He netted a career-high 29 points at Iowa (Dec. 3).
- Sherman has a team-high 20 blocked shots.
- He did not play against North Carolina in the regular-season finale after reinjuring the chipped fracture in his right finger.
SHERMAN PUTTING ON DOUBLE-DOUBLE DISPLAY
- Garrick Sherman’s six double-doubles this season are tied for the third-most among ACC players. His three double-doubles in ACC play are tied for sixth in the conference.
- One of his strongest showings of the year came against North Carolina State (Jan. 7) as he finished with 21 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. The 18 boards are tied for the most by an ACC player in a league game this season.
SHUFFLING THE STARTERS
- Notre Dame has used 121 different starting lineups this season.
- Eric Atkins and Pat Connaughton have started all 31 games this season, while Garrick Sherman has started all 30 of the contests he has played. Demetrius Jackson (15), Zach Auguste (12), Steve Vasturia (11), Tom Knight (7), Austin Burgett (5) and V.J. Beachem (1) also have been in the starting lineup.
- Prior to the overtime loss to Pittsburgh on March 1, the Fighting Irish had won six straight games decided in overtime. Notre Dame is 3-1 this season in overtime games. All four contests have taken place at Purcell Pavilion.
- The Fighting Irish are 9-2 in their last 11 overtime affairs.
- Notre Dame is 16-10 in overtime contests under head coach Mike Brey.
TOUGH GOING AT PURCELL THIS YEAR
- Heading into this season, Notre Dame had lost only nine times at Purcell Pavilion since the beginning of the 2006-07 campaign and had not suffered more than three losses at home in a single season.
- The Irish are 13-6 at Purcell Pavilion this season. The six losses are the most since the Irish suffered seven losses during the 2003-04 season.
BURGETT SURGERY SUCCESSFUL
- Sophomore forward Austin Burgett on Jan. 29 underwent outpatient cardiac procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat and returned to the court on against North Carolina on Feb. 8 for the first time since the Florida State game on Jan. 21. He experienced an abnormally fast heartbeat in the second half of Notre Dame’s loss against the Seminoles.
- He played a career-high 27 minutes at Virginia and started against Georgia Tech and North Carolina.
- In the loss to Pitt, he played 19 minutes and scored eight points, which were the most since his return.
FRESHMEN IN THE STARTING FIVE
- Notre Dame had two freshmen — Demetrius Jackson and Steve Vasturia — in the starting lineup at Maryland on Jan. 15.
- Prior to that contest, the last time the Irish had two freshmen in the starting lineup was during the 2006-07 campaign when rookies Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson both earned multiple starts throughout the season.
- V.J. Beachem earned his first career start against Clemson (Feb. 11). He became the third different Irish freshman to start a game this season. Prior to this season, the last time Notre Dame had three true freshmen earn at least one start in a season was during the 1999-2000 campaign (Matt Carroll-30, Jere Macura-2 and Ivan Kartelo-1).
FIGHTING IRISH FACT
- Since the beginning of the 2010-11 season, Notre Dame is 37-3 when shooting 50% or above from the field, 67-9 when outrebounding its opponent and 69-7 when leading at halftime.
- Senior Eric Atkins has been named one of the final 23 candidates for the 2014 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award. The original watch list of 80 candidates was narrowed down to the list of 23.
- The annual honor, announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and is named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic point guard Bob Cousy, recognizes the top point guards in men’s basketball. A committee of well-respected media members and influential people within collegiate basketball from around the country comprise the committee. The candidates will be narrowed down to a final five in early March.
IRISH OPEN ACC ERA WITH WIN OVER DUKE
- January 4 was a historic day for Notre Dame as it opened its Atlantic Coast Conference era with a 79-77 victory over No. 7 Duke. The win snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Blue Devils that began in 1988. It was Notre Dame’s first victory over Duke since a 70-66 overtime win on Feb. 15, 1987, at the Joyce Center.
- Duke grabbed a 10-point lead (60-50) with 11:35 left in the second half, but Notre Dame responded with a 10-0 run to tie the game with 8:01 remaining. In fact, the Irish extended it to a 20-4 run to take their largest lead (70-64) of the game with 4:18 left to play.
- With Notre Dame’s move to the Atlantic Coast Conference, senior center Garrick Sherman now is playing in the third different conference during his collegiate career. Sherman played his first two seasons (2009-11) in the Big Ten Conference while at Michigan State and then transferred to Notre Dame following the 2010-11 campaign. After sitting out the 2011-12 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Sherman played last year in Notre Dame’s final season in the BIG EAST Conference.
BREY NO STRANGER TO THE ACC
- Perhaps no person is better prepared to navigate the Irish basketball program into its new basketball conference home than head coach Mike Brey. A Rockville, Md., native, he grew up a Maryland Terrapin basketball fan and his first coaching job in the collegiate ranks was as an assistant coach at Duke for eight seasons.
- Beginning in 1987-88, he helped Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski take his teams to six NCAA Final Fours and four national title games while winning back-to-back national titles in 1991 and 1992. The Blue Devils posted a sterling 216-65 record for a 76.8 winning percentage during his tenure at the school. Brey recruited and worked daily with four of the greatest players in that program’s history — Danny Ferry, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley and Grant Hill.
KNIGHT AND SHERMAN JOIN ATKINS AND CONNAUGHTON AS IRISH CAPTAINS
- Tom Knight (GS/F) and Garrick Sherman (Sr./C) will serve as captains for the remainder of the 2013-14 campaign alongside teammates Eric Atkins (Sr./G) and Pat Connaughton (Jr./G-F). The announcement was made Dec. 27 by Irish head coach Mike Brey.
- The last time Notre Dame added a captain at midseason was two years ago (during the 2011-12 campaign) when Atkins, then a sophomore, served as a tri-captain with Tim Abromaitis and Scott Martin.
- Atkins is the first three-time captain in the 109-history of the program, while Connaughton, Sherman and Knight are first-time captains.
NOTRE DAME STUDENT-ATHLETES AGAIN RANK #1 IN NCAA GRS
- For the eighth time in nine years, the University of Notre Dame ranks number one on a percentage basis in terms of number of Graduation Success Rate (GSR) 100 scores, among all NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision schools.
- Twenty of 22 athletics programs at Notre Dame compiled graduation rates of 100 percent, including the men’s basketball team, according to the ninth year of GSR measurements developed by the NCAA. It’s the first time Notre Dame’s programs have combined for 20 perfect scores-after four previous years with 19.
- None of the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division I-A) programs in the country had a higher percentage of 100 GSR scores than did Notre Dame with its .909 number (20 of 22).
- In addition, Notre Dame ranked second among all FBS institutions with nine perfect scores among 22 sports (.409) in the federal graduation rate analysis.
- Notre Dame has earned appearances in the postseason in each of the last 14 seasons, which marks the longest stretch in school history. The Irish have been to the NCAA Championship on nine 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 nine times, including a current stretch of four straight trips, and NIT four times.
- Junior guard/forward Pat Connaughton also is a standout pitcher on the Fighting Irish baseball team. He has appeared in 22 games, including 20 starts, and boasts an 8-6 career record with a 2.43 earned-run average (ERA). He has logged 92.2 innings and has notched 69 strikeouts. As a sophomore, Connaughton went 4-2 and posted a 1.71 ERA.
- Connaughton recently was named the No. 46 prospect among 2014 draft-eligible players by Perfect Game in the publication’s post-fall college top-50 list. The publication ranked Connaughton as the No. 22 right-handed pitcher.
- Connaughton was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 50th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.
DIGGER PHELPS BECOMES SIXTH INDUCTEE INTO RING OF HONOR
- Former Irish head coach Digger Phelps became the sixth inductee into Notre Dame’s Ring of Honor during halftime of the Notre Dame-Virginia Tech game on Jan. 19.
- More than two dozen of Phelps’ former players from his 20-season era (1971-91) returned to campus to see their former head coach inducted into the Ring of Honor.
- Notre Dame also commemorated the 40th anniversary of Notre Dame ending UCLA’s 88-game win streak. The landmark victory took place at Notre Dame on Jan. 19, 1974. The win streak still remains the longest in men’s college basketball history. Eleven members of the squad were recognized for that achievement during a first-half timeout of the Notre Dame-Virginia Tech contest.
NOTRE DAME ADDS TWO FRONTLINE PLAYERS FOR 2014-15 CAMPAIGN
- Irish head coach Mike Brey recently announced the signing of two frontcourt players to his 2014-15 roster. Bonzie Colson, Jr., a 6-6, 200-pound forward out of New Bedford, Mass., and Martin Geben, a 6-9, 230-pound forward from Vilnius, Lithuania, have signed National Letters of Intent during the early signing period and will enroll in the fall of 2014.