Rob Kurz and the Irish look for victory number 26 on Saturday afternoon against Washington State

Notre Dame Set To Meet Washington State In NCAA Second Round Matchup

March 22, 2008

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Irish Advance To Second Round For First Time Since 2003

  • With its 68-50 victory over George Mason on Thursday night, Notre Dame advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003. The Irish are making their second straight NCAA appearance and fifth in eight seasons under head coach Mike Brey. The Irish also have made appearances in the NCAA under Brey in 2001 (1-1), 2002 (1-1), 2003 (2-1) and 2007 (0-1).
  • With a victory over Washington Sate, Notre Dame would advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the 16th time in school history and earn its first berth since 2003.
  • The Irish are the No. 5 seed in the East Region. The last time Notre Dame played in the East Region was in 1989 when it was the No. 9 seed in Providence, Rhode Island. In that bracket, the Irish beat No. 8 seed Vanderbilt (81-65) and then lost to No. 1 seed Georgetown (81-74).
  • Notre Dame last played as the No. 5 seed in 2003 in the West Region when it advanced to the regional semifinal with wins over No. 12 Wisconsin-Milwaukee (70-69) and No. 4 Illinois (68-60).
  • Notre Dame is making its 29th appearance in the NCAA Tournament field. The Irish own an all-time record of 30-32 (.483) in NCAA tournament action.

Noting The Irish

  • Notre Dame (24-8, 14-4) rebounded from its loss to Marquette (89-79) in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Tournament after earning a first-round bye in the championship for the second straight year and fourth time in eight seasons under head coach Mike Brey. The Irish finished tied for second with Louisville in the final BIG EAST regular-season standings, but earned the No. 3 seed overall by virtue of the Cardinals’s victory back on February 28.
  • Notre Dame’s 18-point win over George Mason was its largest margin of victory since a 19-point victory (82-63) over Charlotte in the first round of the South Region in Greenville, S.C. on March 14, 2002.
  • Notre Dame closed out the 2007-08 regular season by winning 11 of its final 13 games and finished with 24 regular-season victories, the most regular-season wins by an Irish team under Brey and most since 1973-74 when that squad finished up the regular season with a 24-5 mark heading into the NCAA Tournament.
  • Notre Dame earned its 25th victory of the season on Thursday night its most wins ever for an Irish team under head coach Mike Brey. Previous to this season, Notre Dame had won 24 games during the 2002-03 and 2006-07 campaigns. Notre Dame last won 25 or more games in 1973-74 when that Irish squad finished with a final 26-3 record.
  • Notre Dame’s 14-4 record in conference play marked the best-ever for an Irish team in BIG EAST play and the most-ever conference regular-season victories since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96. Prior to the 14 league wins, Notre Dame had previously won 11 regular-season contests during the 2000-01 and 2006-07 campaigns en route to 11-5 marks in both of those campaigns.
  • The home win over St. John’s in the final regular-season home finale extended Notre Dame school-record Joyce Center home win streak to 37 games (second active longest win streak nationally) and BIG EAST Conference win streak to 18 — a mark that ranks second all-time and is just two shy of the league record of 20 straight victories. The Irish have not lost at the Joyce Center since February 25, 2006 with an 80-72 setback to Marquette.
  • The all-time Notre Dame home win streak is 38 games. That mark began with a 41-31 victory over Wisconsin on December 11, 1943 and ended with a 68-51 loss to St. Louis on February 8, 1948.
  • Notre Dame’s matchup with Washington State will be facing their eighth ranked opponent of the season. The Irish are 2-5 versus ranked teams this season.
  • Notre Dame reached double-digit wins in BIG EAST play for the fifth time in eight seasons under head coach Mike Brey and earned a first-round bye for the fourth time during his tenure.
  • With its 25-6 record, Notre Dame has posted five 20-win seasons in eight campaigns under Mike Brey. He is only the second coach in school history to register five 20-win campaigns in his first eight seasons. Digger Phelps was the only other coach to post five 20-win campaigns in his first eight years of his 20-year tenure at Notre Dame.

Irish Show Tough “D” Against Mason

  • Notre Dame held George Mason to a season-low 50 points in Thursday night’s victory. The 50 points also were the second fewest ever allowed by an Irish team in an NCAA tournament game. The fewest points Notre Dame has allowed in an NCAA contest was 45 versus James Madison in a 54-45 victory in a second-round matchup in Providence, R.I.

Irish Played Nine Teams in 2008 NCAA Field

  • Notre Dame faced nine teams during the 2007-08 campaign that are part of the field of 65 teams in this year’s NCAA tournament field. The Irish were 6-6 versus those teams: Louisville (0-1), Villanova (1-0), Kansas State (1-0), Georgetown (0-1), Pittsburgh (1-0), Marquette (1-2), Connecticut (1-1), Baylor (0-1) and West Virginia (1-0).

Notes From The Win

  • Luke Harangody’s posted his 18th double-double of the season with his 18 points and 14 rebounds. It marked his first double-double in five games (his last was against Louisville on Feb. 28).
  • Rob Kurz became the 48th player in Notre Dame history to score 1,000 points. In 107 career outings, he has scored 1,005 points for a 9.4 career scoring average.
  • Kurz matched his season-high with four blocked shots.
  • Zach Hillesland’s 11 rebounds were a season-high and fourth time in his career that he grabbed 10-plus boards in a game.
  • Hillesland’s three steals also matched a career best.
  • Notre Dame held an opponent to 50 points and under for the third time this season. Series Record Versus Washington State
  • Notre Dame’s matchup with Washington State marks the first-ever meeting betwen the two schools. Notre Dame is 32-40 (.444) all-time versus teams from the Pacific- 10.

Could It Be Deja Vu

  • Mike Brey is celebrating his 49th birthday on Saturday when his Irish team takes on Washington State. In fact, this will mark the third time that Notre Dame has played on March 22 (Brey’s birthday) and are 2-0 in those contests.
  • The first time Notre Dame played on Brey’s birthday was on 2003 when they advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 1987. The Irish, a No. 5 seed in the West Region on that day, defeated No. 4 seed Illinois 68-60 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis.
  • Notre Dame also played St. Louis in the second of the NIT in 2004 and earned a 77-66 victory.

Common Opponents

  • Notre Dame and Washington State have one common opponent — Baylor. The Cougars were victorious over the Bears (67-64) on November 30, while the Irish lost to Baylor in the second round of the Paradise Jam.

Notre Dame In The State Of Colorado

  • Saturday’s game against Washington State will mark the seventh time that Notre Dame will be playing in the state of Colorado. The Irish are 4-2 in those contests.
    vs. Air Force: @ Denver 1-8-66 L 57-68
    @ Colorado Springs 12-12-58 W 67-52
    @ Colorado Springs 1-6-68 W 58-45
    @ Colorado Springs 1-10-71 W 75-71
    vs. Denver: @ Denver 12-20-47 L 60-61
    vs. GMU: @ Denver 3-20-08 W 68-50

Single Digit Losses Guaranteed

  • Notre Dame was 25-7 a year ago heading into the second round of the NCAA tournament and is guaranteed single-digit losses for the second straight year. The last Irish teams to register back-to-back seasons with fewer than 10 losses were the 1987- 88 (20-9) and 1988-89 (21-9) squads.

Notre Dame Reaches Highest Ranking Since 2002-03 Season

  • Notre Dame made its inaugural appearance in the polls this season during the first week of February and debuted at 22nd in the Associated Press ranking and 21st in the ESPN/USA Today poll. This week, the Irish are 15th in both polls, after dropping one spot from a week ago. Last week’s spot at 14th in both polls, marked the highest ranking for a Notre Dame team since the 2002-03 when that squad climbed as high as fifth during the first week in January of 2003.

Brey No Stranger To NCAA Tournament Success

  • Mike Brey is no stranger to the NCAA Tournament. He has a 5-6 record in the tournament as a head coach (5-4 at Notre Dame) and is 4-1 in first round games with the Irish (4-3 all-time). Thursday’s matchup with George Mason was his 47th NCAA tournament contest. In 13 coaching appearances (as either a head or assistant coach), he is 36-11 (.766) 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 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 the NCAA tournament berths in 1998 and 1999.

McAlarney Puts His Name In Irish Record Books

  • With his four three-pointers against Marquette in Notre Dame’s loss in the BIG EAST quarterfinals, Kyle McAlarney eclipsed Colin Falls’ single-season three-point field goal mark of 102 that was set during the 2005-06 campaign (Falls’ junior year). McAlarney now has 106 three-point field goals to his credit and it marks just the second time that an Irish player has connected on more than 100 three-point field goals in a season.

Five 20-Win Seasons Under His Belt

  • With its 25-7 record, the Irish have reached the 20-win mark for the fifth time in eight seasons and second consecutive year under head coach Mike Brey. Notre Dame’s 20-win campaigns under Brey have been in 2000-01 (20-10), 2001-02 (22-11), 2002-03 (24-10) and 24-8 (2006-07). In the 103-year history of the program, Notre Dame teams have won 20 or more games on 32 occasions.

302 And Counting

  • Heading into Saturday’s second-round matchup against Washington State, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 302 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 and fell just one field goal short of that mark (287) in 2006-07.

Road Warriors

  • In Mike Brey’s eight seasons, his Irish teams have compiled a road record of 61-58 (.513) that includes a 40-40 (.500) in true road games and a 21-18 mark (.538) in neutral site contests.