Russell Carter

Notre Dame Meets Winthrop In NCAA Tournament Midwest Region First Round Matchup

March 12, 2007

Game Notes in PDF Format
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2007 NCAA Divison I Men’s Basketball Championship
Midwest Regional
March 16 & 18 – Spokane Memorial Arena (Spokane, Wash.)

Radio Coverage:
The Notre Dame Basketball Radio Network can be heard on Friday, March 16 on the following stations – South Bend, IN – WZOW 97.7 @ 102.3 FM
Chicago, IL – Oldies 94.7
Rockford, IL; DeKalb, IL; Beloit, WI; Janesville, WI – WLUV-AM 1520
Michigan City, IN – WEFM 95.9
Fort Wayne, IN – WLYV 1450 AM
Warsaw, IN – ESPN 1480 AM
Washington, IN – WAMW-FM 107.9
Indianapolis, IN – Gold 95.9 FM
As always, the game also can be heard live, and completely free of charge, on

Irish Back In The NCAA Tournament:
Notre Dame returns to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003 and the fourth time in seven seasons as the No. 6 seed in the Midwest Region. Notre Dame is making its 28th appearance in the NCAA Tournament field The Irish own an all-time record of 29-31 (.483) in NCAA tournament action. Notre Dame is making its fourth appearance in the NCAAs under head coach Mike Brey who led the Irish to the Sweet 16 in the school’s last NCAA appearance in 2003. In its matchup with No. 11 seed Winthrop (28-4), the Irish will be facing their sixth ranked opponent of the season.

Scouting The Irish:
Notre Dame heads into the NCAA postseason with a 24-7 record and finished fourth in the final BIG EAST regular-season standings (after being picked 11th in the Preseason Coaches Poll) with an 11-5 record. The 24 wins matches the most by any Notre Dame team since 1974 when Digger Phelps’ 1973-74 squad took a 24-2 record in the NCAA postseason. The Irish earned a first-round bye in the BIG EAST Championship and advanced to the semifinals following an 89-83 victory over Syracuse in quarterfinal action. In the semifinals, Notre Dame dropped an 84-82 heartbreaker to No. 9 Georgetown. Notre Dame closed out the regular season by winning its last five BIG EAST games and finished with 23 victories which marked the most most regular-season wins for an Irish team under head coach Mike Brey and the most since the 1985-86 campaign when that team finished with 23 regular-season victories. The 24 victories this season match the most during the Brey era (his 2002-03 team finished with a 24-10 record). Notre Dame has registered four 20-win seasons in seven campaigns under Brey and four 10-win seasons in conference play. Notre Dame had five more regular-season conference wins than it did after it finished with a 6-10 league mark. The Irish also have eight more wins (24) after ending the 2005-06 campaign with a 16-14 record. Earlier this year, Notre Dame’s 15-2 start was the best for an Irish team since the 1978-79 season when that squad began the year with a 17-2 record. Notre Dame is 4-1 versus ranked opponents in 2006-07 after compiling a 1-7 record versus ranked foes a year ago. Notre Dame is averaging 81.5 points per game (eighth in the nation) and have topped the 90-point mark nine times and scored 80-plus points on 19 occasions.

Breaking Down The Pod:
Notre Dame’s matchup with No. 11 seed Winthrop (28-4) will mark the first-ever meeting between the two schools. In fact, this will be just the third time an Irish team has faced a school from the Big South Conference. Notre Dame played VMI on Dec. 12, 1999 and beat the Keydets 79-66 at the Joyce Center and also has played Charleston Southern (a 54-38 victory on Nov. 26, 2004) at home. The winner will face either No. 3 seed Oregon (26-7) or No. 14 seed Miami (18-14). Notre Dame is 2-2 all-time against the Ducks and 4-4 versus Miami.

Going For Win No. 25:
A win against Winthrop would be Notre Dame’s 25th of the season and most ever for an Irish team under head coach Mike Brey. With the win over Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship, Notre Dame matched the most wins in a season under Brey. His 2002-03 team that advanced to the Sweet 16 finished with a 24-10 record. The last Irish team to win 25-plus games in a season was the 1973-74 team that completed the year with a 26-3 record.

Single Digit Losses Guaranteed:
With a 24-7 record to date, Notre Dame is guaranteed of finishing the year with single-digit losses. The last Irish team to finish the season with fewer than 10 losses was the 1988-89 squad which ended the year with a 21-9 record.

Elite Company:
Notre Dame’s win against Providence on Feb. 15 marked the 1,600th in the program’s 102-year history with 1,600 wins. Only 12 other schools have reached the mark: Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Duke, Syracuse, Temple, St. John’s, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Utah and UCLA.

Eight Straight Postseason Appearances:
Notre Dame’s appearance in this year’s NCAA tournament field marks the fourth NCAA berth for the Irish in the last seven years. Since 2000, Notre Dame has appeared in either the NCAA or NIT tournaments each of the last eight 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 matches 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).

Fourth 20-Win Season Under Brey:
Notre Dame’s 76-64 over Cincinnati on Feb. 18 gave Notre Dame its 20th win of the season and marked the fourth time under head coach Mike Brey that the Irish have won 20 or more games. Notre Dame’s last 20-win campaign was in 2002-03 when that Irish squad finished with a 24-10 record (the third season for Brey at Notre Dame). The Irish also reached the 20-win plateau in 2000-01 (20-10) and 2001-02 (22-11). In the 102-year history of the program, Notre Dame teams have won 20 or more games on 31 occasions. The 24 wins matches the most in the Brey era.

Brey No Stranger To NCAA Tournament Success:
Mike Brey is no stranger to the NCAA tournament. He has a 4-5 in the NCAA tournament (4-3 at Notre Dame) and will be coaching in his 46th NCAA tournament game when Notre Dame faces Winthrop. In 10 coaching appearances (as either a head or assistant coach), his is 35-10 (.778) with six final four appearances and two national titles as an assistant coach. Brey reached the NCAA tournament seven times as an assistant at Duke from 1988-95. In that span, Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils posted a 31-5 mark which 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 1991 and ’92. As head coach at Delaware, he guided the Blue Hens to NCAA tournament berths in 1998 and ’99.

Brey Named BIG EAST Coach of the Year:
Irish head coach Mike Brey was named BIG EAST Coach of the Year after leading his team to an 11-5 record in conference play. Brey engineered one of the most stirring turnarounds in the history of the league after his squad finished with a 6-10 record last season and was picked to finish 11th in the Preseason Coaches Poll at the start of the year. It was the first time he had earned BIG EAST coach-of-the-year accolades and the second time in his 12-year tenure that he was recognized with a coach-of-the-year honor (in 1998, he was named co-Coach of the Year by the America East Conference). Brey also became the second Notre Dame coach to earn the league’s top coaching honor after John MacLeod garnered similar honors in 1997.

BIG EAST Awards Haul:
For the first time since becoming a member of the BIG EAST Conference in 1995-96, Notre Dame placed two players on the all-BIG EAST first team and had two players earn all-rookie team honors in the same year. Russell Carter and Colin Falls garnered first-team accolades, while Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson were named to the league’s all-rookie squad. With the selection of Carter and Falls to the first team, it marked the second consecutive year a Notre Dame player had garnered first-team all-BIG EAST honors and the fourth and fifth time in seven seasons that a players under Brey have earned first-team honors. It also represented the seventh consecutive year that Notre Dame had a player named to one of the all-conference teams under Brey, Harangody and Jackson became the fifth and six Irish players to earn all-rookie honors by the league.

Carter Nearing 1,000 Points:
Russell Carter needs 29 points to become the 47th player in Notre Dame basketball history to reach 1,000 career points. Heading into the NCAA tournament, he has 971 points for a career scoring average of 10.1 point per game. After his sophomore season, he scored just 92 points in 35 career outings (2.6 ppg.), but since that time has netted 879 points 61 games (14.4 points per game). Earlier this season, Colin Falls became Notre Dame’s 46th 1,000-point scorer.

Carter Named To BIG EAST All-Tournament Team:
Russell Carter was named to the BIG EAST All-Tournament team after averaging 22.5 ponts and 7.5 rebounds in 36.5 minutes per game. In the win over Syracuse, he scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed six rebounds and then followed that up with a 21-point effort against Georgetown, while also hauling in nine rebounds. Carter became the second Notre Dame player to earn all-tournament team honors. Chris Thomas was an all-tournament team selection in 2002.

12 BIG EAST Wins Most In A Single Season:
The victory over Syracuse in the the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Tournament marked Notre Dame’s 12th over a BIG EAST opponent. No Irish team in its 12 seasons as a member of the BIG EAST Conference has won 12 games over league foes.

Back-To-Back Wins Over The Orange:
Notre Dame’s win over Syracuse was its second over the Orange this season and the first time since 1997 that an Irish team had won consecutive outings. During that season, Notre Dame earned a 69-52 win on Jan. 2 at the Joyce Center and a 73-58 victory at the Carrier Dome 16 days later on Jan. 18.

A New Single-Season Home Record:
Notre Dame’s victory against Marquette improved the Irish to 18-0 at the Joyce Center this season. The 18 home victories are a Joyce Center single-season record. The previous record was 16 which was done on four other occasions – 1976-77 (16-1), 1980-81 (16-1), 1982-83 (16-3) and 1999-00 (16-4).

Unblemished At Home:
Notre Dame’s 18-0 record at home this season marked the just the third time time since the opening of the Joyce Center in 1968-69 that an Irish team has finished undefeated at home during the regular season. Only two Notre Dame squads have ever completed a season undefeated at home – the 1973-74 and 1985-86 squads both finished their campaigns with identical 15-0 records. The Irish were the only BIG EAST team without a loss in a home game this season. Dating back to last season, Notre Dame has won 20 consecutive games at home – a streak which is tied for sixth among all Division I teams and is the the third longest in school history as well as the longest during Mike Brey’s tenure.

What A Difference A Year Makes:
With its 11-5 record in BIG EAST play, Notre Dame’s win total is five more than all of last season as that Irish team finished the 2005-06 conference regular season with a 6-10 record after beginning league play 1-8. Notre Dame’s 24 wins thus far in 2006-07 already are eight more than all of last season.

Notre Dame’s victory over Marquette on Feb. 24 was the 100th for the Irish in BIG EAST regular-season play. Since becoming a league member at the start of the 1995-96 campaign, Notre Dame is 101-99 all-time in conference regular-season action. Irish teams have averaged 8.4 wins in their 12 seasons and 9.3 wins during head coach Mike Brey’s tenure.

Most Regular Season Wins:
Notre Dame’s 23 regular-season victories are the most for an Irish team under head coach Mike Brey and the most regular-season wins since the 1985-86 campaign (that team also had 23 before losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament).

A Garden Party:
Three of Russell Carter’s best games this season have come at Madison Square Garden. Back on Jan. 23 in a 71-68 loss to St. John’s, Carter scored a career-high 32 points as he connected on 10-20 shots from the field and was 4-9 from three-point range. He also was 8-10 from the free-throw line. Against Syracuse, he finished with 24 points as he was 8-20 from the field, 4-10 from three-point range and 4-6 from the charity stripe. He recorded his third 20-plus point outing at the Garden in as many games when he netted 21 in the semifinal loss to Georgetown as he was 7-21 from the field, 5-12 from three-point range and 2-4 from the line.

Record Holder:
Colin Falls became Notre Dame’s career three-point leader against Cincinnati on Feb. 18 as he connected on five three-point field goals. He eclipsed the career mark of 302 formerly held by Chris Thomas. In 120 career outings he has 329 three-pointers for an average of 2.7 per game. Thomas (2001-05) averaged 2.4 per game in 128 career outings.

Record Holder II:
Colin Falls became the BIG EAST Conference’s career three-point leader against Marquette and finished his career with 189 in 64 career league outings. The previous mark of 183 was held by Gerry McNamara (2002-06) of Syracuse.

Diaper Dandies:
For the second time this season, freshmen Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson produced career-best performances and led the Irish in scoring. Against Marquette on Feb. 24, Harangody registered his sixth double-double of the season as he netted a career-high 22 points (the second 20-plus point outing of his career) and matched his personal best with 13 rebounds. He was named the National Freshman of the Week by and also was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll. Jackson copped BIG EAST rookie-of-the-week honors after scoring a career-high 21 points (the first 20-plus point outing of his career), in addition to grabbing seven rebounds and dishing off seven assists while playing all 40 minutes of the contest.

Carter, Falls Garner NABC Honors:
Senior captains Russell Carter and Colin Falls were named to the all-District 10 team by the National Association of Basketball Association (NABC). Carter was a first-team honoree, while Falls earned second-team accolades.

A Record-Setting Night At The Carrier Dome:
Notre Dame’s 103-91 victory over Syracuse produced some record-setting numbers for the Irish …

  • The 103 points were the most-ever scored by an opponent at the Carrier Dome and first time in 10 years that an opponent had scored 100-plus points in that building.
  • It was the most points scored by any team in the 37 games of the series. The previous high was 101 by Notre Dame in a 101-98 victory at the Carrier Dome on Feb. 15, 1992.
  • The 61 first-half points were the most scored by an Irish team were the most scored in the first half of a BIG EAST game (one shy of the conference record)
  • The 61 points also were the most in a half by an Irish team in a regulation game since scoring 64 (in the second half) against Virginia Tech on Feb. 22, 2003.
  • All five starters scored in double figures for the first time since Jan. 11, 2006 vs. Syracuse at the Joyce Center.
  • Notre Dame did not score a field goal in the final 10:51 of the contest and scored its final 24 points of the game from the free-throw line.
  • In addition to scoring 61 first-half points, Notre Dame shot 55.8 percent (24-43) in the first half, was 10-17 from three-point range (.588), dished off 17 assists and turned the ball over just twice.

Young Guns:
Freshmen Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson were Notre Dame’s leading scorers against Syracuse in the victory on Jan. 30 as both scored career-highs with Harangody netting 21 points and grabbing a career and game-high 13 rebounds, while Jackson finished with a personal best 19 points. Ironically, the 19 points came on the day of his 19th birthday. The last time Notre Dame was led by two freshmen in scoring was on Feb. 24, 1999 in a 73-53 loss to St. John’s as Troy Murphy and David Graves scored 22 and 11 points, respectively.

Joyce Center Streakin’:
Notre Dame’s 85-73 victory against Marquette on Feb. 24 improved it’s current home record to 18-0 and extended their current Joyce Center win streak to 20 games – the third-longest home court win streak since its opening in 1968-69. It also is the longest home win streak during head coach Mike Brey’s tenure. The 18 wins are a Joyce Center single-season record. See the pdf for a look at the Joyce Center streaks …

BIG EAST Road Woes:
Notre Dame found life on the road in the BIG EAST to be somewhat difficult this season and were 3-5 in eight conference road outings. The Irish were, however, victorious in their final two road games against Cincinnati and Rutgers. During the conference season, Notre Dame suffered double-digit losses to Georgetown (66-48) and Villanova (102-87), while also dropping a three-point decision (71-68) to St. John’s and a six-point setback (69-63) to South Florida. In the Georgetown, St. John’s and South Florida contests, Notre Dame shot below 40.0 percent.

Georgetown: Fell behind 21-4 and trailed by as many as 20 points in the first half and 29 in the second half … Shot just 30.8 percent from the field (16-32), while the Hoyas connected on 56.8 percent (25-44).

Villanova: Trailed by as many as 14 in the first half and 15 in the second half … The 50 points scored by Villanova in the first half were the most allowed by the Irish this season … The Wildcats shot 58.8 percent (20-34) in the first half and 56.7 percent (34-60) for the game … They connected on 24-28 from the free-throw line and outrebounded the Irish 40-26 … Notre Dame was just 28-66 from the field (42.4 percent).

St. John’s: Trailed by as many as 14 in the first half …St. John’s led 49-41 at the break (the 49 points were the second-most scored against the Irish in the first half this season), but a 9-0 run to start the second half gave the Notre Dame a 52-49 advantage … St. John’s led by six (66-60) with 6:05 to play, while the Irish tied the contest at 68-68 after Colin Falls hit on of two free throws, but Larry Wright’s three-pointer with 10.4 seconds remaining gave the Red Storm the win … Notre Dame shot 25.7 percent in the second half, hitting just 9-35 attempts and connected on 35.5 percent for the game … St. John’s shot just 30.0 percent in the second half after shooting 59.3 percent (16-27) in the first 20 minutes.

South Florida: Notre Dame shot just 37.5 percent from the field and was outrebounded 48-38 in the contest as the Irish lost a BIG EAST raod game for the fourth time in five tries … Notre Dame trailed by five at the half and by 10 with 18:21 left in the game before pulling ahead 49-46 with 7:40 to play … With the score tied at 51-51, the Bulls go on a 14-4 run to take a 10-point lead with 45 seconds to play … Notre Dame shot just 32.1 percent from three-point range and was only 6-12 from the free-throw line … South Florida was 20-30 from the line.

DePaul: Notre Dame jumped out to an 11-0 lead, but the Blue Demons outscored the Irish 21-9 to take a 21-20 advantage with 10:54 to play in the first half … Notre Dame regained the lead with 2:31 to play, but the two teams headed to the locker room tied at 36-36 at the break … The Irish shot just 42.9 percent in the first half, while the Blue Demons connected on 50.0 percent from the field … DePaul led by as many as six points in the second half, but Notre Dame took a one-point lead on two occasions, the second coming with 7:16 to play … The Irish went up by five at the 4:21 mark, but DePaul tied the game at 63-63 with 2:42 to play … Tory Jackson nailed a three-pointer to put the Irish up 66-63 with 2:04 left in the contest … Notre Dame saw the Blue Demons score the contest’s final four points as they went on to prevail in the one-point victory.

100 Not So Common:
The 102 points scored by Villanova in their 102-87 victory over the Irish on Jan. 17 were the most given up by Notre Dame in a regulation game under head coach Mike Brey. The last time the Irish gave up 100 points in a regulation game was in a 101-70 loss to Connecticut on Jan. 12, 1999.

Thirty Something:
Russell Carter netted 32 points in the loss to St. John’s which marked his first career 30-plus point outing. The last Irish players to score 30-plus points in a game were Chris Quinn and Colin Falls who had 34 and 32, respectively, in Notre Dame’s 102-91 win at Seton Hall on Feb. 18, 2006.

Not An Ordinary Irish Day:
The 48 points Notre Dame scored in its 66-48 loss to Georgetown on Jan. 6 were the fewest by an Irish team in BIG EAST play (in 11-plus seasons as a conference member). The point total also matched the lowest by a Notre Dame squad under Mike Brey (the Irish also scored 48 points in 61-48 loss to North Carolina State on Nov. 26, 2005). That game also marked just the second time under Brey that the Irish scored under 50 points in a contest. Russell Carter was the only Notre Dame player in double figures as he scored 12 points, marking the first time this season that the Irish did not have multiple players in double figures.

Young At Heart:
With freshmen Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson in the starting lineup against Seton Hall on Jan. 14, it marked the first time since the 2001-02 campaign that the Irish started two rookies. During that campaign, Chris Thomas started all 33 contests, while Jordan Cornette made six starts. Notre Dame was 4-2 when those two were in the starting lineup. Harangody and Jackson have been in the starting lineup each of the last 15 games and are 10-5 in those contests.

Irish Have Shown They Can Score:
Notre Dame has put up some impressive offensive numbers to date as the Irish are averaging 81.5 points per contest. Four current members of the team are averaging in double figures – Russell Carter (17.2), Colin Falls (15.4) Rob Kurz (12.6) and Luke Harangody (11.5). Notre Dame’s 50-point margin of victory (101-51) against Rider on Dec. 28 marked the largest margin of victory under Brey. Prior to its 78-62 victory over Louisville on Jan. 3, the Irish had scored 80-plus points in nine consecutive games. The last time that occurred was during the 1976-77 campaign and also in 1975-76.

Colin Falls’ return to the court against Army on Dec. 21 marked the 100th career game that he had played in an Irish uniform. Falls has played in 120 of 122 career games and has been in the starting lineup on 89 occasions.

Streaking Along:
Before its 66-48 loss to Georgetown on Jan. 6, Notre Dame had won 12 straight, marking the longest win streak for an Irish team since the 1973-74 campaign when that squad produced two 12-game win streaks during the season.

High Scoring:
Notre Dame’s current pace of averaging 81.5 points per game is the best scoring average for an Irish team under head coach Mike Brey and the first time since 1977-78 campaign that an Irish team has averaged better than 80.0 points per game. During that campaign, Notre Dame averaged 80.7 points per game after netting 85.4 points the previous season in 1976-77.

Points A Plenty:
After 31 contests, Notre Dame is averaging 81.5 points per game (good for eighth nationally in scoring offense). The Irish rank 10th nationally in margin of victory at 13.7 points per game (seventh nationally). During its 12-game win streak, Notre Dame’s average margin of victory was 26.0 points per game (312 points).

Back In The Polls
Notre Dame entered the polls for the first time this season at No. 21 in the Associated Press rankings on Dec. 11, marking the first time since the first week of December of 2004 that it had earned a top-25 ranking. The Irish were never ranked after that point in 2004-05 and were not ranked at all during the 2005-06 campaign. Prior to this week, the Irish were ranked for nine consecutive weeks in either the AP or ESPN/USA Today polls. This year’s appearance in the polls marks the fifth time in seven seasons under head coach Mike Brey that his team has been ranked at some point during a season.

Irish Are Bullish On The Bulls:
In its 82-58 victory over South Florida on Jan. 21, Notre Dame closed out the first half with a 21-2 run and led 42-26 at the break. Trailing 24-21 after a USF two-point field goal, the Irish held the Bulls to just two points (two free throws) in the final 8:59 of the first half. USF opened the second half with two free throws and did not get its first field goal until the 18:20 mark of the second half.

Winning Impressively:
Ten of Notre Dame’s 24 victories have been by 24 or more points as the Irish are outscoring their opponents by a +14.6 margin (81.3 to 66.7). Coach Mike Brey’s squad has posted wins of 30-plus points in six games – IPFW (+43 points), Lafayette (+32 points), The Citadel (+24 points), Winston-Salem (+45 points), Elon (+31 points), Army (+41 points) Rider (+50), Stony Brook (+29 points) and DePaul (+24 points). The 50-point win over Rider on Dec. 28 was the largest margin of victory since a 126-73 win (53 points) over Miami on Feb. 22, 1986. 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, a 101-98 victory at No. 10 Syracuse.

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. The Irish knocked off their third ranked opponent of the season with their victory over No. 21/21 West Virginia on Jan 9 and beat No. 16/16 Marquette 85-73 to improve to 4-0 over ranked opponents this season. The Irish suffered their first loss of the season against a ranked opponent when it lost to Georgetown in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship. Notre Dame faced eight ranked foes a year ago and was just 1-7 versus those opponents.

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:

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:
Despite its loss to Georgetown at the Verizon Center (formerly the MCI Center) on Jan. 6, Notre Dame still owns an 8-3 record all-time in games played at that facility. Earlier in the season, the Irish posted an 81-74 victory against Maryland at the Verizon Center on Dec. 3. That contest marked the first time Notre Dame had made an 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. Notre Dame’s head coach Mike Brey is 6-2 all-time in the MCI Center (3-2 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.

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).

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 18 points, while Rob Kurz added 16 points and eight rebounds. Rookie Tory Jackson scored 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 Captains:
Seniors Colin Falls and Russell Carter 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. Falls and Kurz started the year as Notre Dame’s two captains, while Carter was voted as a captain by his teammates in January.

Clutch When It Counts:
Colin Falls has led the Irish in scoring in seven of the last 11 outings. His current 14-game double figures scoring streak is the longest of his career. He has averaged 19.5 points (273 points) over the last 14 games and has topped the 20-plus point mark in six of those contests. Falls has led Notre Dame in scoring in nine games this season.

Twenty Something:
Russell Carter’s 26-point performance against Villanova (Jan. 17) marked his eighth 20-plus point outing of the season and was the sixth straight game that he had led the Irish in double figures. The 26 points at the time also were the most ever scored by Carter in a BIG EAST game. His 32-point outing against St. John’s on Jan. 23 gave him nine 20-plus outings this season. The last Irish player with more 20-point outings in a single season was Chris Thomas in 2003-04 as he topped the 20-point mark on 16 occasions. He also was Notre Dame’s leading scorer in 11 consecutive games that season. Carter has led the Irish in scoring 14 times during 2006-07 campaign and scored 20-plus points in 11 contests.

Falls Returns:
After missing the Elon (Dec. 16) and Portland (Dec. 19) games with plantar faciitis, Colin Falls was back in the lineup against Army on Dec. 21. Falls missed the two contests after undergoing shock wave therapy on Dec. 8. The procedure was done to treat the plantar faciitis in his left foot. Against the Black Knights he tallied a season-high 24 points in just 18 minutes of action. Falls was 9-11 from the field (after hitting his first seven shots) and was 6-8 from three-point range. Prior to the Elon game on Dec. 16, Falls had played in all 99 games of his career and made 60 consecutive starts.

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 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.

Irish Perfect In December:
Notre Dame’s win against Stony Brook on Dec. 30 allowed the Irish to finish the month of December with a 7-0 record. Only once under Mike Brey have the Irish completed action in the month of December without a loss – Brey’s 2002-03 squad finished 6-0.

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 1605-884 record for a .645 winning percentage. In BIG EAST play, Notre Dame owns a 101-99 (.505) record all-time in conference regular-season play.

Always In It:
Since the 2005-06 campaign, Notre Dame’s 21 losses have been by a combined 106 points for an average of 5.0 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 used key second-half runs and exploded for 52 and 50 points respectively in the second 20-minute stanza of each game in 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 49-49 at the break. The Irish trailed by nine points 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.

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 77 losses suffered by Irish teams in Mike Brey’s six-plus seasons, only 18 have been by 10 or more points and have been by a combined 505 for an average of 6.6 points per game. Notre Dame’s 18-point loss (66-48) to Georgetown this season was the largest under Brey.

Second Half Spurt:
Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 1285-1109 (41.4 to 35.8) in the second half of games this season. On five occasions this season, the Irish have topped the 50-point mark in the second half.

Over The Century Mark:
Notre Dame’s 103-91 victory over Syracuse was the second 100-plus point game of the season and the eighth time in the Mike Brey era that an Irish team has topped the 100-point plateau. Earlier this season, Notre Dame defeated Rider 101-51 victory on Dec. 28.

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.

Ayers Finding The Range:
Ryan Ayers connected on all four of his three-point attempts in the win at Cincinnati as he finished with a career-high 12 points. In the last 10 games, he is 15-31 (.484) from the field and 11-17 (.647) from three-point range.

An Unlikely Hero:
Heading into the Villanova game on Jan. 27, Ryan Ayers was just 15-42 (.357) and and 7-26 (.269) from three-point range. But in a 50-second span, Ayers proved to be the game’s hero as he scored five consecutive points as he turned a 60-57 deficit into a 62-60 advantage. Ayers, who played 11 minutes in the contest, nailed a three-pointer to tie the game at 60-60 with 2:29 to play and then connected on two-of-three free throws with 1:39 left after being fouled attempting a three-pointer. His five points were part of a 9-0 run by the Irish that lifted them to a 66-63 victory.

Big Luke=Big Numbers:
After 31 games, freshman Luke Harangody is fourth on the team in scoring (11.5) and second in rebounding (6.5). He has scored in double figures in 22 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, and the first by an Irish freshman since Torin Francis in November of 2002, when he scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds the loss to Butler. He has registered seven double-doubles this season. Harangody is shooting 46.1 percent from the field (131-284) and 82.3 percent (93-113) from the free-throw line and has earned BIG EAST Rookie of the Week honors three times this season and made the Honor Roll on one occasion.

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 46.1 percent from the field (841-1826) and 39.7 percent from three-point range (283-713). The Irish have shot better than 50.0 percent from the field in 12 games this season – (54.0 percent (34-63) vs. IPFW, 58.3 percent (35-60) against Lafayette, 54.5 percent (31-55) vs. Lehigh, 57.1 percent (32-56) against Winston-Salem St., 51.6 percent (32-62) vs. Alabama, 52.5 (31-59) vs. Army, vs. Rider, 51.5 percent (34-66) vs. Stony Brook, 50.9 (27-53) against West Virginia, 53.5 percent (23-43), vs. Seton Hall, 53.4 percent (31-58), Providence, 50.9 percent (28-55) and Cincinnati, 52.1 (25-48). 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. Notre Dame shot a season-low 30.8 percent against Georgetown in its 66-48 loss.

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 38.4 to 33.7 for a +4.7 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 has outrebounded 19 of its 31 opponents.

Russell Carter scored in double figures in the first 18 games of the season before seeing his double-figure scoring streak come to end against South Florida on Jan. 21 as he finished with nine points and has scored in double figures in 28 of 31 games. He leads the team in scoring with an 17.2 scoring average and has scored 20-plus points in 11 contests, including each of the last two games. Carter netted a career-high 32-point outing (the first 30-point game of his career) against St. John’s – the highest single-game performance for him in a BIG EAST game. He had 26 points against Villanova on Jan. 17 and in the previous outing versus Seton Hall on Jan. 14, Carter scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season and second of his career. He had a then career-high 28-point effort against Portland on Dec. 19. His 12-point effort against Army on Dec. 21 snapped a three-game streak in which he had registered 20-plus points (the second time in his career that he has done that). In the three games (Alabama, Elon and Portland) in which he posted 20-plus point efforts, he averaged 25.3 points – the highest three-game scoring average and most points (76) in his career.

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).

Double The Pleasure:
Rob Kurz’ 10 points and 10 rebounds against Villanova (Jan. 27) was his eighth double-double of the season. He posted three consecutive double-doubles for the first time in his career against Alabama, Elon and Portland and has grabbed 10-plus rebounds in nine contests. Luke Harangody is second on the team with six doubles.

BIG EAST Formula For Success Under Brey:
Since his arrival at Notre Dame, Mike Brey has led Notre Dame to a 66-46 (.589) record in BIG EAST regular-season games and a 3-7 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 69-53 (.566) 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.

266 And Counting:
Heading into the NCAA Tournament, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 265 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 17.5 assists per game (11th nationally) and had a season-high 28 against Lafayette with 35 baskets coming off of 28 assists. This year, Notre Dame owns a 0.64 assist-to-basket ratio (542 assists on 841 baskets). Six players have 40-plus assists.

Who’s It Going To Be This Time:
Through 31 games, five different players have led the Irish in scoring this season. Russell Carter has led the Irish in the scoring column on 14 occasions, while Colin Falls has been the leading scorer in nine games, while Rob Kurz and Luke Harangody have led the Irish four times in the scoring column. Kyle McAlarney led the Irish on one occasion.

Action Jackson:
Tory Jackson has responded well to his role as Notre Dame’s starting point guard and is averaging 7.7 points and 4.4 assists while playing 27.6 minutes per game. Jackson has scored in double figures in 10 games and in six of the last eight- DePaul (12), Providence (10), Cincinnati (10) DePaul (13), Marquette (21) and Syracuse (20). He had 20 points in the semifinal loss at the BIG EAST Tournament to Georgetown and scored a career-high 21 points against Marquette. Jackson registered his fourth 10-plus point outing of the season against Syracuse when he scored a then career-high 19 rebounds. He earned his first career start against Stony Brook on Dec. 30 and finished with three points, two rebounds, two assists and three steals. Against Louisville, he scored a career-high 14 points (5-8 from the field), in addition to matching his career-high with five rebounds and five assists and making two steals while playing 37 minutes. And while he did not score in the West Virginia game, Jackson did dish off a six assists and made three steals – including one with 1:32 to play after the Mountaineers had cut the deficit to 55-53. He scored nine points and dished off a career-high eight assists against Villanova and also had eight assists while playing a personal-best 39 minutes against St. John’s. Jackson reached double figures for the third time this season against South Florida as he finished with 11 points in the Irish victory, In Notre Dame’s loss to the Bulls, he dished off a personal best 11 assists. Against USF and DePaul, he averaged 39.5 minutes and turned the ball over a total of three times in the two games combined. Jackson dished off this 100th assist in the win at Cincinnati.

Home Sweet Home:
Since the inaugural season in 1968-69 at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame owns a 474-142 record all-time for a .769 winning percentage. The Irish are 88-27 (.765) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s six-plus seasons, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they own a 136-43 mark for a .760 winning percentage. Notre Dame’s 17 wins at home this season marks the ninth time in 10 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 is one of the best free-throw shooters on the team as he is shooting 80.0 percent from the charity stripe (132-165). He missed two free throws in the Elon game which ended a string of 30 consecutive made. Prior to that, he 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 one of Notre Dame’s best free-throw shooters in the last five minutes of the game having converted 25 of 30 attempts.

Welcome To The Club:
Senior Colin Falls became the 46th player in Notre Dame history to score 1,000 points with his 13-point outing against Winston-Salem State on Nov. 29. Falls has 1,373 career points (scored it against DePaul) for a 11.4 career scoring average. He has played in 120 career outings and started 88 contests.

Free Falls-ing:
In 120 career outings, 329 of Colin Falls’ 409 career field goals have come from three-point range which translates into an 80.4 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 318-of-790 three-point field goal attempts for a 40.3 percent accuracy from the field.

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 three 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 10 times (once verus Butler, West Virginia, Seton Hall, Villanova, DePaul and Rutgers and twice against Lehigh and Alabama) and has connected on 21-24 attempts. In his career he is 83-96 (.865) from the line after getting fouled while shooting a three-pointer. In the Seton Hall and DePaul games, Falls was fouled after making a three-pointer and converted the free throw for the four-point play in both of the contests.

Road Warriors:
In Mike Brey’s six-plus seasons, his Irish teams have compiled a road record of 53-50 (.486) that includes a 35-36 mark (.492) in true road games and a 18-114 (.552) record in neutral site contests.

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).

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).