NOTRE DAME OPENS LEAGUE PLAY AT HOME AGAINST SETON HALL
#21/19 Notre Dame (12-1, 0-0) will open its BIG EAST slate Saturday against Seton Hall (12-2, 1-0). Tip-off is scheduled for noon (ET) inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
The game can be seen on the BIG EAST Network (regional) and ESPN3. Anish Shroff (play-by-play) and Bob Wenzel (analyst) will be on the call.
Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and LaPhonso Ellis (analyst) will call the action for the Notre Dame Basketball Radio Network. The broadcast is available on Sirius 92, XM 191 and can also be heard for free on UND.com (full affiliate listings on Pg. 2).
Notre Dame has won its last 10 games. The Irish have not played since an 89-67 victory over Niagara on Dec. 21. Seton Hall opened league play Wednesday with a 73-72 win at DePaul.
PLAYING THE PIRATES
Saturday will be the 27th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Seton Hall. The Fighting Irish lead the series 18-8, including wins in nine of the last 10 encounters.
Notre Dame captured a 55-42 win at Seton Hall last season (Jan. 25, 2012). That was the second victory of a nine-game BIG EAST win streak for the Irish. Jack Cooley tallied 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Jerian Grant (15) and Eric Atkins (14) also scored in double-figures.
Notre Dame is 10-1 at home against Seton Hall. The Irish have won six straight games against the Pirates inside Purcell Pavilion. Seton Hall's lone victory at Notre Dame was a 74-64 decision on Feb. 18, 2001.
The Irish are 17-7 against the Pirates since joining the BIG EAST in 1995.
Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey is 12-4 all-time against Seton Hall.
The Fighting Irish will bring a 10-game win streak into Saturday's contest. It's the longest win streak for the Irish since they won 10 straight games during the 2007-08 season (Nov. 24-Jan. 5). This is Notre Dame's third win streak of at least 10 games under head coach Mike Brey. The longest win streak under Brey is 12 games during the 2006-07 season (Nov. 14-Jan. 3).
PLAYING WELL IN PURCELL
The Fighting Irish are 110-7 in their last 117 games played at home. That .940 home winning percentage over the course of the last seven seasons ranks second nationally. Kansas is first with a .966 mark.
The Irish are 45-1 (.978) in their last 46 home games. Notre Dame has a current 16-game home win streak.
Notre Dame has won 28 straight non-conference home games and the Irish are 69-1 in their last 70 non-league home contests. Notre Dame's last non-conference home loss was an 87-85 setback to Loyola Marymount on Dec. 12, 2009.
BIG EAST BEASTS
Notre Dame is 31-9 (.775) over its last 40 BIG EAST regular-season contests, including a 24-6 (.800) mark in the last 30 league games.
The Irish have gone 70-36 (.660) in BIG EAST regular-season play over the past six seasons. That is the third-best mark in the league over that time span.
Notre Dame has gone 47-6 (.887) 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. The Irish are 19-1 in their last 20 BIG EAST home contests.
IRISH BOAST SUCCESS IN BIG EAST OPENERS
Notre Dame is 11-6 all-time in BIG EAST openers and 8-4 under head coach Mike Brey. The Fighting Irish have won each of its last six BIG EAST openers. Notre Dame's last loss in a league opener came at Pittsburgh (100-97 in double overtime) on Jan 4, 2006.
Last season, the Irish captured a 72-59 home win over #22/22 Pittsburgh in the league lid-lifter. This is the fourth straight season, and the seventh time overall, in 18 seasons that Notre Dame has begun the conference season at home.
This will be the second time that Notre Dame has opened BIG EAST play against Seton Hall. The Irish won at Seton Hall, 66-65, to open the 2004-05 league slate.
Notre Dame BIG EAST opener wins the last six seasons:
vs. Louisville (78-62) on Jan. 3, 2007
vs. West Virginia (69-56) on Jan. 3, 2008
at DePaul (92-82) on Dec. 31, 2008
vs. Providence (93-78) on Dec. 30, 2009
vs. Georgetown (69-55) on Dec. 29, 2010
vs. Pittsburgh (72-59) on Dec. 27, 2011
The Fighting Irish are shooting 61.8% (63-102) from the floor in the last two games. Notre Dame shot a season-best 62.0% (31-50) in its last contest, an 89-67 win over Niagara. That performance came on the heels of a 61.5% (32-52) shooting effort against Kennesaw State. The Irish have shot 60% or better from the floor three times this season.
Notre Dame shot 75.0% (18-24) from the field in the second half against Niagara. That is the highest second-half shooting percentage for the Irish under head coach Mike Brey. It matched their best shooting effort in any half under Brey.
The Fighting Irish are shooting 51.0% (369-723) from the floor this season. That mark ranks seventh nationally and is second in the BIG EAST.
Notre Dame's 38.7% (92-238) three-point percentage is first in the BIG EAST.
CASHING IN FROM THE CHARITY STRIPE
The Fighting Irish are shooting 86.5% (32-37) from the free throw line in the last two games. Notre Dame was 19-22 (.864) from the charity stripe against Niagara after notching a season-best 86.7% (13-15) from the line versus Kennesaw State.
Notre Dame made a season-high 24 free throws (on 33 attempts) in the win over Purdue on Dec. 15. The Irish put the game away by going 16-for-18 from the charity stripe in the final five minutes of the contest.
HANDLING THE ROCK
Notre Dame is second nationally in both assist-to-turnover ratio (1.76) and assists per game (19.5).
The Fighting Irish rank 15th nationally in fewest turnovers per game (11.1).
Notre Dame had 25 assists on its 31 made field goals in the win over Niagara. It was the seventh time this season (third straight) that the Irish had 20 or more assists in a game.
Notre Dame opponents are shooting just 37.7% (289-766) from the floor this season. No Irish foe has shot above 46.6% (Saint Joseph's) from the floor this season. Notre Dame has held six opponents under 37.0%.
The Fighting Irish are allowing just 59.9 points per game this season.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE DOMINANCE FROM COOLEY
Senior forward Jack Cooley is second nationally with nine double-doubles this season. He has posted six double-doubles in the last eight games, including a 24-point, 15-rebound performance against Niagara. Both the point and rebound totals were season bests. The 24 points also were a team-high mark this season.
Cooley had a double-double in the first half alone against Niagara with 20 points and 10 rebounds. It was the second time this season he posted a double-double by halftime (BYU 12 pts, 10 rebs).
Cooley has 22 career double-doubles.
JACK ON ATTACK
Senior forward Jack Cooley has reached double-figures in points in eight straight games, which is a career-best streak. He has scored in double-figures in 12 of the 13 games this season.
Cooley is ninth nationally and second in the BIG EAST in field goal percentage (.640). He is 19-for-24 (.792) from the floor in the last three games. He also has made 10 straight free throw attempts.
Cooley is averaging team-best totals in points (15.2) and rebounds (11.3). The rebound mark leads all BIG EAST players. He also is first in the league in offensive rebounds per game (4.8).
He is averaging 1.7 blocked shots per game this season, which ranks sixth in the BIG EAST. Cooley's 97 career blocked shots are tied for seventh (with Carleton Scott and Matt Gotsch) in Notre Dame history.
Notre Dame's Garrick Sherman (Sr./C) and Jack Cooley (Sr./F) rank first and second, respectively, in the BIG EAST in shooting percentage. Sherman has a .644 (47-73) mark, while Cooley stands at .640 (73-114).
ATKINS ASSISTING THE IRISH EFFORT
Junior point guard Eric Atkins is seventh nationally and second in the BIG EAST in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.04). He dished out a career-high 13 assists in the win over Kennesaw State (Dec. 19). Those were the most assists for an Irish player since Tory Jackson had 15 in an 84-71 loss to Syracuse on Jan. 18, 2010.
Atkins is 10th nationally and third in the BIG EAST with a 7.2 assist-per-game average this season. He has dished out 10 or more assists in a game four times this season. Atkins has three double-doubles this season (points & assists).
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Five different Irish players have posted a team-high point total in the last six games.
The Fighting Irish have seven players who are averaging at least 8.5 points per game, including three with a double-figure average.
Eight different Irish players (Atkins, Auguste, Biedscheid, Connaughton, Cooley, Grant, Martin, Sherman) have notched a double-digit scoring effort this season.
Sophomore Pat Connaughton is averaging 13.5 points per game in the last four contests. He is 15-for-22 (.682) from the floor in the last three games.
Connaughton scored a season-high 18 points in the win over IPFW (Dec. 17) after tallying a then season-best 16 points versus Purdue (Dec. 15). He then deposited 12 points against Kennesaw State (Dec. 19). The three-game double-figure scoring streak was a career best.
MARTIN TALLIES 1,000TH CAREER POINT
With his sixth point in the win over Kennesaw State on Dec. 19, Scott Martin (GS/G) reached the 1,000-point milestone for his collegiate career. Martin has 735 points during his Notre Dame career. He tallied 272 points during his freshman season at Purdue.
MARTIN MAKING TREYS
Scott Martin is shooting 44.7% (21-47) from three-point range this season. That percentage ranks fifth among all BIG EAST players.
FEW FOULS FOR FIGHTING IRISH
Notre Dame ranks second nationally in fewest personal fouls per game (12.2).
CLEANING UP THE GLASS
The Fighting Irish are 11-0 this season when outrebounding their opponent. Notre Dame has a +8.0 rebounding margin per game this season.
TAMING THE CATS
Kentucky's 50 points in Notre Dame's 64-50 triumph on Nov. 29 were the fewest allowed by the Irish against a top-10 team since a 52-47 home win over No. 5 Maryland on Jan. 28, 1984. They are the fewest points for the Wildcats under head coach John Calipari.
BREY VS. TOP 10
The 64-50 win over #8 Kentucky on Nov. 29 improved Notre Dame to 17-23 (.425) against teams ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll under head coach Mike Brey. That includes a 12-6 mark at home.
Notre Dame has won four straight against top-10 opponents are 5-1 in the last six games against top-10 teams.
The Irish are 5-4 versus non-conference top-10 opponents under Brey.
Under Brey, unranked Notre Dame squads are 10-16 against top-10 teams.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE TIMES THREE
Notre Dame had three players record double-doubles in the win over Chicago State on Nov. 26 (Jerian Grant 22 points, 10 assists; Eric Atkins 13 points, 11 assists; Jack Cooley 11 points, 11 rebounds). It's the first time the Irish had three double-double performers since Nov. 17, 2010. That game also was against Chicago State.
Atkins and Grant joined elite company with their efforts. In the last 15 years, only one other pair of teammates had points and assists double-doubles in the same game. That was Connecticut's Jerome Dyson and Kemba Walker in 2010 against Notre Dame.
A VETERAN PRESENCE
The Irish returned 2,003 of their 2,257 total points (88.7%) and 1,068 of their 1,144 rebounds (93.4%) from one season ago. The team also brought back 88.7% of its minutes played from last season.
COOLEY ON WOODEN AWARD PRESEASON TOP 50 LIST
Senior forward Jack Cooley has been named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 by the Los Angeles Athletic Club. Chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball media members, the list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are the early front-runners for college basketball's most prestigious honor.
108 SEASONS AND GOING STRONG
The 2012-13 campaign marks the 108th season of basketball at Notre Dame and the 18th season as a member of the BIG EAST Conference. Notre Dame teams have posted an all-time record of 1735-940 for a .649 winning percentage. In 17 seasons as a member of the BIG EAST, the Irish own a 160-130 (.552) record in conference regular-season play.
FIGHTING IRISH CAPTAINS
Scott Martin (GS/G), Jack Cooley (Sr./F) and Eric Atkins (Jr./G) will captain the Fighting Irish during the 2012-13 season. Martin and Atkins are the 20th and 21st players in program history to serve as two-time team captains.
IRISH AIM FOR SEVENTH STRAIGHT 20-WIN CAMPAIGN
Notre Dame has reached the 20-win mark in each of the last six seasons and nine times in the last 12 seasons under head coach Mike Brey. The last time Irish teams reached the 20-win plateau in six straight campaigns was from 1983-89 under head coach Digger Phelps.
Mike Brey is in his 13th season along the Irish sidelines. He is the second-longest tenured coach in the BIG EAST, behind only Jim Boeheim of Syracuse. Brey stands fifth all-time in career BIG EAST victories (both regular-season and tournament) with his 133-89 (.599) mark. He is one of nine coaches in BIG EAST history to record 100 conference wins.
Notre Dame has earned appearances in the postseason in each of the last 13 seasons, which marks the longest stretch in school history. The Irish have been to the NCAA Tournament on eight occasions and the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) five times during this current stretch. Under head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame has played in the NCAAs eight times and NIT four times.
Sophomore guard/forward Pat Connaughton also is a pitcher on the Fighting Irish baseball team. Last spring, he appeared in 12 games, including 10 starts, and posted a 4-4 record with a 3.18 earned-run average. He logged 45.1 innings on the mound and registered 40 strikeouts.
Connaughton was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 50th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.
NOTRE DAME LISTED AS POTENTIAL HOST FOR ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY
The ESPN College Basketball GameDay cameras could be returning to Notre Dame during the 2012-13 campaign. ESPN released its College GameDay schedule and Notre Dame's matchup with defending BIG EAST tournament champion and 2012 NCAA Final Four participant Louisville on February 9, 2013, at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center is listed as one of two potential sites for the game. The other game that day which could be part of the Saturday Primetime broadcast is Pittsburgh at Cincinnati.
The site of the Feb. 9 contest will be chosen closer to the date of the game. The GameDay matchup will be played at 9 p.m. (ET) on ESPN and the game not chosen will be televised by either ESPN or ESPN2 at 6 p.m. that evening.
Notre Dame has hosted the Saturday morning show and primetime basketball contest on one other time -- Jan. 24, 2009, when the Irish played Connecticut.
IRISH RANK NUMBER ONE IN 2012 GSR
University of Notre Dame athletic programs again rank as the best in the country in graduation rates, based on Graduation Success Rate (GSR) figures released by the NCAA--including first-place ratings in the sports of football, men's basketball, women's basketball and ice hockey.
Among the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision institutions, Notre Dame had the highest percentage of its sports with 100 percent scores (for the seventh time in eight years), with a .863 figure (19 of 22).
In men's basketball, Notre Dame achieved a perfect 100 GSR rating, with only Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Utah State, Wake Forest, West Virginia and Western Kentucky also reaching the top slot.
The four-year GSR data is based upon the entering classes from 2002 to 2005.
BREY SIGNS HERALDED QUARTET IN NOVEMBER EARLY SIGNING PERIOD
Irish head coach Mike Brey signed four players - V.J. Beachem (Fort Wayne, Ind./New Haven), Demetrius Jackson (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian), Austin Torres (Mishawaka, Ind./Penn) and Steve Vasturia (Medford, N.J./St. Joseph's Prep) - to national letters of intent during the November 2012 early signing period.
Beachem (6-6, 180-pound small forward) averaged 19.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 2011-12. An all-state selection he played on the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Junior All-Star Team.
Jackson averaged 22.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.0 steals as a junior while leading Marian to the Class 3A sectional title. An honorable mention All-American by MaxPreps.com, he is an all-state honoree and two-time Northern Indiana Conference Player of the Year.
Torres (6-6, 200-pound power forward) was an all-Northern Indiana Conference honorable mention selection after averaging 10.0 points and 7.2 rebounds. He plays on the same MBA Select AAU Team as Jackson.
Vasturia (6-5, 190-pound shooting guard) was named MVP of the Philadelphia Catholic League after leading his team to the Philadelphia 4A state championship while averaging 21.0 points and 9.3 rebounds.