Nov. 15, 2002

Notre Dame, Ind. –

Notre Dame-Belmont Game Notes in PDF Format
dot.gifspacer.gifDownload Free Acrobat Reader

SCOUTING THE IRISH – Notre Dame returns two starters and seven monogram winners from last year’s squad which posted a 22-11 mark and 10-6 record in BIG EAST play. The Irish advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year and finished in second-place in the final BIG EAST West Division race behind champion Pittsburgh.

The Irish will look to replace three key starters – Ryan Humphrey, the team’s leading scorer (18.9 ppg.) and rebounder (10.9 rpg.) and the 19th overall in the 2002 NBA Draft; David Graves (14.4 ppg. and 5.0 rpg.) who closed out his career as the school’s all-time three-point field goals made leader and finished as the seventh all-time leading scorer; and Harold Swanagan (8.1 ppg. and 6.7 rpg.).

Notre Dame’s strength will be in its backcourt, while the inexperience and youth of the frontline poses several question marks for third-year Irish head coach Mike Brey and his staff.

Senior guard Matt Carroll (Horsham, Pa.) returns for his fourth season as a starter in the Irish lineup. Carroll has played in 99 career games at Notre Dame and has earned starts in 91 of those contests. He averaged 14.1 points and 4.8 rebounds a year ago. Carroll heads into his final season needing just 58 three-pointers to become the school’s all-time leader in that category. He owns a career scoring average of 12.0 ppg. after finishing the 2001-02 campaign by scoring 20 points in the final four games of the season.

Sophomore point guard Chris Thomas (Indianapolis, Ind.), the 2002 National Freshman of the Year by Basketball Times and Basketball News and BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, joins Carroll in the backcourt again this season. The Irish tandem comprises one of the top backcourt tandems in the country. Thomas averaged 15.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 7.64 assists last season en route to establishing single-season marks for assists (252) and steals (72). He started all 33 contests and averaged 38 minutes, while playing 40 or more minutes in 14 games. Thomas scored in double figures in all but seven games and netted 20-plus points in nine games.

Carroll and Thomas form one of the most dangerous perimeter attacks in all of college basketball as the two accounted for 149 of Notre Dame’s 244 (61.1 percent) three-point field goals. Both have a great outside touch with the ability to knock down the long-range shot and break zone defenses.

Senior Dan Miller (Mt. Holly, N.J.), a combination guard/forward joins the Irish after sitting out last season following his transfer from the University of Maryland in the summer of 2001. Miller played in 104 games for the Terrapins during his three-year career at the College Park, Md., campus and started all 34 contests during his sophomore year (1999-2000), while averaging 8.5 points. He played on Maryland’s 2001 Final Four team. Miller has one year of eligibility remaining.

Torrian Jones (Fairless Hills, Pa.) was the first player off the bench for the Irish a year ago, and it is likely that he will fill that role again this season. He has emerged as one of Notre Dame’s most complete players in terms of his offensive and defensive skills. He played in all 33 contests last season and earned nine starts while averaging 3.5 points and 2.0 rebounds.

Junior Tom Timmermans (Driehuis, Netherlands) will likely be the starting center for the Irish to begin the season. After battling a knee injury during the early part of last season, Timmermans finished off the ’01-’02 campaign in strong fashion as he played in 19 games and averaged 2.2 points per game.

Freshman Torin Francis (Roslindale, Mass.), a McDonald’s and Parade Magazine All-American, will get the starting nod at the power forward slot to start the season. One of the top prep standouts in the country a year ago, he averaged 28.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots per game.

Sophomore Jordan Cornette (Cincinnati, Ohio) will also be battling for a starting job. He played in all but two games and earned starts in six contests during last season. Cornette averaged 2.7 points and 3.3 rebounds while averaging 14.3 minutes of playing time.

Another rookie frontline player expected to see significant playing minutes is Rick Cornett (Country Club Hills, Ill.). He concluded his prep career with 2,488 career points and 1,788 rebounds, and averaged 21.0 points and 14.0 rebounds during his final prep season.

With Timmermans, Francis, Cornette and Cornett up front, freshman Omari Peterkin (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands) will have a chance to settle in and learn Brey’s system and style of play. He averaged 25.0 points and 15.0 rebounds in his final season and has also been a member of the Virgin Islands Junior National Team the past two years.

The Irish will receive added depth in the backcourt from Chris Markwood (South Portland, Maine) and freshman Chris Quinn (Dublin, Ohio). Markwood begins his third season with the Irish, but missed all of his freshman year following arthroscopic knee surgery in September of 2000. He played in 18 games last year. Quinn will be Thomas’ backup at point guard, but it is likely the two will see playing time in the backcourt at the same time throughout the season. He averaged 22.4 points and 7.0 assists during his final prep campaign and finished his career with 1,670 career points and 469 assists.

RECAP OF THE ILLINOIS ALL-STARS GAME – Dan Miller led six Notre Dame players, including all five starters, in double figures with 21 points and eight rebounds as the Irish posted a 107-77 victory over the Illinois All-Stars in the first of two exhibition games. Torin Francis registered the game’s only double double as he finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds, Chris Thomas had 17 points, eight assists, four rebounds and four steals in 25 minutes of action, while Matt Carroll scored 14 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished off four assists. Tom Timmermans was the other Irish starter in double figures as he tallied 10 points. Chris Quinn came off the bench to score 10 points, while Jordan Cornette grabbed 10 rebounds, scored six points, dished off five assists and blocked four shots. Rick Cornett added six points and had seven rebounds.

Notre Dame shot 46.2 percent from the field and outrebounded the Illinois All-Stars 62-42 in the contest. The Irish also committed just nine turnovers in the game and dished off 26 assists.

Notre Dame trailed for a brief time in the first half, and held a slim three-point advantage (38-35 lead), but used a 20-4 run to close out the first half for a 58-39 halftime advantage.

RECAP OF EA SPORTS MIDWEST ALL-STARS GAME – Matt Carroll and Chris Thomas combined for 35 points to lead the Notre Dame men’s basketball team to an 81-64 victory over EA Sports Midwest All-Stars in the final exhibition tuneup. Carroll finished with a game-high 18 points, while Thomas netted 17 and dished off six assists. Torin Francis had 13 points and fell one rebound short of his second double double in exhibiton action as he grabbed nine rebounds. Dan Miller had 11 points and seven rebounds in 32 minutes of action.

Notre Dame shot just 40.3 percent (29-27) from the field and converted on just four-of-19 from three-point range (21.1 percent).

The Irish held EA Sports to just 37.9 percent accuracy from the field and 21.1 percent from three-point range. In addition, Notre Dame forced 20 turnovers and outrebounded the visitors 47-38.

Jordan Cornette was impressive off the bench as he finished with eight points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes.

The Irish led 38-25 at the break and built a 60-37 advantage nine minutes into the second half. EA Sports got to within 10 points (64-54) with 6:16 remaining in the contest, but Notre Dame closed with a 17-10 run to end the game.

HEAD COACH MIKE BREY – Mike Brey is in his third year as the Notre Dame head coach and eighth in the collegiate ranks. He was named the 17th head coach in the program’s history on July 14, 2000, following five seasons (1995-2000) as head coach at the University of Delaware, where he led the Blue Hens to an overall record of 99-52. Brey owns a 42-21 mark (.667) with the Irish after two seasons. He is the first coach in Notre Dame history to lead his teams to consecutive 20-win campaigns and NCAA tournament appearances in his first two seasons. Last year, he led his team to a 22-11 record and 10-6 mark in BIG EAST play after guiding the 2000-01 Irish to the 2000-01 BIG EAST West Division crown with an 11-5 record and finishing with a 20-10 overall record. Five of his eight teams have advanced to postseason competition (four NCAA and one NIT appearances). Since his arrival, he has led Notre Dame to a 21-11 mark in BIG EAST play during the regular season for a .656 winning percentage. In the two-year period from 2000-02, the Irish’s BIG EAST wins are matched only by Boston College and Connecticut. His 21 wins after only two seasons rank as the third-best total in conference history. Only four other BIG EAST coaches, including St. John’s mentor Mike Jarvis, have ever posted a better winning percentage in their first two seasons in the league. Brey has an overall record of 141-73 (.659) as a head coach and is 42-21 (.667) at Notre Dame. Among active BIG EAST coaches, Brey’s 22-13 record (including regular season and championship contests) for a .629 winning percentage ranks him fourth behind Jarvis, Jim Boeheim and Jim Calhoun and sixth all-time.

THE CAPTAINS – Matt Carroll, Jere Macura and Dan Miller will serve as captains for the 2002-03 campaign. It marks the second straight year that the Irish will have tri-captains. Carroll, a three-year starter owns a 12.0 career scoring average in 99 games played. As a junior, he finished with a 14.0 career scoring average and ended the 2001-02 campaign by registering four straight 20-point outings in BIG EAST and NCAA tournament competition. Macura has played in 76 career games and owns a 3.7 scoring average. This is Miller’s first season of competition with the Irish.

SERIES RECORD VS. BELMONT – This will be the first meeting between the two schools.

IRISH IN SEASON OPENERS – Notre Dame is 79-18 all-time in season openers and has won three straight. The last time an Irish team lost a season opener was prior to the start of the 1998-99 campaign as the Irish dropped a 76-65 decision to Miami of Ohio at home. Notre Dame is 2-0 in season openers under Mike Brey.

OUT OF THE GATES – A win against Belmont will guarantee the Irish three games in the Guardians Classic., and that will mean Notre Dame will play six games during the month of November. Last year, the Irish finished the first month of the season with a perfect 6-0 slate. It marked the most wins ever by a Notre Dame team in the month of November and the second time in the program’s history that the Irish have played six games during that month. Notre Dame also played six games in the month of November during both the 1999-2000 and 1998-99 campaigns and finished with 4-2 and 2-4 marks, respectively.

HOME SWEET HOME – Since the inaugural season (1968-69) playing in the Joyce Center, Notre Dame owns a 406-122 record all-time for a .769 winning percentage. The Irish are 21-8 (.724) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s two seasons and since the 1996-97 campaign own a 71-27 mark.

THE IRISH ALL-TIME – The 2002-03 campaign marks the 98th season of men’s basketball at Notre Dame. Irish teams have posted 1505-828 record all-time for a .645 winning percentage.

IRISH SET TO MEET DEFENDING NATIONAL CHAMPIONS – Notre Dame will play defending national champion Maryland in the first round of the BB&T Classic at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, December 7 at 3:30 p.m. Texas and George Washington will meet in the first game of the tournament at 1:00 p.m. The consolation game will take place at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 8, followed by the championship tilt at 3:30 p.m. Raycom/Comcast will televise all four games of the tournament. Notre Dame’s matchup with Maryland will mark the 30th time an Irish squad has faced a team that had won the national title the previous year.

THOMAS NAMED TO WOODEN AND NAISMITH LISTS – Sophomore point guard Chris Thomas is one of 50 preseason candidates for the 2003 John R. Wooden Award, which is annually presented to the nation’s top men’s basketball player. He also was named as a preseason candidate (one of 30) for the 2002-03 Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Award, which is presented annually by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Thomas is among five sophomores chosen to the Wooden Award list and is one of five BIG EAST players selected to the Naismith List.

MILLER TIME – After sitting out the 2001-02 campaign following his transfer to Notre Dame from Maryland in the summer of 2001, the time has come for Dan Miller to don an Irish uniform. The 6-6, 220-pound guard/forward from Mt. Holly, N.J., has one year of eligibility remaining, He was a former McDonald’s and Parade All-American at Rancocas Valley High School.

CARROLL CLOSING IN ON IRISH THREE-POINT RECORD – Former Notre Dame standout David Graves (1998-2002) set the Irish three-point mark last season with 259, but it is likely that Matt Carroll will break that record at some point durng the 2002-03 campaign. He heads into the season third on the all-time list with 202, needing just 58 to break the record. Ryan Hoover (1992-96) currently is second with 248. In 99 career games played, Carroll has averaged 2.0 three-pointers per game.

BREY SHOWS IRISH THE WAY ON THE ROAD – Notre Dame played just 13 homes games during the 2001-02 campaign, but found life on the road to be rather friendly. The Irish were 8-4 in contests played on the opponent’s home floor and were 5-3 in neutral site contests for an overall record of 13-7 away from the Joyce Center. In Brey’s first season, Notre Dame was 6-4 on the road and 2-2 in neutral site games for an overall record of 8-6. In two seasons under Brey, Notre Dame has a 14-8 (.636) road mark and 7-5 (.583) mark in neutral site contests. Over the past two seasons, Irish teams have compiled a 21-13 (.618) record playing away from home.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION – Head coach Mike Brey and the Irish once again will receive tremendous exposure with 10 nationally-televised games on CBS, ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. Notre Dame was featured on national television 16 times in the regular season during the past two seasons.

Mon., Dec. 2 vs. Marquette (7:00 p.m.) – ESPN2
Mon., Jan. 6 at Pittsburgh (7:00 p.m.) – ESPN
Sat., Jan. 18 at Kentucky (2:00 p.m.) – CBS
Sat., Jan. 25 at Boston College (2:00 p.m.) – ESPN
Sun., Feb. 9 vs. Pittsburgh (3:30 p.m.) – Pittsburgh
Sat., Feb. 15 at Syracuse (1:00 p.m.) – ESPN
Mon., Feb. 24 vs. Connecticut (7:00 p.m.) – ESPN
Sat., Mar. 1 at Rutgers (4:00 p.m.) – ESPN2
Tue., Mar. 4 vs. Syracuse (7:00 p.m.) – ESPN2

113 AND COUNTING – Heading into this season, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 113 straight games, which dates back to the 1998-99 campaign. The last time the Irish did not make a three-pointer was in a 101-70 loss to Connecticut in the Hartford Civic Center (Jan. 12, 1999) as Notre Dame finished 0-7 in the contest from three-point range. The Pittsburgh game on Jan. 26, 2002, marked the 100th consecutive game in which the Irish hit a three-pointer. Notre Dame made a season-high 14 against Rutgers on Feb. 6, 2002.

ONE OF JUST 12 – Getting back into the NCAA tournament the last two seasons has put Notre Dame in rather elite company as the Irish were one of just 12 schools to win at least one NCAA game in both 2001 and 2002. The list also includes: Arizona, Cincinnati, Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Kent State, Kentucky, Maryand, Missouri, Stanford and UCLA.

TAKING CARE OF THE BALL – Notre Dame has averaged 18.3 assists and just 13.7 turnovers over the last 63 games for a 1.34 assist-to-turnover ratio. The Irish ranked with a 1.45 assist-to-turnover ratio and ninth in 2001-02 with a 1.23 ratio. Notre Dame’s 629 assists last season were second-most in school history – the 1999-2000 team had 643 assists in 37 games for a 17.4 assist per game average.

BROTHERLY LOVE – Three members of the Notre Dame squad have brothers playing at other Division I schools. Matt Carroll’s brother Pat is a sophomore at St. Joseph’s (Pa.); Jordan Cornette’s brother Joel is a senior at Butler; and Jere Macura has a brother Petar who is a freshman at IUPUI.

LUSTIG ADDED TO IRISH ROSTER – Senior Dan Lustig has joined the Irish as a walk-on for the 2002-03 campaign. The 6-5, 195-pound guard hails from Alexandria, Ind., and attended Alexandria Monroe High School. He led his high school prep team to the 1998 Indiana Class II-A state championship and an appearance in the semifinals in 1999. A member of the Irish Guard, he is the sixth family member of nine children to attend Notre Dame. He will wear No. 24 this season.

ND-DEPAUL GAME TIME MOVED – The Notre Dame-DePaul game, originally scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tip on Saturday, December 14, has been pushed up to a 5:00 p.m. start. The game will be televised by WGN in Chicago and will be the 90th meeting between the two schools.

KEVIN WHITE RADIO SHOW – A weekly half-hour talke show featuring Notre Dame athletics director Kevin White airs on Chicago’s ESPN Radio 1000 (1000 AM in Chicago, In its third season, “The Kevin White Show” can be heard in 35 states Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. Central time. White welcomes to the show a series of guests and prominent figures associated with college athletics, including administrators, coaches and media members.

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED RANKS NOTRE DAME 15TH – In the October 7, 2002 issue of Sports Illustrated, Notre Dame was ranked the 15th best Sports College among Division I schools for the 2001-02 school year. Texas and Stanford finished first and second, respectively. SI combined a variety of factors in arriving at its 2002 rankings, which included performance during the school year in five sports (baseball, football, hockey and men’s and women’s basketball); position in the ’01-’02 Sears Cup NCAA all-sports standings; number of varsity, club and intramural sports; range of recreational facilities; and whether or not spirit-boosting events like Midnight Madness were held.

USA TODAY/NCAA ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AWARD – Notre Dame received a 2002 USA Today/NCAA Academic Achievement Award for graduating 90 percent of its freshmen student-athletes who enrolled in 1995. Now in its second year, the awards were presented in late September of 2002 to 10 institutions with the highest overall graduation rates for scholarship student-athletes who began college in the 1995-96 academic year. Rice University finished with a rate of 91 percent, one percentage higher than Notre Dame, Stanford and Duke.

IRISH INK TWO IN EARLY SIGNING PERIOD – Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey signed two players to national letters of intent during the early signing period – Colin Falls, a 6-4, 200-pound shooting guard out of Park Ridge, Ill., and Omari Isreal, a 6-8, 210-pound forward from Rockville, Md. Falls averaged 24.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists during his junior season at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill. In addition, he captured first-team all-Chicago Catholic League honors for the second consecutive year, while also earning second-team all-state accolades. Isreal averaged 18.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots in his junior season at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Wheaton, Md. An all-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) second-team selection each of the last two years, he earned first team all-county honors from both the Montgomery County Journal and Montgomery County Gazette.

BASKETBALL LUNCHEON SET FOR JANUARY 28, 2003 – The second of two Notre Dame basketball luncheons will be held on Tues., January 28 at noon. Mike Brey and several Irish players will be featured at the event. Tickets are $16.00 each and can be ordered by writing to the Notre Dame Athletics Business Office, 112 Joyce Center, Notre Dame, Ind., 46556. Checks may be made payable to the University of Notre Dame. Reservation forms are also available at the Joyce Center ticket windows. Telephone reservations are not accepted. For information call 574-631-5031.

TOUGH TICKET AT THE JOYCE CENTER – Six of Notre Dame’s 16 home games for the 2002-03 men’s basketball season have already sold out and all 3,150 student ticket packages sold out in a record 36 hours after being put on sale. The six sellouts already equal the total number at the Joyce Center during the entire 2001-02 campaign. The games already sold out are: Marquette (Dec. 2), DePaul (Dec. 14), Georgetown (Feb. 1), Pittsburgh (Feb. 9), Virginia Tech (Feb. 22) and Connecticut (Feb. 24). There are a limited number of bleacher seats remaining for the Bucknell game on November 22 and Syracuse contest on March 4.