Kyle McAlarney and the Irish take on Pitt Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET.

Men's Basketball Travels To Pittsburgh For BIG EAST Opener

Jan. 3, 2006

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Wednesday’s Game:
For the ninth time in 11 years, Notre Dame opens up BIG EAST play on the road as the Irish travel to Pittsburgh, Pa., to face the Panthers … It marks the first of two consecutive conference road games for the Irish … Following that matchup with the Panthers, Notre Dame is at DePaul on Saturday, Jan. 7 … The Irish head into the contest with the Panthers riding a seven-game win streak, its longest since the 2002-03 campaign when the Irish won eight consecutive contests … Notre Dame heads into the contest following a four-game homestand … The Irish are on the road for the fourth time this season … Notre Dame played North Carolina State at the John R. Wooden Tradition in late November in Indianapolis (61-48 loss) an then played road games at Alabama (78-71 win) and IPFW (65-63 victory) … Notre Dame concluded the non-conference portion of its season on Friday night with a 74-71 victory over Wofford … The Irish had four players in double figures, led by Russell Carter’s career-high 16-point effort … Torin Francis registered his team-leading fourth double-double of the season as he finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds … Freshman Kyle McAlarney netted 12 points for his fourth straight double-figure scoring effort … He became the first freshman since Chris Thomas in 2001-02 to score in double figures in four consecutive outings … Chris Quinn notched his ninth double-figure outing of the season as he finished with 10 points … Notre Dame also held a 43-31 advantage on the baords and had 25 assists on 29 baskets … In 10 seasons, the Irish are 5-5 in BIG EAST openers (4-4 on the road and 1-1 at the Joyce Center) … The series between the Panthers and the Irish is tied at 25-25 … Pittsburgh has won both of the last matchups between the two schools … Tonight’s game is the lone regular-season meeting between the Irish and the Panthers.

Irish Begin 11th Season As BIG EAST Member:
Notre Dame begins its 11th season as member of the BIG EAST Conference this evening against Pittsburgh … The Irish are 5-5 in BIG EAST opener and tonight’s game marks the ninth time in 11 seasons that they will be opening up conference play on the road … Under Irish head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame is 2-3 in league openers.

Winless At Petersen Events Center:
Notre Dame is playing at the Petersen Events Center for the fourth time since the building opened … The Irish are winless in three games they have played in the building … Notre Dame lost 72-55 on Jan. 6, 2003, but the last two games have been by a combined five points … The Irish dropped a 74-71 decision on Jan. 12, 2004 and then lost 68-66 on Feb. 12, 2005.

Points Aplenty:
With their 85-49 win over Fordham – their largest margin of victory (36 points) this season – the Irish have topped the 80-point mark four times in 10 games this season … Last year, Notre Dame reached the 80-point plateau only once – an 88-73 win over Marist on Dec. 22, 2004 … The last time the Irish scored 80 or more points at least four times in one season was 2003-04, when they accomplished the feat six times but didn’t collect their fourth 80-point outing until their 20th game … The last team to score 80-plus points in four games faster than this year’s Notre Dame team was the 2002-03 Irish squad, who only needed nine games to reach the mark … The 36-point margin of victory against Fordam on Dec. 28 was the largest for an Irish team since a 44-point win against IUPUI on Nov. 18, 2002.

Looking For Eighth Straight Win:
A win tonight against Pittsburgh would give Notre Dame its eighth straight win … The Irish have not put together a seven-game win streak since November to January of 2002-03, when they won eight straight by beating Albany (90-55), Marquette (92-71), Maryland (79-67), Texas (98-92), DePaul (102-71), Canisius (93-75), Vanderbilt (76-63) and Valparaiso (55-53).

Opponents Take Notice:
Freshman Kyle McAlarney has scored double figures figures in four straight games … The Irish rookie has played in all 11 games (made one start when Chris Quinn missed the IPFW game with an ankle injury) and is the fourth-leading scorer averaging 7.8 points (best among players coming off the bench) and shooting 52.0 percent from the field … McAlarney has scored in double-figures in four straight games … The last freshman to have four consecutive double-figure scoring outings was Chris Thomas in 2001-02 when he had streaks of nine and seven straight games in double figures … McAlarney has averaged 13.0 points in the last four games (52 points) and 3.3 assists (13 assists) and is shooting 17-24 from the field (.708) and is 12-19 (.632) from three-point range.

Quinn Back In Form:
Notre Dame was forced to play without starting point guard Chris Quinn against IPFW on Dec. 18 due to an ankle injury suffered in practice, but the senior co-captain is averaging 11.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game since his return … In Quinn’s first game back, he took the court against Niagara and registered five points, five assists and four rebounds … Just one game later, Quinn led the Irish to victory over Columbia with 18 points and eight assists … He nearly claimed the school’s second-ever triple-double in the Fordham game, netting 14 points, nine rebounds and eight assists … The IPFW game marked just the second time in his career that Quinn missed a game and was forced to the sidelines with an injury … Against Wofford on Friday night, he scored 10 points, dished off seven assists and grabbed two rebounds … Last season, he missed the final game of the year (versus Holy Cross in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament) … Prior to that game, he had played in 94 consecutive outings … Overall, he has played 104 of 104 games and earned 62 career starts.

Irish Cut It Loose Against Fordham:
The 85 points Notre Dame scored in their 85-49 victory over Fordham on Dec. 28 were their most in a game this season …The last time the Irish scored that many points was the 88 they put up in a win over Marist on Dec. 22, 2004 – a span of more than one year … However, the Irish have scored 85-plus points in 33 games during the Mike Brey era.

Close Calls:
Just 11 games into the season, Notre Dame has already played in five games that have been decided by seven or fewer points … The Irish are 4-1 in those contests, with the loss coming against Michigan 71-67 on Dec. 3 … Notre Dame was involved in 15 games last season that were decided by seven points or less … The Irish finished with a 9-6 record in those contests.

Falls Feelin’ It:
Junior guard Colin Falls scored a team-high 19 points on 5-10 shooting from long distance against Niagara … Combining those numbers with his stats from the three previous games, Falls recorded a total of 71 points (17.8 ppg) on 18-37 (.486) shooting from beyond the arc … Those 71 points are the second-most points Falls has scored in a four-game stretch in his Irish career, just one off of the 72 he dropped on Seton Hall, Villanova, Syracuse and St. John’s from Jan. 5-15, 2005.

48 Points Lowest Point Total In Brey Era:
The 48 points scored by Notre Dame in the loss to North Carolina State were the fewest ever during Mike Brey’s five-plus seasons (spanning 167 games) … It marked the lowest point total since the Irish dropped a 72-48 decision at Marquette on Nov. 21, 1997 … In addition, only on one other occasion has a Notre Dame team under Brey scored 50 points or less – vs. Connecticut on Feb. 21, 2004 (61-50).

Francis Ranks Among Best In Double-Doubles:
Senior co-captain Torin Francis’ 27 career double-doubles rank him 10th in school history … While LaPhonso Ellis’ record of 54 double-doubles may be out of reach, Francis is within striking distance of some of Notre Dame’s greatest players as he continues to climb the list:

1. LaPhonso Ellis 54
2. Bob Whitmore 47
3. Walt Sahm 46
4. Bob Arnzen 45
Troy Murphy 45
6. Collis Jones 43
7. Adrian Dantley 39
8. Ron Reed 34
9. Ryan Humphrey 31
10. Torin Francis 26
11. Tom Hawkins 26*
12. Keith Robinson 22
13. Austin Carr 21
Pat Garrity 21
15. Sid Catlett 15

*Rebound statistics were not kept in 1956-57, Hawkins’ first year of competition.

Rookie Ball:
With Chris Quinn out of the lineup against IPFW due to an injury, freshman Kyle McAlarney started at point guard for the Irish … Also in the starting lineup was another first-year player, Luke Zeller … Zeller has been in the starting rotation for the last four games since earning his first career start against Alabama … The last time two freshmen were in the starting lineup in the same game was during the 2001-02 campaign when Chris Thomas and Jordan Cornette made starts together six different times throughout the season.

Notre Dame Defeats First Ranked Opponent in 2005-06:
Notre Dame’s matchup with Alabama was its first against a ranked opponent this season … The Irish were 2-5 versus ranked foes a year ago with both of its wins coming at the Joyce Center against Connecticut (78-74) and Boston College (68-65) … The last win over a ranked opponent prior to the victory at Alabama was against then undefeated and fourth-ranked Boston College on Feb. 8, 2005 at the Joyce Center … Pittsburgh is the second ranked opponent the Irish will face this season.

Series Record vs. Pittsburgh:
Tonight’s game is the 51st meeting between the two schools with the series tied at 25-25 … The Panthers have won four straight and five of the last six meetings … Notre Dame’s last victory against Pittsburgh was at the Joyce Center on Feb. 9, 2003 (66-64) … The last time an Irish team won at Pittsburgh was on Jan. 12, 2002 when they registered a 56-53 victory.

Double Delight:
In the win over IPFW, Notre Dame had two players register double-doubles in the same game … Torin Francis recorded his third double-double of the season with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while teammate Russell Carter earned his first career double-double with an 11-point and 14-rebound effort … The 14 boards were a career high for Carter … Ironically, the last time two Irish players posted double-doubles in the same game was against the Mastodons in a 73-45 victory on Nov. 23, 2004 … In the contest, Chris Thomas finished with 10 points and 11 assists, while Dennis Latimore had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

En Fuego:
Torin Francis has scored in double figures in eight of his last 10 games and grabbed 10-plus rebounds in six games overall this season … In the last six games, he has averaged 13.2 points and 8.5 rebounds, while shooting 32-50 (.640) from the field … Francis currently is averaging 13.6 points and 9.5 rebounds per game and is shooting 59.4 percent from the field.

: Chris Quinn and Torin Francis combined for 48 of Notre Dame’s 67 points (71.6 percent) against Michigan … Quinn scored a career-high 26 points and scored 20-plus points for the ninth time in his career, while Francis netted 22 points and went over the 20-point mark for 11th time in 87 career outings … Their performance against the Wolverines marked the first time that two Irish players scored 20-plus points in the same game since Chris Thomas scored 24 and Colin Falls added 20 in an 84-73 loss to DePaul on Dec. 11, 2004 at the Joyce Center.

Double The Pleasure:
Torin Francis’ 22 points and 13 rebounds against Michigan marked his second straight double-double following a 13-point and 11-rebound effort against North Carolina State … It also marked the third time in four games that he had grabbed 10-plus rebounds (he also had 14 in the season opener against Lafayette) … Francis only recorded back-to-back double-doubles once last season – 16 pts./10 rebs. vs. Pittsburgh and 21 pts./13 rebs. vs. Rutgers … He nearly had a double-double against Alabama finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds … His third double-double of the season came against IPFW as he netted a season-high 24 points (one off of his career high) and grabbed 11 rebounds … He registered his fifth of the season in Notre Dame’s win over Wofford as he scored 12 points and grabbed 11 boards … Francis has scored in double figures in 56 career games, netted 20-plus points in 21 contests and registered 27 career double-doubles (good for 10th in school history).

The Irish All-Time:
The 2005-06 men’s basketball campaign marks the 101st season of basketball and 11th as a member of the BIG EAST Conference … In 100-plus seasons, Irish teams have posted a 1574-865 record for a .645 winning percentage … In BIG EAST play, Notre Dame owns an 84-84 record all-time in conference regular-season play.

The Captains:
Guard Chris Quinn and forward Torin Francis have been named captains for the 2005-06 season, marking the second straight year that the two have served as captains … The duo becomes the 11th and 12th players to serve as two-time captains.

Postseason Trend:
Since 2000, Notre Dame has appeared in either the NCAA or NIT tournaments each of the last six years … The Irish played in the 2000 NIT and then earned three consecutive NCAA tournament berths – 2001, ’02 and ’03 – followed by NIT appearances in ’04 and ’05 … This is the longest stretch of postseason appearances for Irish teams since making eight consecutive postseason trips from 1983-90 – (NIT in 1983 and ’84 and NCAA from 1985-90).

December Delight:
Notre Dame posted a 7-1 record during the month of December … It marked the most wins under head coach Mike Brey that an Irish team had won during the month of December as well being the most games played … Notre Dame’s best record under Brey during the month of December was 6-0 during the 2002-03 campaign.

Home Sweet Home:
Since the inaugural season in 1968-69 at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame owns a 451-136 record all-time for a .768 winning percentage … The Irish are 66-23 (.742) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s five seasons, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they own a 114-38 mark for a .750 winning percentage … Notre Dame’s 13-5 mark a year ago at home marked the seventh time in eight years that the Irish won 10 or more home games.

Welcome To The Club:
With his career-high 26-point performance against Michigan on Dec. 3, Chris Quinn became the 44th player in Notre Dame basketball history to score 1,000 career points … In 104 (he played in his 100th career game against Florida International) career outings, Quinn has scored 1,083 points for a 10.4 career scoring average.

Francis Gets To 1,000:
With his first basket of the game against Florida International on Dec. 10, Torin Francis became the 45th player in Notre Dame basketball history to score 1,000 points, joining teammate Chris Quinn who just a week earlier reached the mark against Michigan on December 3 … In 94 career games, Francis has scored 1,081 points and owns an 11.5 career scoring average.

1,000-Point Duo:
Teammates Chris Quinn and Torin Francis became the 44th and 45th players, respectively, in Notre Dame basketball history to reach the 1,000-point plateau … The senior co-captains reached the mark on successive Saturday outings … Francis has 1,081 career points in 94 outings for an 11.5 average, while Quinn has scored 1,083 points in 104 games in an Irish uniform for a 10.4 career average … The last time two players from the same class scored 1,000 points was Notre Dame’s Class of 2002 – Troy Murphy and David Graves … Murphy had reached the 1,000-point mark in his sophomore season and finished his career with 2,011 points before leaving after his junior year for the NBA … In 94 career games, he averaged 21.4 points per game … Graves finished his career with 1,746 points and reached the 1,000-point mark in his junior year (2000-01), the same season that Murphy topped the 2,000-point mark.

Quinn and Francis In Elite Company:
Senior forward Torin Francis collected his 700th career rebound in the season opener verus Lafayette … With 1,081 points, he is the 13th player in Notre Dame history to collect 1,000 career points and 700 career rebounds, joining this select company:

* Adrian Dantley (2,223 points, 843 rebounds)
* Pat Garrity (2,085 points, 776 rebounds)
* Troy Murphy (2,011 points, 924 rebounds)
* Tom Hawkins (1,820 points, 1,318 rebounds)
* Bob Arnzen (1,665 points, 944 rebounds)
* Bob Whitmore (1,580 points, 1,043 rebounds)
* LaPhonso Ellis (1,505 points, 1,075 rebounds)
* Collis Jones (1,367 points, 884 rebounds)
* Ron Reed (1,153 points, 872 rebounds)
* Gary Novak (1,103 points, 736 rebounds)
* Walt Sahm (1,077 points, 1,146 rebounds)
* Keith Robinson (1,073 points, 713 rebounds)

Francis’ classmate Chris Quinn also hit a milestone in the season-opening win over Lafayette, dishing out his 250th career assist … With 1,083 career points to his credit, the Dublin, Ohio, native is the ninth player in Notre Dame history to score 1,000 points and hand out 250 assists, entering into this select company:

* Chris Thomas (2,195 points, 833 assists)
* David Rivers (2,058 points, 586 assists)
* Matt Carroll (1,850 points, 314 assists)
* David Graves (1,746 points, 340 assists)
* Elmer Bennett (1,488 points, 516 assists)
* John Paxson (1,366 points, 411 assists)
* Ryan Hoover (1,269 points, 264 assists)
* Rich Branning (1,232 points, 466 assists)

Shuffling The Starting Five:
Through the first nine games of this season, Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey has used four different starting lineups, each with varying results … Senior forward Torin Francis and junior guards Colin Falls and Russell Carter have been mainstays in the Irish starting lineups … Interestingly, when freshman Luke Zeller is in the starting lineup, Notre Dame has gone 5-0.

Lineup Record
Quinn, Falls, Carter, Kurz, Francis 2-2
Quinn, Falls, Carter, Zeller, Francis 5-0
McAlarney, Falls, Carter, Zeller, Francis 1-0
Quinn, Falls. Carter. Cornett, Francis 1-0

Where Charity Prevails:
Notre Dame’s converted a season-high 89.5 percent from the foul line against IPFW as the Irish connected on 17 of 19 attempts … After shooting just 53.8 percent from the line in the third game of the season against North Carolina State, the Irish are 122-162 from the charity (75.3 percent) … The 45 free throws attempted by Notre Dame in their win over Columbia constitute a high mark in the Mike Brey era … As a team, Notre Dame is 178-241 (73.9 percent), while opponents are 100-148 (67.6 percent).

Falls Ends Shooting Slump:
Junior sharpshooter Colin Falls, who led the Irish with 93 three-point field goals in 2004-05, was in the midst of a shooting slump heading into the Alabama game … In the two previous outings against North Carolina State and Michigan, he was a combined 1-12 (.083) from the field and 1-11 (.090) from three-point range (.090) … He was held scoreless in the loss to Michigan marking the eighth time in 68 career outings that he did not score a point … With just three points in the previous outings against North Carolina State, it marked his lowest two-game point total since being held scoreless in back-to-back games against Providence and UCLA during his freshman season … Against Alabama, he scored 24 points, connecting on 7-17 from the field and 7-14 from three-point range … In the win over Florida International, he was 5-9 from the field and 3-6 from three-point range en route to scoring 13 points and was 6-16 from the field against IPFW and 3-7 from three-point range as he scored 15 points in 36 minutes.

Hitting The Boards:
Notre Dame owns a +6.3 advantage over its opponents on the boards as the Irish are averaging 39.3 rebounds per game, compared to just 33.0 by their opponents … Notre Dame has outrebounded eight of their last nine opponents and has been on the plus side of the rebounding in nine of 110 games this season … The only teams to outrebound the Irish are Hofstra (40-39) and Columbia (39-37), and the Irish won both games … Notre Dame has outrebounded five opponents – Lafayette (43-29), North Carolina State (38-27), IPFW (40-29), Fordham (43-31) and Wofford (37-26) by double digits … Notre Dame had a streak of outrebounding opponents come to an end at six games against Columbia … The last time an Irish team outrebounded at least six straight opponents was a stretch that spanned the 1999-00 and 2000-01 seasons when they bested nine straight teams on the boards: Georgetown (51-29), Rutgers (35-28), Miami (Fla.) (31-29), Michigan (30-26), Xavier (40-31), BYU (29-22), Penn State (38-25), Wake Forest (37-32) and Sacred Heart (48-33) … The Irish held Fordham to 13 defensive rebounds, the lowest total in the Mike Brey era.

New Faces In Irish Starting Lineup:
When the starting five took the court for Notre Dame’s season-opening game against Lafayette, two of the Irish players were relatively new additions to the starting lineup … Junior guard Russell Carter made just his second career start, while sophomore Rob Kurz was in the starting lineup for the first time in his collegiate career and has started four games overall this season … In contrast, the other three Irish starters – senior guard Chris Quinn, senior forward Torin Francis and junior guard Colin Falls – carried 166 combined starts into the 2005-06 opener … Freshman Luke Zeller has six games, while another rookie, Kyle McAlarney was in the starting five against IPFW in place of injured co-captain Chris Quinn … Senior Rick Cornett earned his second career start, and first of the season, in the Columbia game.

For The Defense:
Notre Dame’s defense has yielded just 676 points in its first 11 games for an average of 61.5 points per game … Last season, the Irish held opponents to just 64.1 points per contest, the fewest in head coach Mike Brey’s five seasons … Notre Dame has held three opponents to 50 points and under – (Hofstra, Florida International and Fordham).

McAlarney Magic:
Freshman Kyle McAlarney has played in all 11 games for the Irish and is averaging 7.8 points and 1.2 rebounds and is Notre Dame’s top scorer off the bench … In the last four games, he has scored in double figures, netting a career-high 16 points against Niagara, 14 points versus Columbia, 10 points against Fordham and 12 in the win over Wofford … McAlarney has enjoyed a stellar shooting performance in those three games shooting a combined 17-24 (.708) from the field and 12-19 (.632) from three-point range … His performance over the first two games of that stretch earned him BIG EAST Weekly honor roll honors.

Cornett Garners Second Career Start:
Rick Cornett earned his second career start in Notre Dame’s win over Columbia and finished the game with nine points in 15 minutes of action … Cornett’s only other career start was in an 82-69 victory at DePaul on December 14, 2003.

Tough Enough:
Notre Dame’s 2005-06 schedule features five teams – Connecticut, Louisville, Alabama, West Virginia and Syracuse – that began the season ranked in the top 25 … In addition, Notre Dame will take on eight teams that played in the 2005 NCAA Tournament – North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Louisville and Connecticut.

Junior guard Russell Carter has now been in the starting lineup in 12 straight games for the Irish dating back to last season … He has been in the starting lineup for each of Notre Dame’s 11 contests and earned his first career start in the first round NIT matchup against Holy Cross in what was the final game of the season … He has posted six double-figure scoring efforts, including a stretch of three in four outings with 11 points againstAlabma, Florida International and IPFW wins … He also has netted 10-plus points in five of the last seven games … Carter has responded to his new role and is averaging 9.5 points and 4.5 rebounds.

Big Luke:
Freshman Luke Zeller has performed well for the Irish in his first 11 collegiate games and is averaging 5.1 points and 4.8 rebounds … He keyed Notre Dame’s victory over Hofstra when he scored six points and grabbed nine rebounds (eight in the second half) and was instrumental in the Irish second-half comeback against Michigan with two three-pointers as he finished with eight points and grabbed six rebounds in 23 minutes of action … He was held scoreless and without a rebound in the first half against Niagara, but responded with four points and seven boards in the final stanza … He chipped in three offensive rebounds en route to a five-board night against Columbia … Against Fordham, he scored a career-high 11 points and was one rebound away from being the first Notre Dame freshman to record a double-double since Torin Francis in 2002-03.

Hot Stuff:
Notre Dame shot a season-best 55.2 percent from the field against Niagara on Dec. 21 … The Irish connected on 32-58 from the field and were 17-28 (.607) in the second half … It was also the best a Notre Dame team has shot since February 22, 2003 versus Virginia Tech (98-76 Irish victory) when that Irish squad was 36-65 from the field for 55.4 percent.

“B” Is For BIG And BIG EAST:
With its membership of 16 teams, The BIG EAST Conference is the largest Division I conference in the nation … The new additions are Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette and South Florida.

Irish Set For Three Repeat Games In BIG EAST Play:
Notre Dame will play DePaul, Marquette and Providence twice (both home and away) as part of its BIG EAST Conference regular-season 16-game slate during the 2005-06 campaign … Playing under a straight divisional format with 16 teams this year, Notre Dame will play 10 opponents once, but will not face either Cincinnati or St. John’s during the regular season.

Road Warriors:
In Mike Brey’s five seasons, his Irish teams have compiled a road record of 44-35 (.557) … That includes a 28-24 mark (.538) in true road games and a 15-11 (.577) record in neutral site contests.

BIG EAST Road Warriors:
Over the past five seasons, four teams have compiled winning road records in BIG EAST league games … Pittsburgh is the leader with a 24-16 mark, Connecticut and Syracuse at 22-18, while Notre Dame is 21-19.

BIG EAST Distinction:
Notre Dame and Syracuse are the only two schools to post winning conference records in BIG EAST play each of the last five seasons … Notre Dame has gone 11-5 (2000-01), 10-6 (2001-02), 10-6 (2002-03), 9-7 (2003-04) and 9-7 (2004-05), while Syracuse has posted marks of 10-6 (2001-01), 9-7 (2001-02), 13-3 (2002-03), 11-5 (2003-04) and 11-5 (2004-05).

BIG EAST Formula For Success Under Brey:
Since his arrival at Notre Dame, Brey has led Notre Dame to a 49-31 (.605) record in BIG EAST regular-season games and a 2-5 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 51-36 (.586) 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 have a 35-53 (.398) regular-season record since joining the league in 1995-96.

Not So Lucky:
Notre Dame is the only team from one of the six major conferences to have a winning record in league play each of the past two seasons yet fail to make the NCAA Tournament … 20 teams from the Big Six (ACC, BIG EAST, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC) had a winning record in both 2003-04 and ’04-05, while 19 other schools made the tournament both seasons.

Keeping It Close:
In the 58 losses suffered by Irish teams in Mike Brey’s four seasons, only 16 have been by 10 or more points and have been by a combined 415 points for an average of 7.2 points … Notre Dame’s biggest losses have been on the road at Pittsburgh (72-55 on January 6, 2003) and against Arizona (88-71 on March 27, 2003) in the 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’s 11 losses during the 2001-02 season were by a combined 49 points for an average margin of defeat of 4.5 points … Only one loss that season (versus Georgetown at the Joyce Center) was by double figures, while eight of those setbacks were by five or less points.

Down To The Wire:
Five of Notre Dame’s 29 games in 2004-05 were decided by a single point … The Irish were 3-2 in those contests … Notre Dame teams are 9-4 overall during Mike Brey’s tenure in one-point games … Thirteen of Notre Dame’s 17 BIG EAST contests last season were decided by less than 10 points.

Key Runs Help Irish In First Two Wins:
In each of Notre Dame’s first two games, it was key runs in either the first or second halves that have ignited the Irish …. vs. Lafayette: The Leopards led 23-22 with 8:11 in the first half, but Notre Dame closes out the first half with a 17-3 run for a 39-26 halftime advantage.

vs. Hofstra: After trailing 33-29 at the break, Notre Dame has a 49-43 advantage with 11:35 remaining in the game … The Irish then use a 17-5 run to open up a 66-48 lead with 4:21 remaining … Notre Dame holds the Pride scoreless in the final 3:21 of the contest.

219 And Counting:
Heading into the tonight’s game against Pittsburgh, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 219 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 January 12, 1999 as Notre Dame finished 0-7 from beyond the arc in the game.

Irish Among Best In Wins Average:
Over the last six years, Notre Dame is one of 25 teams nationally that has averaged better than 20 wins per season … The Irish have compiled a 123-71 record for a .634 winning percentage after finishing 22-15 (1999-2000), 20-10 (2000-01), 21-11 (2001-02), 24-10 (2002-03), 19-13 (2003-04) and 17-12 (2004-05).

Over The Century Mark:
Notre Dame has scored 100-plus points five times during the Mike Brey era … The last 100-point effort by an Irish team was in a 101-96 overtime decision at Boston College on Jan. 25, 2003.

Threes Fall For Falls:
In 72 career outings, 162 of Colin Falls’ 189 field goals have come from three-point range … That translates into a 85.7 percent … Thirty-two of his 41 of his field goals this season have come from three-point range (78.0) … Overall during his career, he has connected on 162 of 406 three-point attempts for a 39.9 accuracy from the field.

Another Way To Get His Three Points:
While Colin Falls is considered Notre Dame’s three-point threat and leads the team in three-point field goals, the junior sharpshooter has also found another way to get his three points … In 2004-05, Falls was fouled a total of 16 times while shooting from beyond the arc and converted on 43-48 (.896) of his free-throw attempts … This season, he was fouled twice in the Hofstra game and made 4-6 from the charity stripe.

Irish Roll Under Brey In November:
Under head coach Mike Brey, the Irish are 21-2 (.913) all-time in games played during the month of November … The first November loss was to Creighton 80-75 in the championship game of the Guardians Classic on Nov. 26, 2002 and the second was to North Carolina State 61-48 in the John R. Wooden Tradition on Nov. 26, 2005.

Kurz Earns BIG EAST Honor Roll Honors:
Rob Kurz was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for the week of Nov. 21 after finishing with career bests of 18 points and eight rebounds in Notre Dame’s 84-66 win over Lafayette … Kurz played a career-high 25 minutes in the game and shot 8-10 from the field.

Francis Earns BIG EAST Honor Roll Honors Twice:
Senior Torin Francis has been named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll in consecutive weeks … He earned the recognition for the first time the week of Dec. 12 after averaging 15.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in wins over Alabama and Florida International … Against the Crimson Tide, he scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds and followed up that performance with 16 points, seven rebounds, three blocked shots, two steals and two assists versus the Golden Panthers … Francis also was named to the honor roll this week after scoring 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds against IPFW in Notre Dame’s 65-63 win.

McDonald’s All-Americans:
Notre Dame’s 2005-06 team features two McDonald’s High School All-Americans – Torin Francis and Luke Zeller … A total of 15 players who have donned an Irish uniform have been McDonald’s All-Americans … Zeller, a freshman from Washington, Ind., is the most recent McDonald’s All-American, following Francis who earned McDonald’s accolades in 2002 … Francis also was named the recipient of the Morgan Wootten Award as the McDonald’s National Boys Player of the Year … Zeller played his McDonald’s All-American game at the Joyce Center on March 30, 2005 … Former Irish players who were also McDonald’s All-Americans include: Tim Andre (1979-83), Ken Barlow (1982-86), LaPhonso Ellis (1988-92), Ryan Humphrey (2000-02), Tracy Jackson (1973-77), Tim Kempton (1982-86), Dan Miller (2001-03), John Paxson (1979-83), David Rivers (1984-88), Keith Robinson (1986-90), Tom Sluby (1980-84), Barry Spencer (1980-84), Chris Thomas (2001-05), Torin Francis (2002-present) and Luke Zeller (2005-present).

Mr. Indiana:
When former standout Chris Thomas (2001-05) entered Notre Dame in the fall of 2001, he became the first Mr. Indiana Basketball to play for the Irish. Thomas, who graduated in May of 2005 and finished as the school’s career leader in nine categories, earned the honor in 2001, History repeated itself four years later when current freshman Luke Zeller copped the state’s top honor in 2005.

Irish Sign Two In Early Signing Period:
Irish head coach Mike Brey signed two players during the early signing period on Wed., Nov. 9 – Luke Harangody (Schererville, Ind.) and Tory Jackson (Saginaw, Mich.), Harangody, a 6-8, 250-pound forward attends Andrean High School in Merriville, Ind … As a junior, he led his team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 23.2 points and 12.3 rebounds … He ranked 11th and third, respectively, in scoring and rebounding among all Indiana players in his junior season … Named the 2005 Post Tribune Northwest and The Times Northwest Player of the Year, he led Andrean to a 21-3 record and to the Gary (Ind.) Class 3A sectional championship … Jackson, a 5-10, 175-pound guard, was named the ’05 Michigan Class C Player of the Year and was a unanimous all-state selection … He paced his Buena Vista High School team to a 17-6 record in ’04-’05 while averaging 30.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 3.0 steals … This past summer, he played for the Blue Team which garnered the silver medal at the ’05 Youth Development Festival as his squad finished with a 3-1 mark.

All In The Families:
Sophomore Rob Kurz’ sister Laura is a sophomore on the Duke women’s basketball team … Freshman 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.

Omari Isreal Leaves Program:
Junior forward Omari Isreal left the Irish basketball program on November 11 and will transfer to Loyola College … As a sophomore last season, he averaged 1.4 points and 1.8 rebounds … He missed the 2003-04 campaign, his freshman season, while recovering from knee surgery for an ACL injury suffered in the final season of his prep career.

Kevin White Radio Show:
Look for the Kevin White Radio Show on ESPN 1000 AM radio in Chicago … The hour-long show, which debuted on Sept. 4, is in its sixth season and will run for 30 weeks throughout the year.

Guests regularly will include familiar names from all facets of college athletics … The show features White, Notre Dame’s director of athletics, and ESPN 1000’s Dave Juday … It can be heard regularly at 11:00 p.m. Central time on Sunday evenings … ESPN 1000 in Chicago can be heard in more than 30 states around the country.

Sponsors of the show include Gatorade, Xerox, adidas, Comcast, McDonald’s, Chase, Coca-Cola, Sirius Satellite Radio, Jordan Industries and Sayers Computer Source.

Notre Dame Basketball Radio Show:
Logan’s Roadhouse Restaurant in Mishawaka will once again be the site of the Notre Dame Basketball Radio Show during the 2005-06 season featuring Irish coach Mike Brey and a player each week … The 30-minute radio show will be broadcast live on Monday nights on WZOW 97.7 FM and 103.3 FM and will run 10 times during the year beginning at 7:00 p.m. … The remaining dates of the show are Dec. 19, Jan. 9, Jan. 16. Jan. 23, Jan. 30, Feb. 6, Feb. 13 and Feb. 27 … Jack Nolan once again will serve as the show’s host.

Inside Irish Basketball With Mike Brey:
The University of Notre Dame and Notre Dame Sports Properties once again will combine to create “Inside Irish Basketball with Mike Brey.” … The show will be available to network and cable affiliates across the country in 2005-06 … It will air throughout the season and will be produced and distributed by Notre Dame Sports Properties … Jack Nolan of WNDU will once again serve as the host … Nolan and Irish head coach Mike Brey will recap games from the previous week, in addition to previewing upcoming opponents on the schedule … The scheduled airing dates for the show are: Dec. 6, Dec. 13, Dec. 20, Jan. 10, Jan. 17, Jan. 24, Jan. 31, Feb. 7, Feb. 14, Feb. 21, Feb. 28, Mar. 7 and Mar. 14.

Irish Successful On And Off The Court:
The University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team is enjoying success both on the court and in the classroom this season … The 12 members of the Irish basketball program combined to produce a 3.244 grade-point average during the 2005 fall semester – its highest GPA ever and the fourth straight semester the team has been over a 3.000 grade index … It also was the first time that the Irish had a team average of better than 3.200.

Nine members of the team were over a 3.000 grade-point average – Ryan Ayers (3.250), Russell Carter (3.083), Rick Cornett (3.250), Colin Falls (3.333), Zach Hillesland (3.500), Chris Murphy (3.400), Kieran Piller (3.600), Chris Quinn (3.833) and Luke Zeller (3.400).