Dec. 1, 2006
Notre Dame (5-1, 0-0 BIG EAST)
#23/19 Maryland (8-0, 0-0 Atlantic Coast)
Sunday, December 3, 2006 * 6:30 p.m. (EST) Verizon Center (20,600) * Washington, D.C.
|Comcast SportsNet:||Steve Buckhantz (play-by-play analyst),|
|John Feinstein (color analyst),|
|and Glenn Consor (sideline reporter)|
|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. (Chicago land area and Midwest); WZOW 97.7 FM and 102.3 FM 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.; 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. Maryland:
Notre Dame plays its third game in six days and first ranked opponent of the season when it faces #23/19 Maryland at the BB&T Classic in Washington, D.C. Sunday’s contest marks the first of two straight outings in which the Irish will face a ranked opponent. Following the matchup with the Terrapins, Notre Dame returns home to the Joyce Center to face #6/#7 Alabama on Thur., Dec. 7 at 9:00 p.m. in a game that will be carried on ESPN. The Irish have won four straight since dropping a two-point decision to eventual champion Butler (71-69) in the first round of the Midwest Region of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Notre Dame’s average margin of victory in its last four games has been +26.8 points per game and +24.7 in its six games overall this season.
Irish Making Second Appearance In BB&T Classic:
Head coach Mike Brey and Notre Dame will be making their second appearance in the BB&T Classic. The Irish won the title in December of 2002 by knocking defending national champion Maryland (ranked ninth and eighth in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls) 79-67 in the first round and then dispatched second-ranked Texas (who advanced to the Final Four that spring) 98-92 in the championship game.
Friendly Confines For Irish At Verizon Center:
Notre Dame is 6-2 all-time in games played at the Verizon Center (formerly the MCI Center). The Irish are making their first appearance at the Verizon Center since suffering a 55-54 setback to Georgetown on Jan. 23, 2005. Prior to the loss, Notre Dame had won six straight at the Verizon Center. During the 2002-03 campaign, the Irish were 3-0 in the MCI Center with victories over 2001 national champion Maryland (79-67) and Texas (98-92) to win the 2002 BB&T Classic in early December and then ended the regular season with an 86-80 win over Georgetown. Notre Dame’s first-ever appearance at the Verizon Center was on Feb. 7, 1998 and the Irish dropped a 76-56 decision to the Hoyas. It’s first win in the building was a 77-54 victory on March 4, 2000. Four of Notre Dame’s six wins in the Verizon Center have come against the Hoyas. As Notre Dame’s head coach, Mike Brey is 5-1 all-time in the MCI Center (3-1 versus the Hoyas). Certainly one of the most memorable was an epic four-overtime contest as the Irish prevailed 60 minutes later with a 116-111 victory. Former Irish standout Chris Thomas played the entire game in what ranks as the longest game in Notre Dame and BIG EAST Conference history.
Looking To Change A Trend:
In facing its first ranked opponent of the season, Notre Dame will be looking to snap a seven-game losing streak against ranked opponents. The Irish were just 1-7 versus the eight ranked foes it faced in 2005-06. After a 78-71 victory at #22/19 Alabama, Notre Dame dropped seven straight to ranked foes by a total of 20 points for an average of 2.9 points per game.
Four of Notre Dame’s five victories have been by 24 or more points as the Irish are outscoring their opponents by a +24.7 margin (85.0 to 60.3). Coach Mike Brey’s squad has posted wins of 30-plus points in three games – IPFW (92-49), Lafayette (92-60) and Winston-Salem (90-45). The 45-point win over Winston-Salem St. on Wednesday night was the largest margin of victory since a 99-53 win (46 points) over New Hampshire on Nov. 16, 2001.
Irish 1-1 At NIT:
Notre Dame finished with a 1-1 record in the two games of the Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Midwest Region held at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
The Irish dropped a tough two-point decision (71-69) against Butler. In that contest, Colin Falls and Luke Harangody led Notre Dame with 17 points each, while Russell Carter added 15. Harangody also registered the first double-double of his young career as he grabbed 10 boards. The Irish shot 48.1 percent from the field and 58.8 percent from three-point range, while Butler connected on 49.1 percent overall from the floor.
Notre Dame shot a blistering 72.0 percent (18-25) from the floor en route to the 32-point victory (92-60) and was 35-60 overall from the field (58.3%). Russell Carter notched his second 20-point outing of the season as he finished with 20 points to lead four Irish players in double figures. Luke Harangody tossed in a career-high points, while Rob Kurz added 16 points and eight rebounds. Rookie Tory Jackson tossed in 10 points. Kyle McAlarney dished off a career-high 12 asissts in the game as part of Notre Dame’s 28 assists overall in the contest.
What’s Not To Like About These Numbers:
|Here’s some of the numbers from Notre Dame’s season-opening win over IPFW…|
|* Notre Dame shot 61.5 percent in the first half.|
|* Notre Dame’s 55 first-half points were the second-most ever scored by the Irish in the first half under Mike Brey.|
|* The +26 differential in rebounding (54-28) is the largest ever by an Irish team under Mike Brey in six-plus seasons and the third-most rebounds in a regulation game.|
|* The 92 points were the most scored in season opener since the 2001-02 season (99-53 vs. New Hampshire on Nov. 16, 2001).|
|* The 43-point margin of victory was the most since an 89-45 (44 points) win over IUPUI on Nov. 18, 2002.|
Senior Colin Falls and junior Rob Kurz were selected captains by a vote of their teammates. Kurz’ selection marks the third time in four years that the Irish have had a junior serving as a team captain.
Notre Dame’s season opener against IPFW marked the earliest start date ever in the 102-year history of the program. The earliest start date prior to this had been in 1998 when that Irish squad opened up the 1998-99 campaign with a 76-65 loss to Miami of Ohio on Nov. 13.
Irish in Season Openers:
Notre Dame owns an all-time record of 84-18 (.824) in season openers and have won all seven of its openers under head coach Mike Brey. Since the opening of the Joyce Center in 1968-69, Irish teams are 33-6 (.846) in home openers. The last time Notre Dame lost a season opener at home was to Miami of Ohio on November 13, 1998.
Irish Roll Under Brey In November:
Notre Dame completed the month of November 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; and to Butler (71-69) last Monday night in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off
The Irish All-Time:
The 2006-07 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 1586-878 record for a .644 winning percentage. In BIG EAST play, Notre Dame owns an 90-94 (.489) record all-time in conference regular-season play.
Always In It:
Since the 2005-06 campaign, Notre Dame’s 15 losses have been by a combined 61 points for an average of 4.1 points per game. The 14 setbacks a year ago 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).
Harangody Nabs First BIG EAST Weekly Honor:
Freshman Luke Harangody was named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week on Nov. 20 as the league handed out its inaugural weekly honors for the 2006-07 season. He averaged 16.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in Notre Dame’s first four outings and became the first Irish rookies since Torin Francis in 2002-03 to earn the league’s rookie-of-the-week honor. Harangody has scored in double figures in all four games and is the first freshman since Troy Murphy in 1998-99 to net double figures in his first four collegiate outings.
Junior Rob Kurz sustained a broken nose in practice on Nov. 5 after being elbowed accidently by teammate Luke Harangody. He underwent surgery on the morning of Nov. 6 at 10:30 a.m. and was in street clothes that evening sitting on the bench in the exhibition game against Bellarmine. He returned to practice on Nov. 8.
Keeping It Close:
In the 71 losses suffered by Irish teams in Mike Brey’s six-plus seasons, only 16 have been by 10 or more points and have been by a combined 460 for a average of 6.5 points per game. Notre Dame’s biggest losses have been on the road at Pittsburgh (72-55 on Jan. 5, 2003) and against Arizona (88-71 on March 27, 2003) in the NCAA West Regional semifinal in Anaheim, Calif. Prior to those setbacks, the worst defeat was a 16-point decision at Connecticut during Brey’s first season.
Notre Dame played five overtime games last season, matching the school record set during the 1955-56 campaign when that Irish team finished 1-4 in overtime contests. Three of those contests a year ago were decided in double overtime. The Irish were 0-5 in overtime games a year ago.
Seven Straight Postseason Appearances:
Since 2000, Notre Dame has appeared in either the NCAA or NIT tournaments each of the last seven 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 is the longest stretch of postseason appearances for Irish teams since making eight straight from 1983-90 (NIT in 1983 and ’84 and NCAA from 1985-90).
Big Luke=Big Numbers:
After five games, freshman Luke Harangody is third on the team in both scoring (14.0 ppg.) and rebounding (4.8 rpg.). He has scored in double figures five of six games (he scored nine points in Wednesday’s win over Winston-Salem St.). He was the first Notre Dame freshman since Troy Murphy in 1998-99 to begin his rookie season scoring in double figures in five straight games. Murphy began his career by scoring in double figures in 12 consecutive outings. Harangody recorded the first double-double of his career since Torin Francis in November of 2002 when he scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds the loss to Butler. In back-to-back games against Lafayette and The Citadel, he produced consecutive 18-point outings. Against the Leopards on Nov. 14, he finished with a career-best 17 points as he connected on 7-12 shots from the field and against the Bulldogs, he was 7-9 from the field and 4-4 from the free-throw line. Harangody is shooting 58.0 percent from the field (29-50) and 94.4 percent (17-18) from three-point range.
Outscoring the Opponent:
In the 74-50 win over The Citadel on Nov. 19, Notre Dame held a 40-12 advantage at the break as the Irish limited the Bulldogs to just 21.7 percent shooting in the half (5-23). The 12 points were the fewest allowed by a Notre Dame team under Mike Brey in six-plus seasons. Luke Harangody came off the bench and scored 16 first-half points (7-9 from the field and 2-2 from the free-throw line) in 11 minutes, not only averaging 1.5 points per minute, but also outscoring the entire Citadel squad in the first 20 minutes of the contest.
Notre Dame is shooting 52.6 percent from the field (183-348) and 37.7 percent from three-point range (46-122) following six games. The Irish have shot better than 50.0 percent from the field in four games this season (54.0 percent (34-63) vs. IPFW, 58.3 percent (35-60) against Lafayette, 54.5 percent (30-55) vs. Lehigh and 57.1 percent (32-56) against Winston-Salem St. In the Lafayette game, Notre Dame shot a blistering 72.0 percent (18-25) in the second half, the highest field goal percentage ever by an Irish team in a half under head coach Mike Brey. Prior to its game against The Citadel, Notre Dame had not shot below 48.0 percent in a game as the Irish also connected on 48.1 percent (25-52) in their loss to Butler. Against the Bulldogs, Notre Dame shot a season-low 43.5 percent (27-62).
Not known in recent years to be a dominant rebounding team, Notre Dame has been exceptional on the boards this season and is currently outrebounding its opponent 39.3 to 25.7 for a +12.0 advantage. The Irish have outrebounded each of its first six opponents – IPFW (54-28), Butler (29-24), Lafayette (35-23), The Citadel (40-34), Lehigh (32-24) and Winston-Salem St. (46-25).
BIG EAST Breakdown:
Notre Dame will play DePaul, USF and Villanova twice as part of its 16-game BIG EAST schedule. As was the case in 2005-06, each team will face 10 opponents once and three opponents twice (both home and away), but will not play two teams. The Irish will play home games against Louisville, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall and West Virginia and will face Cincinnati, Georgetown, Rutgers, St. John’s and Syracuse on the road. The two schools Notre Dame will not play during the upcoming campaign are Connecticut and Pittsburgh.
Series Record vs. Maryland:
Notre Dame leads the all-time series between the two schools 9-8. The Irish and Terrapins have not met since Notre Dame’s 79-67 win at the BB&T Classic on Dec. 7, 2002. The Irish have won three of the last five meetings between the two schools.
Irish All-Time vs. Atlantic Coast Conference:
Notre Dame is 45-74 all-time versus teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Irish last faced an ACC team last season – North Carolina State – and dropped a 61-48 decision to the Wolfpack. It’s last win over an ACC foe was against Maryland (79-67) on Dec. 7, 2002 in the opening round of the BB&T Classic.
Lafayette Brings Out Best in Kurz:
Two of junior forward Rob Kurz’ best games have come against Lafayette, ironically, the alma mater of both of his parents. In the 2005 season opener, Kurz scored a career-high 18 points on 8-10 shooting from the field (1-1 from three-point range and 1-1 from the line) and grabbed eight rebounds in 25 minutes of action. In Notre Dame’s win on Nov. 14 versus the Leopards, he scored 16 points and again hauled in eight boards as he shot 7-10 from the field and 2-2 from three-point range. In the two games, he is shooting 75.0 percent (15-20) from the field and is perfect from three-point range (3-3).
BIG EAST Formula For Success Under Brey:
Since his arrival at Notre Dame, Brey has led Notre Dame to a 55-41 (.573) record in BIG EAST regular-season games and a 2-6 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 57-47 (.548) 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.
242 And Counting:
Heading into tonight’s game against Maryland, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 242 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.
Spreading the Wealth:
Notre Dame is averaging 20.2 assists per game and had a season-high 28 against Lafayette with 35 baskets coming off of 28 assists. Twelve of those assists in the game were dished out by Kyle McAlarney, which marked a career-best for the Irish sophomore. This year, Notre Dame owns a 0.67 assist-to-basket ratio (121 assists on 183 baskets).
Home Sweet Home:
Since the inaugural season in 1968-69 at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame owns a 460-141 record all-time for a .765 winning percentage. The Irish are 75-27 (.735) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s six-plus seasons, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they own a 123-42 mark for a .745 winning percentage. Notre Dame’s 11-5 mark in 2005-06 at home marked the eighth time in nine 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.
Welcome To The Club:
Senior Colin Falls became the 46th player in Notre Dame history to score 1,000 points in his 13-point outing against Winston-Salem St. on Wednesday night. Falls has 1,003 career points for a 10.3 career scoring average. He has played in 97 career outings and started 66.
In 97 career outings, 249 of Colin Falls’ 299 career field goals have come from three-point range which translates into an 83.3 percentage. Last season, he set the school record for three-point field goals made with 102 and is the only player in Notre Dame history with 90-plus three-pointers in two seasons (he also had 93 as a sophomore in 2004-05). During his career, he has connected on 249 of 618 three-point field goal attempts for a 40.3 percent accuracy from the field. Falls needs 54 three-point field goals this season to eclipse Chris Thomas’ career mark of 302 he set from 2001-05.
Another Way To Get His Three Points:
While connecting from beyond the arc has been the conventional way of scoring three points for Colin Falls, the senior guard has had a penchant the last two-plus seasons for getting fouled shooting a three-pointer and going to the free-throw line for three attempts. As a sophomore, he was fouled a total of 16 times while shooting from beyond the arc and converted on 43-48 (.896) of his free-throw attempts. A year ago, Falls was fouled eight times and converted 19-25 (.760), including a first-ever four-point play versus Georgetown in the regular-season meeting between the two schools that sent the game into overtime. This year, he has been fouled three times (once verus Butler and twice against Lehigh) and connected on 8-9 attempts. In his career he is 70-81 (.864) from the line after getting fouled while shooting a three-pointer.
In Mike Brey’s six-plus seasons, his Irish teams have compiled a road record of 48-44 (.521) that includes a 32-31 mark (.507) in true road games and a 16-13 (.552) record in neutral site contests.
The Phonz Returns:
Former Irish great LaPhonso Ellis (1988-92) returns to be the color analyst for Notre Dame basketball games on the radio, teaming with play-by-play analyst Jack Nolan in 2005-06. Nolan was the color analyst for a number of year on the network, but assumes the play-by-play duties this year. Ellis, who ranks 13th all-time in career scoring and third in rebounding (1,075), will do a select number of games this season.
Notre Dame’s backcourt has long been a staple of Mike Brey’s offense, but this year, the Irish frontcourt is putting up impressive numbers of its own. Between its four frontline players, Notre Dame is shooting 65.7 percent from the field (92-140). Zach Hillesland has missed just one shot and has connected on 12-13; Luke Zeller is shooting 68.0 percent as he has made 17-25 from the field; Rob Kurz has made 30 of his 45 shot attempts for a 66.7 percent accuracy and Luke Harangody has connected on 33-57 from the field, good for 57.9 percent.
There’s a New Guy In Town:
There will be a new face along the Irish sidelines this season. Gene Cross, a 1994 graduate of Illinois, joins the Notre Dame basketball staff after spending the 2005-06 campaign at Virginia. A 10-year veteran of the collegiate ranks, he spent three years (2002-05) on Dave Leitao’s staff at DePaul before moving to Virginia when Leitao became the Cavaliers’ head coach. He also spent six years on the staff at University of Illinois-Chicago (1996-02).
There are two Indiana natives on this year’s Irish roster, and coincidentally, both are named Luke – sophomore forward Luke Zeller and freshman forward Luke Harangody. Zeller hails from the southern part of the state in Washington, while Harangody’s hometown of Schererville is the western end. The last time a Notre Dame roster had more than one scholarship player from the state of Indiana was in 1993-94 – Joe and Jon Ross (Wabash) and Jason Williams (Indianapolis).
Philly Family Connection:
Junior Rob Kurz’ sister Laura is a junior on the Villanova women’s basketball team (she is sitting out this season after transferring from Duke). Sophomore Ryan Ayers’ father Randy is currently an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic. He formerly was the head coach at Ohio State and with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Like Father, Like Son:
The last name of freshman walk-on Tim Andree should be familiar to the Irish basketball faithful. His father Tim was a four-year monogram winner and played basketball for the Irish from 1979-83. It marks the first father-son basketball duo at Notre Dame since Kevin Hawkins (1978-81) was a walk-on member, following in his father Tom’s (1956-59) footsteps.