Kyle McAlarney has scored 30-plus points in two of the first six BIG EAST games.

No. 21 Irish Look To Keep Win Streak Alive Against Pilots

Dec. 18, 2006

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#21/- Notre Dame (8-1, 0-0 BIG EAST)
Portland (2-10, 0-0 West Coast)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 * 7:30 p.m. (EST)
Joyce Center (11,418) * Notre Dame, Ind.

Television: None

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., Sirius Satellite Radio 159 and

Real-Time Stats: Live in-game statistics are available for all home games via the Notre Dame athletic website (

Notre Dame vs. Portland:
Notre Dame looks to improve on its seven-game win streak tonight against Portland. A win tonight against the Pilots would match the longest win streak for the Irish since the 2002-03 campaign when that Irish team rattled off eight straight victories en route to a 12-1 start. Notre Dame returned from a nine-day hiatus and final exams on Saturday night to post a 94-63 victory over Elon. It marked the sixth time this season that the Irish topped 90-plus points. The Irish currently are ranked 21st in the Associated Press poll and are ranked for the first time since the first week of December in 2004. Notre Dame’s only setback is a two-point decision to eventual NIT champion Butler (71-69) in the first round of the Midwest Region of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Irish are averaging 86.2 points per game (10th in the nation) and have topped the 90-point mark four times and scored 80-plus points six times. Notre Dame is 6-0 at home this season and owns a eight-game home winning streak dating back to last season.

Note The Change:
The Notre Dame-Louisville game on Wed., Jan. 3 has moved from a 7:30 p.m. start time to a 6:00 p.m. (EST) tip-off.

Falls Sidelined:
Colin Falls missed the first game of his career against Elon on Saturday night after undergoing shock wave therapy on Dec. 8. The procedure was done to treat plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Prior to the contest, Falls had played in all 99 games of his career and made 60 consecutive starts (he has started 68 in three-plus seasons). He is expected to miss tonight’s game against Portland and is questionable for Thursday’s contest against Army.

Out Of The Gate:
Notre Dame’s 8-1 start is the best for the Irish since the 2002-03 campaign when that Irish squad began the season 12-1 en route to a 24-10 campaign and NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance.

Points A Plenty:
After nine contests, Notre Dame is averaging 87.1 points game (good for 10th nationally in scoring offense). The Irish rank ninth in margin of victory at 22.2 points per game, During its recent seven-game win streak, Notre Dame’s average margin of victory is 22.7 points per game.

Back In The Polls
Notre Dame entered the polls for the first time this season at No. 21 in the Associated Press ranking this week, marking the first time since the first week of December of 2004 that it has earned a top-25 ranking. The Irish were never ranked after that point of the 2004-05 and were not ranked at all during the 2005-06 campaign. This week’s appearance in the AP poll marks the fifth time in seven seasons under head coach Mike Brey that his team has been ranked at some point during a season.

Brey Receives Honorary Monogram:
Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey received an honorary monogram from the Notre Dame Monogram Club at the Athletic Department’s Christmas Party on Dec. 14. Honorary monograms are occasionally awarded to people who have provided exceptional service to the University, whereby extending invitations to them to be members of the Notre Dame Monogram Club. Recipients – whose identities are traditionally kept a secret until the actual ceremonies – are presented with a scroll and blue blazer adorned with the Monogram Club logo. The select group of honorary monogram winners includes such notables as the late Pope John Paul II and United States President Ronald Reagan; former University president Rev. Ted Hesburgh, C.S.C.; television personality Regis Philbin; and national-championship football coaches Ara Parseghian and Lou Holtz.

A Different Story:
Notre Dame’s 81-74 win against No. 23/19 Maryland on Dec. 3 snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Irish against ranked opponents. Four nights later, on Dec. 7, Notre Dame crafted a 99-85 victory against No. 4/5 Alabama at the Joyce Center for its first win over a top-10 team since the 2004-05 campaign. Notre Dame faced eight ranked foes a year ago and were just 1-7 versus those opponents.

  • @ Alabama (22/21) – W, 78-71
  • @ Pittsburgh (22/20) – L, 97-100 (2OT)
  • vs. Syracuse (-/24) – L, 82-88
  • vs. Georgetown (21/-) – L, 82-85 (2OT)
  • vs. Villanova (6/6) – L, 70-72
  • @ West Virginia (11/11) – L, 70-71
  • @ Connecticut(3/4) – L, 74-75 (OT)
  • vs. Georgetown (23/20) – L, 63-67 (BIG EAST Tournament)

Irish Enjoy Back-To-Back Wins Versus Ranked Foes:
The last time Notre Dame faced back-to-back ranked opponents was last season during the 2005-06 campaign when the Irish played three consecutive ranked foes – Georgetown, Villanova and West Virginia. Their two consecutive wins over ranked foes Maryland and Alabama are the first back-to-back wins over ranked opponents since the 2002-03 campaign when that Irish squad put together a three-game win streak in the span of six days:

  • vs. Marquette (13/10) 92-71 (12/2/02)
  • vs. Maryland (9/8) 79-67 (12/7/02) – BB&T Classic First Round
  • vs. Texas (2/2) 98-92 (12/8/02) – BB&T Classic Championship Game

Irish Love The BB&T Classic:
With its win over Maryland (81-74) at the BB&T Classic on Dec. 3, Notre Dame improved to 3-0 overall in the event. The Irish won the title in December of 2002 by knocking off the 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 dispatching 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’s win against Maryland at the Verizon Center on Dec. 3 pushed the Irish record to 8-2 all-time in games played at the Verizon Center (formerly the MCI Center). On Sunday, the Irish were 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 6-1 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. Notre Dame is scheduled to return to the Verizon Center on Sat., Jan. 6 against Georgetown in the second game of the BIG EAST regular season.

Winning Impressively:
Five of Notre Dame’s eighth victories have been by 24 or more points as the Irish are outscoring their opponents by a +22.2 margin (87.1 to 64.9). Coach Mike Brey’s squad has posted wins of 30-plus points in four games – IPFW (92-49), Lafayette (92-60), Winston-Salem (90-45) and Elon (94-63). The 45-point win over Winston-Salem St. on Nov. 29 was the largest margin of victory since a 99-53 win (46 points) over New Hampshire on Nov. 16, 2001. The 99 points scored by Notre Dame in its victory over Alabama were the most by an Irish team over a top-10 opponent since Feb. 15, 1992 in a 101-98 victory at No. 10 Syracuse.

Big Win:
Notre Dame’s 14-point margin of victory in its win over Alabama was the fifth-largest by an Irish team over a top-five opponent (ranked in the Associated Press poll).

  • 21 pts. 3/5/55 85-64 @ No. 4 Marquette (ND unranked)
  • 20 pts. 3/19/78 84-64 vs. No. 3 DePaul – NCAA Third Round (ND was No. 6)
  • 31 pts. 3/3/90 98-67 vs. No. 3 Missouri (ND unranked)
  • 16 pts. 2/5/94 79-63 vs. No. 4 UCLA (ND unranked)
  • 14 pts. 12/7/96 99-85 vs. No. 4 Alabama (ND unranked)

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.

vs. Butler: 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.

vs. Lafayette: 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 are some of the impressive 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.

The Captains:
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.

Early Start:
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) on Nov. 13 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 1589-878 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).

Key Runs:
Notre Dame has used key second-half runs and exploded for 52 and 50 points respectively in the second 20-minute stanza of each game in recent wins over Maryland and Alabama.

vs. Maryland: The Irish scored 52 second-half points, outscoring the Terrapins 52-42. Trailing 44-37, Notre Dame used a 25-7 run in a span of five minutes and turned the seven-point deficit into an 11-point advantage in just over five minutes.

vs. Alabama: Notre Dame outscored the Crimson Tide 50-36 in the second half after the two teams were knotted at 49-49 at the break. The Irish trailed by nine ponts with just over 11 minutes to play in the first half. Trailing 66-62 with 14:28 to play, Notre Dame took the lead for good at the 13:23 mark and used an 18-9 run to open up a 10-point advantage with five minutes remaining in the contest. Alabama cut the deficit to three (85-82) with 3:02 to play, but closed out the game with a 14-3 run and led by as many as 17 (99-82) with 19 second left in the contest.

Carter, McAlarney Grab BIG EAST Honors In Same Week:
Russell Carter’s career-high 27-point performance in Notre Dame’s win over No. 4 Alabama earned him BIG EAST Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career (last season he was named to the conference’s weekly honor roll). Carter was 9-16 from the field and 6-11 from three-point range, in addition to grabbing five rebounds and making five steals. Kyle McAlarney was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for the second time in his career this week following his career-high 20-point outing againstAlabama as he finished 7-9 from the field and 4-6 from in back of the arc.

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.

Kurz Earns BIG EAST Honor Roll Recognition Twice:
For the second time in his career, junior Rob Kurz was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll after leading the Irish to a 3-0 week in wins over Lehigh, Winston-Salem St. and Maryland. Kurz averaged 19.6 points and 7.7 rebounds and shot 72.7 percent from the field (16-22). He also was named to the honor roll after scoring 16 points and grabbing 12 rebounds against Elon. Kurz also had seven assists and four blocked shots in the game.

Hard-NOSEd Player:
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.

Going Overtime:
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 eight games, freshman Luke Harangody is fourth on the team in scoring (12.1) and second in rebounding (5.3). He has scored in double figures six of nine games and 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 registered his second double-double of the season against Elon as he finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Harangody is shooting 53.8 percent from the field (42-78) and 86.2 percent (25-28) 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.

Hot Shooting:
Notre Dame is shooting 50.5 percent from the field (267-529) and 38.9 percent from three-point range (77-198) following nine games. The Irish have shot better than 50.0 percent from the field in five games this season (54.0 percent (34-63) vs. IPFW, 58.3 percent (35-60) against Lafayette, 54.5 percent (30-55) vs. Lehigh, 57.1 percent (32-56) against Winston-Salem St. and 51.6 percent (32-62) vs. Alabama. 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 Maryland, Notre Dame shot a season-low 43.1 percent (25-58).

Board Dominance:
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 40.3 to 29.6 for a +10.7 advantage. The Irish outrebounded each of its first seven opponents – IPFW (54-28), Butler (29-24), Lafayette (35-23), The Citadel (40-34), Lehigh (32-24), Winston-Salem St. (46-25) and Maryland (40-37) before being outrebounded 45-32 against Alabama. Notre Dame ranks 22nd nationally in rebounding margin. The Irish owned a +25 advantage (55-30) on the boards against Elon.

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. Portland:
Notre Dame and Portland will be meeting for the fourth time with the Irish leading the series 4-0. This will be the third time the two teams have played a game at Notre Dame and the second visit ever for the Pilots to the Joyce Center. The two teams last played on Dec. 22, 1990 as Notre Dame came away with an 84-61 victory.

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 shot 75.0 percent (15-20) from the field and was 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.

245 And Counting:
Heading into tonight’s game against Portland, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 245 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 19.3 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 0.65 assist-to-basket ratio (174 assists on 267 baskets). The Irish rank eighth nationally at 19.0 assists per game. Eight players have 10 or more assists.

Who’s It Going To Be This Time:
Four players are averaging double figures for the Irish this season. Russell Carter leads the team with a 17.1 scoring average, followed by Rob Kurz (15.3), Colin Falls (13.8) and Luke Harangody (12.1). Kyle McAlarney is nearly averaging double figures as he has a 9.6 scoring average. Through the first nine games, five different players have led the Irish in scoring this season. Carter has led the Irish in the scoring column on four occasions, while Harangody and Kurz have been the top scorers twice. Falls and McAlarney each have been the leading scorers in one game.

Home Sweet Home:
Since the inaugural season in 1968-69 at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame owns a 462-141 record all-time for a .766 winning percentage. The Irish are 77-27 (.740) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s six-plus seasons, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they own a 125-42 mark for a .749 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.

Almost Perfect:
Rob Kurz leads the team in free-throw percentage and ranks 11th nationally as he is shooting 91.8 percent from the charity stripe (45-49). He missed two free throws in the Elon game which ended a string of 30 consecutive made. Prior to that, had not missed an attempt since his last attempt of the first half against Lehigh. In the win over the Leopards, he was 10-10 from the line in the second half and followed that up by going 8-8 versus Winston-Salem St. and was 4-4 from the line in both games against Maryland and Alabama. He is Notre Dame’s best free-throw shooter in the last five minutes of the game having converted all eight of his attempts.

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 Nov. 29. Falls has 1,037 career points for a 10.5 career scoring average. He has played in 99 career outings and started 68.

Free Falls-ing:
In 99 career outings, 252 of Colin Falls’ 304 career field goals have come from three-point range which translates into an 82.9 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 252 of 633 three-point field goal attempts for a 39.8 percent accuracy from the field. Falls needs 51 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 five times (once verus Butler and twice against Lehigh and Alabama) and has connected on 13-15 attempts. In his career he is 75-87 (.862) from the line after getting fouled while shooting a three-pointer.

Road Warriors:
In Mike Brey’s six-plus seasons, his Irish teams have compiled a road record of 49-44 (.527) that includes a 32-31 mark (.507) in true road games and a 17-13 (.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.

Frontcourt Efficiency:
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 60.7 percent from the field (128-211). Zach Hillesland has missed just six shots for a 73.9 shooting percentage as he has connected on 17-23; Luke Zeller is shooting 73.9 percent as he has made 26-38 from the field; Rob Kurz has made 43 of his 71 shot attempts for a 59.7 percent accuracy and Luke Harangody has connected on 442-78 from the field, good for 53.8 percent.

Home Grown:
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).

There’s a New Guy In Town:
There’s 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).

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.

Men In Black:
Against Seton Hall on Feb. 18, 2006, Notre Dame wore black uniforms with kelly green and white trim, marking the first time in school history that any Irish athletic team had worn black uniforms. Since that time the Irish have worn the black uniforms on seven occasions and a 4-3 all-time. Notre Dame wore black for the first time this season in the Dec. 3 win over Maryland.

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.

Irish Sign Four:
Irish head coach Mike Brey signed four high school prep players to national letters of intent during the November early signing period. Set to enroll at Notre Dame in the fall of 2007 are forward Tim Abromaitis (Farmington, Conn.), guard Tyrone Nash (Queens, N.Y.), guard Ty Proffitt (London, Ky.) and forward Carleton Scott (San Antonio, Texas).