Kyle McAlarney keyed Notre Dame's offensive burst against Maryland on Sunday with 18 points.

Seven-Game Homestand Begins With #4/5 Alabama

Dec. 6, 2006

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Notre Dame (6-1, 0-0 BIG EAST) vs. #4/5 Alabama (7-0, 0-0 SEC West)
Thursday, December 7, 2006 * 9:00 p.m. (EST)
Joyce Center (11,418) * Notre Dame, Ind.

Television: ESPN: Sean McDonough (play-by-play analyst), Bill Raftery (color analyst) and Jay Bilas (color analyst)

Radio: Jack Nolan (play-by-play analyst), LaPhonso Ellis (color analyst)
Notre Dame Sports Properties originates the Notre Dame Radio Network which includes: WLS 890 AM in Chicago, Ill. (Chicago land area and Midwest); WZOW 97.7 FM and 102.3 FM in South Bend, Ind.; ESPN 950 AM in Indianapolis, Ind.; WLYV 1450 AM in Fort Wayne, Ind. and Northeast, Ind.;WLUV 96.7 AM in Rockford and DeKalb, Ill. and Beloit and Janesville, Wis.; WEFM 95.9 FM in Michigan City and Gary, Ind.; ESPN (WRSW) 1480 AM in Warsaw, Ind.; WAMW 107.9 FM and 1580 AM in Washington, Ind., Sirius Satellite Radio 159 and

Real-Time Stats: Live in-game statistics are available for all home games via the Notre Dame athletic website (

Notre Dame begins a seven-game homestand on Thursday evening when it plays host to #4/5 Alabama at the Joyce Center. The Irish will be facing their second ranked opponent in as many games. Coach Mike Brey’s squad is coming off an 81-74 victory on Sunday against #23/19 Maryland in the BB&T Classic. The Irish trailed by three (32-29) at the break against the Terrapins, but scored 52 second-half points. Trailing 44-37, Notre Dame used a 25-7 run in a span of five minutes to produce its first win over a ranked opponent since Dec. 7, 2005. Prior to the win, the Irish had lost seven straight to ranked opponents. This will be the fourth meeting between the two schools and the first-ever visit by the Crimson Tide to the Joyce Center. Following Thursday’s contest, the Irish will take an eight-day hiatus for final exams and will not be in action again until Sat., Dec. 16 when they face Elon at 7:00 p.m. Notre Dame has not played host to a top-10 opponent since Jan. 28, 2006 when it dropped a 72-70 decision to then sixth-ranked Villanova. It’s last win versus a top-10 team was against Boston College (ranked fourth at the time) 68-65 on Feb. 8, 2005. The Irish have won five straight since dropping a two-point decision to eventual NIT champion Butler (71-69) in the first round of the Midwest Region of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Notre Dame’s average margin of victory in its last four games has been +22.8 points per game and +21.1 in its seven games overall this season.

Out Of The Gate:

Notre Dame’s 5-1 start is the best for the Irish since the 2002-03 campaign when that Irish squad began the season 12-1 en route to a 24-10 campaign and NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance.

Irish Snap Losing Skid To Ranked Foes:

Sunday’s victory over Maryland snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Irish against ranked opponents. Notre Dame faced eight ranked foes a year ago and were just 1-7 versus those opponents.
@ Alabama (22/21) – W, 78-71
@ Pittsburgh (22/20) – L, 97-100 (2OT)
vs. Syracuse (-/24) – L, 82-88
vs. Georgetown (21/-) – L, 82-85 (2OT)
vs. Villanova (6/6) – L, 70-72
@ West Virginia (11/11) – L, 70-71
@ Connecticut (3/4) – L, 74-75 (OT)
vs. Georgetown (23/20) – L, 63-67 (BIG EAST Tournament)

The Last Time:

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. Notre Dame’s last wins over in back-to-back games over ranked opponents was during the 2002-03 campaign when that Irish squad put together a three-game win streak in the span of six days:
vs. Marquette (13/10) 92-71 (12/2/02)
vs. Maryland (9/8) 79-67 (12/7/02) – BB&T
Classic First Round
vs. Texas (2/2) 98=92 (12/8/02) – BB&T Classic Championship Game

Irish Love The BB&T Classic:

With its win over Maryland (81-74) at the BB&T Classic on Sunday night, 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:

Notre Dame’s win Sunday against Maryland at the Verizon Center pushed the Irish record to 8-2 all-time in games played at the Verizon Center (formerly the MCI Center). On Sunday, the Irish were making their first 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. As Notre Dame’s head coach, Mike Brey is 5-1 all-time in the MCI Center (3-1 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. Notre Dame is scheduled to return to the Verizon Center on Sat., Jan. 6 against Georgetown in the second game of the BIG EAST regular season.

Winning Impressively:

Four of Notre Dame’s six victories have been by 24 or more points as the Irish are outscoring their opponents by a +22.1 margin (84.4 to 62.3). Coach Mike Brey’s squad has posted wins of 30-plus points in three games – IPFW (92-49), Lafayette (92-60) and Winston-Salem (90-45). The 45-point win over Winston-Salem St. on Nov. 29 was the largest margin of victory since a 99-53 win (46 points) over New Hampshire on Nov. 16, 2001.

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 points, while Rob Kurz added 16 points and eight rebounds. Rookie Tory Jackson tossed in 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 43-point margin of victory was the most since an 89-45 (44 points) win over IUPUI on Nov. 18, 2002.

The Captains:

Senior Colin Falls 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.

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 in Season Openers:

Notre Dame owns an all-time record of 84-18 (.824) in season openers and have won all seven of its openers under head coach Mike Brey. Since the opening of the Joyce Center in 1968-69, Irish teams are 33-6 (.846) in home openers. The last time Notre Dame lost a season opener at home was to Miami of Ohio on November 13, 1998.

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

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 1587-878 record for a .644 winning percentage. In BIG EAST play, Notre Dame owns an 90-94 (.489) record all-time in conference regular-season play.

Always In It:

Since the 2005-06 campaign, Notre Dame’s 15 losses have been by a combined 61 points for an average of 4.1 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).

Harangody Nabs First BIG EAST Weekly Honor:

Freshman Luke Harangody was named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week on Nov. 20 as the league handed out its inaugural weekly honors for the 2006-07 season. He averaged 16.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in Notre Dame’s first four outings and became the first Irish rookies since Torin Francis in 2002-03 to earn the league’s rookie-of-the-week honor. Harangody has scored in double figures in all four games and is the first freshman since Troy Murphy in 1998-99 to net double figures in his first four collegiate outings.

Kurz Earns BIG EAST Honor Roll Recognition:

For the second time in his career, junior Rob Kurz was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll after leading the Irish to a 3-0 week in wins over Lehigh, Winston-Salem St. and Maryland. Kurz averaged 19.6 points and 7.7 rebounds and shot 72.7 percent from the field (16-22). He leads the Irish in both scoring (15.4) and rebounding (4.7).

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 71 losses suffered by Irish teams in Mike Brey’s six-plus seasons, only 16 have been by 10 or more points and have been by a combined 460 for a average of 6.5 points per game. Notre Dame’s biggest losses have been on the road at Pittsburgh (72-55 on Jan. 5, 2003) and against Arizona (88-71 on March 27, 2003) in the NCAA West Regional semifinal in Anaheim, Calif. Prior to those setbacks, the worst defeat was a 16-point decision at Connecticut during Brey’s first season.

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.

Seven Straight Postseason Appearances:

Since 2000, Notre Dame has appeared in either the NCAA or NIT tournaments each of the last seven 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 is 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).

Big Luke=Big Numbers:

After seven games, freshman Luke Harangody is fourth on the team in both scoring (12.6) and rebounding (4.4). He has scored in double figures five of seven 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 since Torin Francis in November of 2002 when he scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds the loss to Butler. In back-to-back games against Lafayette and The Citadel, he produced consecutive 18-point outings. Against the Leopards on Nov. 14, he finished with a career-best 17 points as he connected on 7-12 shots from the field and against the Bulldogs, he was 7-9 from the field and 4-4 from the free-throw line. Harangody is shooting 56.7 percent from the field (34-60) and 83.3 percent (20-24) from three-point range.

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 51.62 percent from the field (208-406) and 37.7 percent from three-point range (55-146) following seven games. The Irish have shot better than 50.0 percent from the field in four games this season (54.0 percent (34-63) vs. IPFW, 58.3 percent (35-60) against Lafayette, 54.5 percent (30-55) vs. Lehigh and 57.1 percent (32-56) against Winston-Salem St. 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. Against the Maryland, Notre Dame shot a season-low 43.1 percent (25-58).

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 39.4 to 27.3 for a +12.1 advantage. The Irish have outrebounded each of its first six 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).

BIG EAST Breakdown:

Notre Dame will play DePaul, USF and Villanova twice as part of its 16-game BIG EAST schedule. As was the case in 2005-06, each team will face 10 opponents once and three opponents twice (both home and away), but will not play two teams. The Irish will play home games against Louisville, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall and West Virginia and will face Cincinnati, Georgetown, Rutgers, St. John’s and Syracuse on the road. The two schools Notre Dame will not play during the upcoming campaign are Connecticut and Pittsburgh.

Series Record vs. Alabama:

Notre Dame and Alabama will be meeting on the hardwood for the fourth time with the Irish holding a 2-1 advantage. Tonight marks the second consecutive year that the two teams have faced each other. Alabama is making its first-ever appearance at the Joyce Center.

Irish All-Time vs. Southeastern Conference:

Notre Dame is 38-54 all-time versus teams from the Southeastern Conference. The Irish were 2-0 against the SEC in 2005-06 wins over Alabama (78-71) and Vanderbilt (79-69).

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 is shooting 75.0 percent (15-20) from the field and is perfect from three-point range (3-3).

BIG EAST Formula For Success Under Brey:

Since his arrival at Notre Dame, Brey has led Notre Dame to a 55-41 (.573) record in BIG EAST regular-season games and a 2-6 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 57-47 (.548) 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.

243 And Counting:

Heading into tonight’s game against Alabama, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 243 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 19.1 assists per game and had a season-high 28 against Lafayette with 35 baskets coming off of 28 assists. Twelve of those assists in the game were dished out by Kyle McAlarney, which marked a career-best for the Irish sophomore. This year, Notre Dame owns a 0.64 assist-to-basket ratio (134 assists on 208 baskets).

Home Sweet Home:

Since the inaugural season in 1968-69 at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame owns a 460-141 record all-time for a .765 winning percentage. The Irish are 75-27 (.735) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s six-plus seasons, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they own a 123-42 mark for a .745 winning percentage. Notre Dame’s 11-5 mark in 2005-06 at home marked the eighth time in nine 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 leads the team in free-throw percentage as he is shooting 94.1 percent from the charity stripe (32-34). Heading into tonight’s game, he has made 22 consecutive free-throws and has 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 4-4 in the win over Maryland on Sunday. He is Notre Dame’s best free-throw shooter in the last five minutes of the game having converted all eight of his attempts.

Welcome To The Club:

Senior Colin Falls became the 46th player in Notre Dame history to score 1,000 points in his 13-point outing against Winston-Salem St. on Nov. 29. Falls has 1,014 career points for a 10.3 career scoring average. He has played in 98 career outings and started 67.

Free Falls-ing:

In 98 career outings, 250 of Colin Falls’ 301 career field goals have come from three-point range which translates into an 83.1 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 250 of 626 three-point field goal attempts for a 39.9 percent accuracy from the field. Falls needs 53 three-point field goals this season to eclipse Chris Thomas’ career mark of 302 he set from 2001-05.

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 two-plus 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 three times (once verus Butler and twice against Lehigh) and connected on 8-9 attempts. In his career he is 70-81 (.864) from the line after getting fouled while shooting a three-pointer.

Road Warriors:

In Mike Brey’s six-plus seasons, his Irish teams have compiled a road record of 49-44 (.527) that includes a 32-31 mark (.507) in true road games and a 17-13 (.552) record in neutral site contests.

The Phonz Returns:

Former Irish great LaPhonso Ellis (1988-92) returns to be the color analyst for Notre Dame basketball games on the radio, teaming with play-by-play analyst Jack Nolan in 2005-06. Nolan was the color analyst for a number of year on the network, but assumes the play-by-play duties this year. Ellis, who ranks 13th all-time in career scoring and third in rebounding (1,075), will do a select number of games this season.

Frontcourt Efficiency:

Notre Dame’s backcourt has long been a staple of Mike Brey’s offense, but this year, the Irish frontcourt is putting up impressive numbers of its own. Between its four frontline players, Notre Dame is shooting 63.4 percent from the field (102-162). Zach Hillesland has missed just five shots for a 75.0 shooting percentage as he has connected on 15-20; Luke Zeller is shooting 64.3 percent as he has made 18-28 from the field; Rob Kurz has made 35 of his 53 shot attempts for a 66.0 percent accuracy and Luke Harangody has connected on 34-60 from the field, good for 56.7 percent.

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).

There’s a New Guy In Town:

There’s a new face along the Irish sidelines this season. Gene Cross, a 1994 graduate of Illinois, joins the Notre Dame basketball staff after spending the 2005-06 campaign at Virginia. A 10-year veteran of the collegiate ranks, he spent three years (2002-05) on Dave Leitao’s staff at DePaul before moving to Virginia when Leitao became the Cavaliers’ head coach. He also spent six years on the staff at University of Illinois-Chicago (1996-02).

Philly Family Connection:

Junior Rob Kurz’ sister Laura is a junior on the Villanova women’s basketball team (she is sitting out this season after transferring from Duke). Sophomore Ryan Ayers’ father Randy is currently an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic. He formerly was the head coach at Ohio State and with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Men In Black:

Against Seton Hall on Feb. 18, 2006, Notre Dame wore black uniforms with kelly green and white trim, marking the first time in school history that any Irish athletic team had worn black uniforms. Since that time the Irish have worn the black uniforms on seven occasions and a 4-3 all-time. Notre Dame wore black for the first time this season in Sunday’s win over Maryland.

Like Father, Like Son:

The last name of freshman walk-on Tim Andree should be familiar to the Irish basketball faithful. His father Tim was a four-year monogram winner and played basketball for the Irish from 1979-83. It marks the first father-son basketball duo at Notre Dame since Kevin Hawkins (1978-81) was a walk-on member, following in his father Tom’s (1956-59) footsteps.