Nov. 26, 2008
MAUI, Hawaii –
#8/8 Notre Dame (4-0) vs. #1/1 North Carolina (5-0) EA Sports Maui Invitational Championship Game November 26, 2008
Notre Dame vs. North Carolina
Notre Dame, making its second appearance in the EA Sports Maui Invitational, plays in the championship game for the first time in school history when the Irish take on North Carolina. The Irish and Tar Heels will be meeting for the 20th time tournament with the North Carolina holding a 15-4 advantage in the series. The two teams have not met since Feb. 23, 1994 when Notre Dame suffered an 80-71 setback at the Joyce Center. The last win for the Irish over the Tar Heels was on Nov. 11, 1992 as Notre Dame defeated North Carolina 88-76 in a contest played at Madison Square Garden.
Brey vs. Top 10
Tonight’s matchup with top-ranked North Carolina will mark the 22nd time the Irish have faced a top-10 team under head coach Mike Brey. Yesterday’s win over sixth-ranked Texas marked the 10th time during Brey’s tenure at Notre Dame that his Irish team have beaten a top-10 foe. The Irish are 10-11 in those contests. This will be the second time that a Notre Dame team has faced the number-one team in the nation under Brey. The last time the Irish played a top-ranked opponent was in his second season when Notre Dame dropped an 84-77 to Duke in the second round of the NCAA tournament in Greenville, S.C. on March 16, 2002.
Irish Set To Face Back-To-Back Top-10 Foes
Notre Dame is set to go up against its second straight back-to-back top-10 foe for the fifth time during Mike Brey’s tenure.
2002-03: def. Maryland (8) 79-67 (12/5/02)
def. Texas (2) 98-92 (12/6/02)
def. Illinois (10) 68-60 (3/22/03)
lost to Arizona (2) 71-88 (3/27/03)
2003-04: lost to Pittsburgh (4) 58-66 (2/7/04)
def. Connecticut (5) 80-74 (2/9/04)
2004-05: lost to Syracuse (8) 57-60 (2/5/05)
def. Boston College (4) 68-65 (2/8/05)
Notre Dame will be facing the number-one ranked team in the country for the 29th time in school history. The Irish own nine victories over top-ranked teams based on the Associated Press, United Press International and ESPN/USA Today rankings. The NCAA, which solely uses the AP rankings to determine victories over number-one ranked teams, recognizes seven of those victories. Notre Dame’s seven victories ranks tied for third all-time in the NCAA record books. Notre Dame’s last win over a top-ranked team was on Feb. 1, 1987 when the Irish defeated North Carolina 60-58 at the Joyce Center. March 12, 1954 vs. Indiana 65-64
Jan. 21, 1971 vs. UCLA 89-82
Jan. 19, 1974 vs. UCLA 71-70
Mar. 5, 1977 vs. San Francisco 93-82
Feb. 26, 1978 vs. Marquette 65-59
Feb. 27, 1980 vs. DePaul 76-74
Dec. 27, 1980 vs. Kentucky 67-61
Feb. 22, 1981 vs. Virginia 57-56
Feb. 1, 1987 vs. North Carolina 60-58
Looking To Keep It Rolling
Notre Dame will be looking for its first 5-0 start since the 2001-02 campaign when the Irish began the season 7-0.
Climbing The Polls
Notre Dame is ranked eighth in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USAToday polls. The Irish began the ranked ninth in both preseason polls and climbed to eighth last week in the AP ranking. This is the highest ranking for Notre Dame since the 2002-03 campaign when the Irish climbed to as high as fifth in the AP poll and sixth in the ESPN/USA Today ranking in the second week of January 2003.
Brey vs. Ranked Opponents
Ninth-year head coach Mike Brey is 24-49 all-time versus ranked opponents and 24-43 at Notre Dame. The Irish were 2-6 versus a ranked team in 2007-08. Prior to last night’s win against Texas, Notre Dame last victory against a ranked team was an 86-83 victory over 16th-ranked Marquette (86-83) at the Joyce Center on Feb. 9, 2008. Notre Dame’s last win against a top-10 foe was on Dec. 7, 2006 when the Irish beat #4/5 Alabama at the Joyce Center 99-85.
Irish vs. The Atlantic Coast Conference
Notre Dame is 46-75 all-time versus the Atlantic Coast Conference. The last time the Irish played a team from the ACC was last season in the Paradise Jam Classic as Notre Dame dropped a 70-69 decision to Georgia Tech on Nov. 19, 2007.
Tory Jackson’s 21 points against Indiana in Monday’s 88-50 victory over the Hoosiers matched the junior point guard’s career high and was the third time in his career that he scored 20-plus points in a game. Both of Jackson’s other two 20-plus point efforts occurred during his freshman season (2006-07 campaign) when he scored 21 points versus Marquette and 20 against Georgetown in the semifinals of the 2007 BIG EAST Championship. Jackson came back yesterday against Texas and finished with 16 points, five rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
Double The Pleasure
Senior Luke Zeller’s 10 points and 11 rebounds in the win over Indiana was the first career double-double for the Irish center. The 11 boards also were a career high, marking the second time this season that Zeller had recorded a personal best. In the season opener against USC Upstate, Zeller had a career-high 18 points.
Out of Shooting Slump
After being held scoreless for just the fourth time in his career against Loyola Marymount, and first time since his freshman season, Kyle McAlarney scored a season-high 18 points as he canned six three-pointers against Indiana. He followed that up with five three-pointers in the win over Texas en route to a 19-point performance. In the two games of the Maui Invitational, McAlarney is 13-23 (,565) from the field and 11-20 (.550) from three-point range.
34 and Counting
Luke Harangody saw his streak of four straight games (dating back to last season) with a double-double snapped against Indiana Moonday as he finished as he finished with 14 points and five rebounds, but came back against Texas to record his 28th double-double of the season with his 29 points and 13 rebounds. Harangody extended his double-figure scoring yesterday to 35 games.
Ayers Nets First Double Figures Outing of Season
Ryan Ayers’s 13 points against Indiana was the first double-figures scoring effort of the season for the Irish senior and the 13th of his career. Ayers was 5-7 from the field and 2-4 from three-point range in the contest. Irish Roll Under Brey In November Irish teams have traditionally played well under Irish head coach Mike Brey during the month of November. During his eight-plus seasons on the Irish bench, his teams have compiled a 34-5 record.
307 and Counting
With its 11 three-pointers yesterday against Texas, Notre Dame extended its streak to 307 games making at least one three-pointer. The last time an Irish team failed to make a three-pointer in a game was in a 101-70 loss to Connecticut at the Harford Civic Center on Jan. 12, 1999 as Notre Dame finished 0-7 from beyond the arc in the game.
Big Win Against Hoosiers
Notre Dame’s 88-50 win over Indiana yesterday in the 68th meeting between the two schools was the largest margin of victory (38 points) ever for an Irish team against the Hoosiers. It also marked the second straight win for Notre Dame against Indiana.