Jerian Grant and Mike Brey are aiming for Notre Dame's first appearance in a regional semifinal since 2003.

No. 3 Notre Dame And No. 6 Butler Meet for Berth In Midwest Region Semifinals

March 20, 2015

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  • No. 3 seed Notre Dame (30-5, 14-4 ACC) will be vying for its first appearance in a regional semifinal since 2003 when the Irish face No. 6 seed Butler (23-10, 12-6 BIG EAST) in its Midwest Region third-round matchup in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Tip-off is slated for 9:40 p.m. (ET) inside the CONSOL Energy Center.
  • Saturday’s contest can be seen on TBS with Brian Anderson (play-by-play), Steve Smith (analyst) and Lewis Johnson (reporter) on the call.
  • Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Torrian Jones (analyst) will be on the Notre Dame radio call. The broadcast can be heard on The Notre Basketball Radio Network headed by WSBT 96.1 FM and 960 AM in South Bend. A complete affiliate list is available on page 3 of this notes packet. The broadcast also is available on Sirius 84/XM 201 (national feed).
  • Notre Dame advanced to the third round of the Midwest Region by virtue of its 69-65 victory over No. 13 seed Northeastern, while Butler earned a 56-48 win over No. 11 seed Texas on Thursday afternoon.
  • The win over the Huskies marked the 30th win of the season for the Irish. It’s the most wins ever in the modern for a Notre Dame team and the second 30-win campaign in program history. The last time an Irish team had more wins was in 1908-09 when that squad compiled a 33-7 mark.
  • The victory also was Notre Dame first NCAA Championship tournament win since 2011.


  • The Fighting Irish are making their 34th appearance in the NCAA Championship. Notre Dame boasts an all-time record of 32-37 in the tournament.
  • This is Notre Dame’s fourth trip in the last five seasons and the 10th appearance in 15 campaigns under head coach Mike Brey. Brey has a 7-9 NCAA Championship record during his Notre Dame tenure.
  • Prior to Thursday’s win, Notre Dame had not won an NCAA tournament game since 2011 when the No. 2 seed Irish defeated No. 15 seed Akron in a second-round Southwest Region matchup at the United Center.


  • Notre Dame senior forward Pat Connaughton will play in a Notre Dame record 137th career game on Saturday.
  • In Thursday’s game against Northeastern, Connaughton tied Tory Jackson’s (2006-10) career games played mark.
  • Connaughton also enters the game with 795 career rebounds, needing just five boards to become the 12th player in Notre Dame history to grab 800 rebounds.
  • With 1,434 points to his credit, he also would become the eighth player in Notre Dame history with 1,400 points and 800 rebounds.


  • This season’s 30 wins are the second-most in Notre Dame history. The program record is 33 victories in 1908-09 (33-7).
  • Notre Dame has won at least 25 games four times in the last eight seasons, including twice in the last three campaigns.


  • Notre Dame enters its third-round NCAA Tournament game against Butler riding a six-game win streak. Heading into Thursday’s contest versus Northeastern, the five-game winning streak was the longest for the program entering the NCAAs since the 1986-87 season. That year the Irish won their last nine regular-season games before entering the tournament. The Irish reached the Sweet 16 that year before losing to North Carolina.
  • This marked is the seventh time Notre Dame has had a winning streak of at least five games entering the NCAA Tournament. The longest such streak took place in 1953-54 prior to the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance. That year, Notre Dame won 16 in a row to close the regular season. That team won two games in the tournament and reached the Elite Eight.


  • With its 90-82 win over North Carolina in the title game of the ACC Tournament, Notre Dame won its first conference tourney in school history. The Fighting Irish played in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Tournament on six occasions, but never reached the championship game.
  • The Fighting Irish claimed the championship in their second year of membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference, becoming the first school outside of the league’s original membership to win the title in its first or second year in the ACC.
  • Notre Dame became the third team from outside North Carolina to win the tournament title in the Tar Heel state by defeating both UNC and Duke along the way, joining Maryland (1958) and Georgia Tech (1993).
  • Jerian Grant tallied 24 points and 10 assists versus the Tar Heels and was named tournament MVP. In three ACC Tournament games, Grant averaged 16.7 points and 6.3 assists.
  • Pat Connaughton and Steve Vasturia joined Grant on the all-tournament first team, while Demetrius Jackson was a second-team selection.
  • Grant (24) and Connaughton (20) both scored 20-plus points versus the Tar Heels. It was the second time during their careers that they both netted 20-plus points in the same contest (Delaware last season).


  • While 140 miles separate the Notre Dame and Butler campuses, this will mark the first meeting between the two schools since November 13, 2006 when the Bulldogs beat the Irish 71-69 in the first round of the Preseason National Invitation Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse.
  • Notre Dame leads the all-time series 71-69, but Butler has won the last six meetings.
  • The last win for the Irish in the series came at Notre Dame on Dec. 30, 1989 (76-69).


  • Butler is in its second year as a member of the BIG EAST Conference.
  • Prior to joining the Atlantic Coast Conference, Notre Dame was a member of the BIG EAST FROM 1995-2013.
  • During those 18 seassons, Irish teams compiled a 171-137 (.555) mark during the regular sason and 11-18 record in the tournament.
  • Notre Dame was 136-84 (.618) in the BIG EAST in regular season play and 10-13 (.435) in the tournament under head coach Mike Brey.
  • Brey’s 146 wins in the BIG EAST ranks fifth all-time.


  • The contest marked the second-ever meeting between the two schools.
  • The 69-65 victory over the Huskies was the 11th time this season the outcome was decided by five or less points (ND is 8-3 in those contests).
  • Notre Dame had 19 assists on its 27 field goals made. The 19 assists marked the ninth time this season that Notre Dame dished off at least 19 assists in a game.
  • The Irish shot 57.4 percent from the field (27-47), the 23rd time this season that they have shot better than 50.0 percent from the floor.
  • Notre Dame committed only seven turnovers in the game and forced 16. It was the 19th time this season that the Irish had 10 turnovers or less in a game.
  • Notre Dame connected on 2-6 from three-point range. The two three pointers matched a season low.
  • The Irish were outrebounded 33-17 in the game. The 17 rebounds were a season low. Notre Dame has now been outrebounded in seven straight games. Despite being outrebounded, the Irish are 6-1 in those contests.


  • Notre Dame and Butler were both participants in December in the fourth annual Crossroads Classic, but the two schools did not face each other in the event.
  • in the Crossroads Classic at the Conseco FieldNotre Dame and Northeastern both were participants in November’s Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament, but the Irish and Huskies did not face each other in that event.
  • The two programs have faced two common opponents this season (North Carolina and Providence). Notre Dame defeated the Tar Heels twice during the season (71-70 and 90-82), while Butler registered a 74-66 victory. The Irish lost to Providence 75-74 and the Bulldogs split with the Friars during the regular season, dropping a 66-62 decision at home and picking up a 68-64 victory on the road.


  • Notre Dame is 13-3 this season in games played away from Purcell Pavilion (7-2 road, 6-1 neutral). The 13 road/neutral wins are the most for the Irish since the 2001-02 season when they won 13 away from home (13-7).
  • Notre Dame finished its ACC road schedule with a 7-2 record. The Fighting Irish had never won six conference road games in a single campaign prior to this season.


  • Mike Brey has plenty of NCAA Championship experience both as a head coach and as an assistant coach. He has a 7-11 record in the NCAA Championship as a head coach (7-9 at Notre Dame) and is 6-4 in opening-round games with the Irish (6-6 all-time).
  • Thursday’s matchup with Northeastern, marked the 55th NCAA Championship contest that he has coached in. In 19 coaching appearances (as either a head coach or assistant coach), he is 38-16 (.703) with six Final Four appearances and two national titles as an assistant coach.
  • Brey reached the NCAA Tournament as an assistant at Duke from 1988-95. In that span, Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils posted a 31-5 mark that included Final Four berths in 1988, ’89, ’90, ’91, ’92 and ’94. From 1988-92, Duke reached the Final Four in five consecutive seasons and compiled a 25-3 record, including back-to-back national titles in ’91 and ’92.
  • As head coach at Delaware, he guided the Blue Hens to NCAA Tournament berths in 1998 and 1999.


  • Notre Dame and head coach Mike Brey defeated Mike Krzyzewski of Duke in the ACC semifinals and Roy Williams of North Carolina in the finals to win the ACC Championship. Both Krzyzewski and Williams are already in the Naismith Hall of Fame.
  • Brey became just the second coach to win the ACC Championship with two victories over coaches already in the Naismith Hall of Fame. Current Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton accomplished the feat at the 2012 ACC Tournament with wins over Duke and North Carolina.
  • Notre Dame has five wins this year over coaches who are already in the Naismith Hall of Fame. Brey and the Irish have two wins apiece over Krzyzewski and Williams and also defeated Rick Pitino and Louisville. In fact, Notre Dame has a five-game winning streak entering the NCAA Tournament and three of the five wins are over coaches in the Hall of Fame.


  • Notre Dame became just the third non-North Carolina school to defeat Duke and North Carolina in an ACC Tournament played in the Tar Heel State when it defeated Duke in the semifinals and North Carolina in the finals. The other schools to do it are Maryland in 1958 and Georgia Tech in 1993.
  • Notre Dame also defeated Duke and North Carolina during the regular season, so the Irish had two wins apiece over the Blue Devils and Tar Heels this year.
  • Notre Dame is just the third school in the last 20 seasons to beat Duke and North Carolina twice in the same season. Georgia Tech was 2-0 vs. both schools in 1995-96 and Florida State was 2-1 vs. Duke and 2-0 vs. North Carolina in 2011-12. The Seminoles also defeated Duke and North Carolina in winning the ACC Championship in 2012, but the tournament was not in the state of North Carolina.
  • Three of Notre Dame’s four total wins against Duke and North Carolina are away from home. Florida State is the only other school to accomplish that in the last 20 years.


  • This season’s 14-4 ACC mark matches Notre Dame’s top conference record. The Fighting Irish went 14-4 in BIG EAST play twice (2007-08 & 2010-11).
  • Notre Dame has won at least 10 conference games five times in the last six seasons.
  • Head coach Mike Brey has guided the Irish to at least 10 league wins in 10 of his 15 seasons in South Bend (nine times in the BIG EAST and once in the ACC).


  • Jerian Grant has had a hand in 42.7 percent of Notre Dame’s 2,749 points this season. He’s netted a team-high 588 points and his team-best 231 assists have led to 587 Fighting Irish points.
  • Grant has been involved in 155 of Notre Dame’s 283 made three pointers this season (54.7%). He has made 47 treys and he’s assisted on 108.
  • Grant has had a hand in 36 of Notre Dame’s 56 made three-pointers in the last eight games (64.2%). He has made six of those treys while assisting on 30.


  • Jerian Grant nothed 24 points and 10 assists against North Carolina in the title game of the ACC Tournament. That was the third time this season he’s posted at least 20 points and 10 assists in a game.
  • Grant has five double-doubles this season and nine during his career.
  • Grant leads the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.08), assists per game (6.6), total assists (225) and minutes played (1,243). He is second in the league in total points (571) and steals (57).
  • He ranks seventh nationally in assists per game (6.6) and ninth in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.08).
  • Grant has scored 20-plus points a team-best 11 times this season. He netted a career-high 27 points versus Michigan State (Dec. 3).
  • Grant posted 23 points and a career-high 12 assists in the 77-73 triumph of Duke on Jan. 28. His 12 assists were the most ever for an Irish player in an ACC game.
  • Grant’s 2.58 career assist-to-turnover ratio ranks fourth among active Division I players.


  • Jerian Grant is the only player in Notre Dame history with 1,600 points, 600 assists, 150 steals and 30 blocked shots.
  • In Fighting Irish history, Grant ranks third in assists (668), fifth in steals (171), sixth in games started (114) and 12th in points (1,699).


  • Jerian Grant is a finalist for the Naismith Player of the Year Trophy and he is on the midseason watch list for the John R. Wooden Award. He also is a finalist for the Oscar Robertson Trophy and the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award.
  • Mike Brey is a semifinalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award.


  • Senior Pat Connaughton has played in all 136 games during his career and has started all but 16 of those contests. In Thursday’s game against Northeastern, he tied Tory Jackson (2006-10) for first place in games played during a Notre Dame career.
  • Connaughton has started 117 consecutive games. He is the third player in Notre Dame history to start at least 100 straight games. Chris Thomas (2002-05) started all 128 games during his Fighting Irish career and Pat Garrity (1995-98) was in the starting lineup during all 111 contests of his career.


  • Pat Connaughton leads the Irish in rebounding (7.3 rpg.) and is second in scoring (12.7 ppg.).
  • Connaughton has a team-best eight double-doubles this season and his 15 career double-doubles are the most for any current Irish player.
  • Connaughton is 10th nationally in three-point percentage (.434). He is second in the ACC (36th nationally) in made three-pointers (89).
  • Connaughton ranks fifth in Notre Dame history in made three-pointers (264).
  • He is 32nd nationally (second in the ACC) in defensive rebounds per game (6.2).
  • Connaughton has 1,434 points and 795 rebounds during his Irish career. He needs five more boards to become the eighth player in Notre Dame history with 1,400 points and 800 rebounds.



  • The Fighting Irish are 5-0 after losses this season. The last Notre Dame team to not lose back-to-back games in the same campaign was the 1988-89 squad.


  • The Fighting Irish were 50-of-57 (.877) from the free throw line in the final two games of the ACC Tournament.
  • Jerian Grant set an ACC Tournament record for a championship game by making 15-of-18 free throws against North Carolina. The previous mark for free throws made in a championship game was 14 by Kyle Singler of Duke against Georgia Tech in 2010.
  • Grant made 28-of-31 free throws for the three games in the tournament. His 28 made free throws were the most in a tournament by any player since 1962 when Len Chappell of Wake Forest made 33.
  • Grant made his first 19 free throws of the tournament.
  • Grant shot 90.3 percent from the foul line for the tournament and many were in the clutch. In the wins over Duke and North Carolina he was a combined 10-of-12 from the line inside the last five minutes.


  • Notre Dame boasts the nation’s second-best field goal percentage (.512).
  • The Irish shot a season-best 66.0 percent from the field against Boston College (Feb. 21). It was the third time this season (first in ACC play) that Notre Dame shot 60 percent from the floor. Notre Dame has shot 50.0 percent or better in 22 of 34 games this season.


  • Notre Dame is third nationally in fewest turnovers per game (9.3) and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.63).
  • The Irish had a season-low four turnovers versus Michigan State (Dec. 3) and Clemson (March 7).


  • Notre Dame is 11th nationally (second in the ACC) in scoring (78.5 ppg.).
  • The Fighting Irish scored 80-plus points seven times in ACC regular-season play, which was tied with Duke for the most in the league.
  • The 90 points scored against North Carolina in the title game of the ACC Tournament were the most the Irish have ever netted in an ACC contest (regular season or tournament).
  • Notre Dame’s 78.5 points-per-game average this season is the highest since the Irish averaged 79.0 ppg. during the 2007-08 campaign.


  • Five Fighting Irish players are averaging at least 9.7 points per game this season – Jerian Grant (16.8), Zach Auguste (12.8), Pat Connaughton (12.7), Demetrius Jackson (12.4) and Steve Vasturia (9.5).
  • Notre Dame matched a season-best mark with six double-figure scorers in the win at Boston College (Feb. 21). The Irish also had six double-digit scorers versus Purdue (Dec. 20).
  • Notre Dame has had at least four players reach double-figures in 28 of 35 games this season.
  • The Fighting Irish have had five or more double-digit scorers on 12 occasions.
  • Six different Notre Dame players (Auguste, Colson, Connaughton, Grant, Jackson, Vasturia) led the team in scoring during an ACC game this season.



  • Notre Dame is 18th nationally in both made three-point field goals (283) and three-point field goal percentage (.392). Both of those marks lead the ACC.
  • The Fighting Irish are 24th nationally (first in the ACC) in three-pointers per game (8.0).
  • The Irish shot 42.0 percent (21-50) from three-point range in the ACC Tournament and held their three opponents to 24.6 percent (15-61).
  • Notre Dame has made 10 or more treys in a game 10 times this season. The Irish made a season-best 14 three-pointers (14-of-25) against Chicago State (Nov. 29).
  • Four Irish players are shooting 40.0 percent or higher from three-point range (min. 90 att.) – Pat Connaughton (43.6%), V.J. Beachem (42.4%), Demetrius Jackson (40.9%) and Steve Vasturia (40.9%).
  • Five Notre Dame players have made at least 42 treys this season – Connaughton (88), Vasturia (54), Jerian Grant (47), Jackson (47) and Beachem (42).


  • Junior forward Zach Auguste averaged 11.7 points and a team-best 9.3 rebounds per game in the ACC Tournament. He also had a team-high four blocked shots and was tied for the team lead in steals with six.
  • Versus North Carolina in the ACC title game, Auguste scored 16 points and pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds. That was his fourth double-double of the season.
  • In Notre Dame’s win over Northeastern, Auguste scored 25 points and grabbed five rebounds. It was the most points scored by an Irish player in an NCAA Tournament game since Torin Francis’ 25-point effort against Arizona in the regional semifinal in 2003.
  • Auguste has been perfect from the field three times this season – 9-9 vs. Coppin State, 7-7 vs. Northern Illinois, 5-5 vs. Grambling State. His performance against Coppin State tied a Notre Dame record for most field goals without a miss in a single game.
  • Auguste netted a career-high 26 points against Florida State (Dec. 13). Those are the most points ever scored by an Irish player in an ACC game. He made a career-best 11 field goals (on 15 attempts) versus the Seminoles. That was his third 20-plus point effort of the season.
  • Auguste is averaging 12.8 points per game after posting a 6.7 ppg. mark last season (+6.1).


  • Sophomore Demetrius Jackson has netted double-figures in five of the last six games. He is 29-of-50 (.580) from the field and 17-of-20 (.850) from the free throw line in those six contests.
  • He tallied 21 points in the win at Louisville (March 4). Those were the most points he’s ever scored in an ACC game.
  • Jackson ranks fifth in the ACC in steals (58).
  • He has posted a career-high 22 points twice this season (Michigan State & Purdue).
  • Jackson is averaging 12.5 points per game after notching a 6.0 mark last season (+6.5).


  • Sophomore guard Steve Vasturia has registered a double-digit point total nine times in the last 13` games. He has reached double-figures 18 times this season.
  • Vasturia averaged 13.0 points per game in the ACC Tournament. He was 13-of-25 from the field, including 7-of-14 from three-point range in the conference tournament. Vasturia also was 6-of-7 from the free throw line.


  • Freshman forward Bonzie Colson has registered a career-high point total four times in the last eight games. He tallied 16 points against Boston College (Feb. 21) and Syracuse (Feb. 24) before posting 17 points at Louisville (March 4) and then versus Duke in the ACC semifinals.
  • In the last five games, Colson is 16-of-24 (.667) from the field. In ACC regular-season play he shot a team-best 67.2 percent (41-61) from the floor.


  • Notre Dame has overcome a deficit of 10 points or larger en route to a victory six times this season (see breakdown on Pg. 5).
  • The Irish are 6-3 this season when trailing at halftime. All six wins came in ACC play.


  • The Irish are 7-3 this season in games decided by five points or less (6-2 in ACC play).
  • Thirteen of Notre Dame’s 21 ACC contests (regular season & tournament) were decided by eight points or less and the Irish were 10-3 in those games.
  • Last season, Notre Dame was 6-7 in games decided by five points or less.


  • With the victory over Duke in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament, head coach Mike Brey moved into second place on Notre Dame’s all-time wins list. He has compiled a 330-164 (.668) record in his 15 seasons in South Bend. Brey is second behind Digger Phelps on the Notre Dame wins list. Phelps posted a 393-197 record from 1971-91.
  • Brey has registered a 429-216 (.665) record in 20 seasons at Delaware and Notre Dame.


  • The University of Notre Dame athletics department will commemorate the legacy of long-time University president Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., in a number of ways. Father Hesburgh died February 26 at age 97. He served as University president from 1952-87.
  • Notre Dame athletic teams will wear “Fr. Ted” patches or stickers on some combination of their uniforms, warm-ups or helmets. Moments of silence will be observed prior to home events in each of Notre Dame’s 26 varsity sports.
  • In the near future, there will be commemorative signage created for each Notre Dame home athletic venue–to be featured either on the field or court itself or displayed elsewhere at the facility.


  • In early August, the Fighting Irish squad traveled to Italy for a 10-day, four-game foreign tour. Notre Dame posted a 4-0 record. The Irish visited Rome, Perugia, Pesaro, Venice and Como during the trip.
  • It was the program’s first foreign tour since 2008 when the Irish ventured to Ireland for 13 days.


  • The Baltimore Orioles selected Irish swingman Pat Connaughton in the fourth round of June’s Major League Baseball Draft. He was the 121st pick overall.
  • Connaughton spent part of June and July pitching for the Aberdeen IronBirds, the Class A Orioles’ affiliate.
  • Connaughton finished his Fighting Irish baseball career last spring. He posted a 3.03 ERA and had an 11-11 record on the mound during his three seasons. He fanned 105 batters in 154.2 innings pitched.


  • The University of Notre Dame once again claims the 2014 national championship for graduating student-athletes in all sports–in the process posting the top NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) figure (99) for its student-athletes for the eighth straight year. The GSR number for all Notre Dame student-athletes rates the Irish first among the football-playing institutions in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A). The 2014 NCAA figures are based on entering classes from 2004 through 2007. Twenty-one of Notre Dame’s men’s and women’s athletic programs posted GSR numbers that rank them best in the nation within their sports (including 20 perfect 100 scores)– and 11 produced federal graduation rates that led all NCAA FBS institutions (including eight perfect 100 scores). Men’s basketball at 100 tied for first with 14 other schools. Five Irish women’s programs had perfect 100 federal rates ranking them first within their sports among the NCAA FBS subset. Six Irish men’s programs had federal rates ranking them first within their sports (three with perfect 100 scores) among the NCAA FBS subset. Men’s basketball at 85 ranked tied for first with Penn State. Five Irish women’s programs had perfect 100 federal rates ranking them first within their sports among the NCAA FBS subset. Six Irish men’s programs had federal rates ranking them first within their sports (three with perfect 100 scores) among the NCAA FBS subset. Men’s basketball at 85 ranked tied for first with Penn State.