Jan. 13, 2012
#17/16 Connecticut (13-3, 3-2) vs. Notre Dame (11-6, 3-1)
Jan. 14, 2012 – 11:00 a.m. (ET)
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center (9,149)
Notre Dame, Ind.
Dave Pasch (play-by-play)
Doris Burke (analyst)
Broadcast on UND.com
Jack Nolan (play-by-play)
Jordan Cornette (analyst)
IRISH AND UCONN SET FOR SATURDAY MORNING SHOWDOWN
- Notre Dame (11-6, 3-1) will play host to #17/16 Connecticut (13-3, 3-2) on Saturday in a key BIG EAST showdown. Tip-off is slated for 11:00 a.m. (ET) inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. The Irish currently are tied for third place in the BIG EAST standings, while the Huskies are in a tie for fifth place.
- The Fighting Irish will be aiming for their third straight victory after winning at Louisville, 67-65 in double-overtime, last Saturday and returning home to top USF, 60-49, on Tuesday.
- The Irish are off to a 3-1 start in BIG EAST play for the sixth straight season. Notre Dame’s last 4-1 start in league play occurred during the 2004-05 campaign.
- Saturday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN2 and ESPN3 with Dave Pasch (play-by-play) and Doris Burke (analyst) calling the action.
- The Fighting Irish Digital Media radio crew of Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Jordan Cornette (analyst) will call the action on radio (affiliate listings on Pg. 5) and their broadcast can also be heard on UND.com.
- This will be the 26th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Connecticut. Every encounter has occurred since Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST in 1995. The Huskies hold a 16-9 advantage in the series, but the Irish have won the last three showdowns. That is Notre Dame’s longest win streak against Connecticut.
- The Irish bested the Huskies, 73-70, last season inside Purcell Pavilion (Jan. 4, 2011) before capturing a 70-67 win in Storrs, Conn. in the regular-season finale (March 5, 2011). That was Connecticut’s last loss of the season.
- Connecticut is 4-7 all-time at Notre Dame.
- Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey is 6-11 all-time against Connecticut.
- The Fighting Irish are 10-0 at home and 1-6 in road/neutral site contests this season.
- This is the fifth straight season that Notre Dame and Connecticut will meet twice during the regular season. The two teams will square off again on Jan. 29 at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn.
PLAYING WELL AT PURCELL
- Notre Dame’s 29-game home win streak currently is the fourth-longest in the country. It is the second-longest win streak inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center in Irish history. The Fighting Irish won 45 straight at the Joyce Center from March 4, 2006-Jan. 10, 2009. That streak came to an end in a 69-61 loss to Connecticut on Jan. 24, 2009.
- The Fighting Irish are 94-6 in their last 100 games played at home. That 94% home winning percentage over the course of the last six seasons ranks fourth nationally.
IRISH ENJOY HOME COOKING IN CONFERENCE PLAY
- Notre Dame has gone 41-5 (.891) at home in BIG EAST play over the last six seasons. That is the best home winning percentage for any BIG EAST school in league play over that time period.
- Notre Dame has won 13 straight BIG EAST games inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. The Irish went undefeated at home in conference play last season. Notre Dame’s last loss at home was a 69-68 setback to St. John’s on Feb. 14, 2010.
BREY MOVING UP BIG EAST WINS LIST
- A win on Saturday would tie Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey with former Villanova head coach Rollie Massimino for fifth all-time in BIG EAST victories (both BIG EAST regular season and tournament). Brey is 122-84 (.592) in league regular-season and tournament play during his 12 seasons with the Irish.
BIG EAST TRENDS
- Notre Dame is 21-5 (.808) over its last 26 BIG EAST regular-season contests. The Irish stood 6-8 through 14 regular-season games during the 2009-10 campaign and then won four straight to finish 10-8. Last season, Notre Dame posted a 14-4 regular-season mark in the league.
- The Irish are 14-2 over their last 16 BIG EAST regular-season games.
NOTRE DAME AGAINST THE NATIONAL CHAMPS
- Saturday will be the first time Notre Dame has faced a defending national champion since the Irish fell at Connecticut, 88-74, during the 2004-05 season (Feb. 21, 2005). Earlier that season, the Fighting Irish topped the Huskies, 78-74, inside the Joyce Center (Jan. 30, 2005). Notre Dame is 10-25 all-time against defending national champions, including a 5-3 mark in the last eight matchups (complete list on page 3 of this notes packet).
- Notre Dame is 3-1 against Connecticut when the Huskies are the reigning national champion.
MARTIN MAKING THINGS HAPPEN
- Senior Scott Martin posted his second straight double-double (third career double-double) with 15 points and a career-high 13 rebounds in Tuesday’s win over USF. His previous rebound high was 12, which occurred last Saturday at Louisville. He also netted 11 points against the Cardinals.
A GREAT DAY TO BE IRISH
- Last Saturday was a historic day for Notre Dame athletics. Along with the men’s basketball team’s 67-65 double-overtime victory at #10 Louisville, the third-ranked women’s basketball team defeated #2 Connecticut, 74-67 in overtime, inside Purcell Pavilion and the #3 Irish hockey team downed #5 Minnesota, 4-3, in Minneapolis, Minn.
- It was the first time both the men’s and women’s basketball teams defeated top-10 opponents on the same day. It also marked the first time both squads played an overtime contest on the same day.
- Louisville was the highest-ranked opponent the Irish men have defeated since winning at #2/2 Pittsburgh last season (Jan. 24, 2011). The Fighting Irish victory also snapped Notre Dame’s 16-game losing streak in the state of Kentucky.
SKIP SET FOR 1,000TH GAME ON IRISH BENCH
- Saturday will be the 1,000th game on the Notre Dame bench for the team’s athletic trainer William “Skip” Meyer. Meyer is in his 33rd year at Notre Dame and the Irish have gone 609-390 during his stint with the squad. Meyer is a native of Torrington, Conn.
PROTECTING THE ROCK
- Entering this week, Notre Dame ranked in a tie for third nationally – and first in the BIG EAST – in fewest turnovers committed per game (10.0). The Fighting Irish also had the nation’s ninth-best assist-to-turnover ratio (1.46). That mark ranks second in the BIG EAST.
- Notre Dame has committed fewer than 10 turnovers in a game seven times this season. The Irish had a season-low four turnovers in the victory over Sacred Heart (Dec. 19). The Irish also had a season-high 25 assists (on 35 made baskets) versus the Pioneers.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
- Seven different Notre Dame players have posted a team-high point total in a game this season. A different Irish player has led the team in scoring in four of the last six contests.
- Junior forward Jack Cooley is the only Fighting Irish player to post multiple team-leading efforts during the six-game stretch. He has led the Irish in scoring three times in the last five games.
- Sophomore Eric Atkins has led Notre Dame in scoring a team-best five times this season, while fellow sophomore Jerian Grant and Cooley both have led the Irish in points four times.
- Seven Notre Dame players – Tim Abromaitis, Eric Atkins, Pat Connaughton, Jack Cooley, Alex Dragicevich, Jerian Grant and Scott Martin – have scored 20 or more points in a game this season.
- Atkins, Cooley and Grant all have scored 20-plus points a team-best two times this season.
SHUFFLING THE LINEUP
- Notre Dame has used eight different starting lineups this season (out of 17 games played). No Notre Dame player has started every game this season (game-by-game starting lineups listed on page 7). Jerian Grant and Scott Martin both have a team-high 16 starts this season.
- Six different Irish players – Joey Brooks (Jr./G), Jack Cooley (Jr./F), Tom Knight (Jr./F), Jerian Grant (So./G), Alex Dragicevich (So./G) and Pat Connaughton (Fr./G-F) – have made their first career start this season.
- The quintet of Eric Atkins, Jack Cooley, Alex Dragicevich, Jerian Grant and Scott Martin has started the last six games (and six games overall this season). That is the most-used starting lineup for the Irish this season. Notre Dame is 4-2 with that starting five.
COOLEY COMING TO PLAY
- Since missing the Maryland game on Dec. 4 due to illness, junior forward Jack Cooley has averaged 16.5 ppg., 9.8 rpg. and 2.3 bpg. in the past eight contests. He is shooting 65.8% (50-76) from the field and 76.2% (32-42) from the free throw line during that stretch.
- Cooley has a team-best four double-doubles this season. He also has a team-high six double-digit rebounding games this season.
- Against Delaware State (Nov. 18), Cooley hauled down a career-high 17 rebounds, which included 10 offensive boards. He became the first Irish player to register that many rebounds in a game since Luke Harangody had 17 against Louisville on Feb. 12, 2009.
- Cooley leads the Irish with an 8.4 rpg. average this season, which includes 3.6 offensive boards per game. He also has a team-high 24 blocked shots, which already is a career-high total for the junior.
GETTING TO THE LINE
- The Irish have made more free throws (278) than their opponents have attempted (263). Notre Dame is 278-388 (.716) from the charity stripe this season.
ATKINS ON THE ATTACK
- Sophomore point guard Eric Atkins ranks second among all Irish players with a 12.7 ppg. average this season. He averaged 5.8 ppg. last season as a freshman.
- Atkins has scored in double-figures in 10 of the 15 games he has played in this season. He missed two games (Sam Houston State & Delaware State) due to illness. He has led Notre Dame in scoring a team-best five times this season.
- Atkins has dished out a career-high nine assists twice this season (Sacred Heart, Dec. 19 & Bryant, Nov. 27).
- Atkins deposited a career-high 27 points versus Mississippi Valley State in the season opener.
- Atkins is 55-71 (.775) from the free throw line and 20-47 (.426) from three-point range this season.
GRANT HAS ALL-AROUND GAME
- Sophomore guard Jerian Grant, who is in his first season playing with the Irish after sitting out all of last season, has team-high totals in points (228), assists (77), steals (23) and minutes played (584). His 28 made three-pointers also are a team-high total. Grant is shooting a team-best 79.5% (62-78) from the free throw line this season.
- Entering this week, Grant ranked seventh nationally – and first in the BIG EAST – with a 3.32 assist-to-turnover ratio.
- Grant has scored in double-figures a team-best 14 times this season. He currently has a career-best six-game double-figure scoring streak. Grant is averaging 15.8 ppg. in BIG EAST play.
- He scored a career-high 20 points against both Georgia (Nov. 22) and Maryland (Dec. 4).
- Grant dished out a career-high nine assists versus Pittsburgh (Dec. 27).
- Grant posted his first career double-double by notching 12 points and a career-high 11 rebounds against Bryant (Nov. 27).
GET TO 60
- Notre Dame is 10-1 this season when scoring 60 or more points, while the Irish are 1-5 when scoring less than 60 points. The Fighting Irish are averaging 77.0 ppg. in their 11 wins, while they are averaging 58.7 ppg. in the six losses.
- Notre Dame is allowing 59.3 ppg. in its wins and 73.2 ppg. in its setbacks.
CRASHING THE BOARDS
- The Fighting Irish have a +4.2 rebound margin in their 11 wins, while they have been out-rebounded by a 9.7 margin in their six setbacks.
- Notre Dame is 6-0 this season when out-rebounding its opponent.
BEYOND THE ARC
- Notre Dame has hit 10 or more three-pointers in a game three times this season. The Irish deposited 11 treys against Bryant (Nov. 27) and Delaware State (Nov. 18) and they hit 10 versus Sam Houston State (Nov. 16). The Fighting Irish made 10 or more three-pointers in a game seven times last season.
425 AND COUNTING
- Notre Dame has made at least one three-pointer in 425 straight contests dating back to the 1998-99 campaign. The Fighting Irish have made at least one three pointer during every game of the Mike Brey era. The last time an Irish team failed to hit a three-pointer in a game was in a 101-70 loss to Connecticut at the Hartford Civic Center on Jan. 12, 1999. Notre Dame finished 0-7 from beyond the arc in that contest. In 2008-09, the Irish set a single-season three-point record with 319.
DOUBLE-DUTY o Freshman guard/forward Pat Connaughton also is a pitcher on the Fighting Irish baseball team. Connaughton is the 66th Notre Dame student-athlete to compete in both basketball and baseball and the first to do so since Tom Hansen during the 1973-74 academic year.