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    #17/16 Notre Dame Plays Host To Connecticut Saturday

    FIGHTING IRISH Junior point guard Eric Atkins ranks sixth nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.12) and eighth in assists per game (7.4).
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Junior point guard Eric Atkins ranks sixth nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.12) and eighth in assists per game (7.4).
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Jan. 11, 2013

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    CONNECTICUT (11-3, 1-1)
    vs.
    #17/16 NOTRE DAME (14-1, 2-0)

    January 12, 2013 o 2 p.m. (ET)
    Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center (9,149)
    Notre Dame, Ind.

    TV:
    BIG EAST Network (Regional)
    WMYS (Ch.69-South Bend)
    Lou Canellis (play-by-play)
    LaPhonso Ellis (analyst)

    RADIO:
    Broadcast on UND.com (free)
    Sirius 91, XM 91
    Jack Nolan (play-by-play)
    Sean Kearney (analyst)

    LIVE STATS:
    Gametracker on UND.com

    The Last Meeting
    Notre Dame50
    Connecticut48
    January 29, 2012
    Hartford, Conn. (XL Center)
    Second Half Surge Pushes Irish Past No. 24 UConn, 50-48
    Eric Atkins scored 13 points and Jerian Grant hit three key free throws late as Notre Dame beat No. 24 Connecticut 50-48 on Sunday, the third straight win for the Irish and the third straight loss for the Huskies. Grant had 11 points and Scott Martin added 10 points for Notre Dame (14-8, 6-3 BIG EAST), who controlled the tempo throughout. The loss spoiled the return of freshman guard Ryan Boatright for Connecticut (14-6, 4-4) and, who missed the last three games amid an NCAA investigation into his eligibility.

    STREAKING IRISH PLAY HOST TO CONNECTICUT ON SATURDAY
    • #17/16 Notre Dame (14-1, 2-0) will bring a 12-game win streak into Saturday's BIG EAST showdown with Connecticut (11-3, 1-1). Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. (ET) inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
    • The game can be seen regionally on the BIG EAST Network and on WMYS My Michiana Channel 69 in the South Bend area. Lou Canellis (play-by-play) and LaPhonso Ellis (analyst) will be on the call.
    • Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Sean Kearney (analyst) will call the action for the Notre Dame Basketball Radio Network. The broadcast is available on Sirius 91, XM 91 and can also be heard for free on UND.com (full affiliate listings on Pg. 2).
    • Notre Dame is 2-0 in BIG EAST play for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign. The Irish have never began a BIG EAST season 3-0.

    SERIES WITH CONNECTICUT
    • Saturday will be the 28th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Connecticut. The Huskies lead the series 17-10, yet the Fighting Irish have won four of the last five showdowns.
    • Notre Dame and Connecticut split last season's two meetings. The Huskies captured a 67-53 win at Notre Dame (Jan. 14, 2012), while the Irish posted a 50-48 victory at Connecticut (Jan. 29, 2012).
    • The Fighting Irish are 7-5 at home versus the Huskies.
    • Mike Brey is 7-12 all-time against Connecticut.

    STREAKING
    • Notre Dame's current 12-game win streak matches the longest for the program under head coach Mike Brey. The Irish also won 12 straight games during the 2006-07 season (Nov. 14-Jan. 3). This is Notre Dame's third win streak of at least 10 games under Brey.
    • A win against the Huskies on Saturday would mark the longest win streak for a Notre Dame squad since the 1953-54 campaign when that Irish team won 18 straight before finishing the season with a 22-3 record.
    • The program's longest win streak is 22, which spanned portions of the 1932-33 and 1933-34 seasons.

    STARTING STRONG
    • This season's 14-1 start is the best 15-game record for Notre Dame under head coach Mike Brey (13 seasons). The last time a Notre Dame team was 14-1 to start the season was in 1973-74 when that Irish squad went 24-1 before losing their next contest.

    BIG EAST BEASTS
    • Notre Dame is 33-9 (.786) over its last 42 BIG EAST regular-season contests, including a 26-6 (.813) mark in the last 32 league games.
    • The Irish have gone 72-36 (.667) in BIG EAST regular-season play over the past seven seasons. That is the third-best mark in the league over that time span.
    • Notre Dame has gone 48-6 (.889) at home in BIG EAST play over the last seven seasons. That is the best home winning percentage for any BIG EAST school in league play over that time period. The Irish are 20-1 in their last 21 BIG EAST home contests.

    PLAYING WELL IN PURCELL
    • The Fighting Irish are 111-7 in their last 118 games played at home. That .941 home winning percentage over the course of the last seven seasons ranks second nationally. Kansas is first with a .966 mark.
    • The Irish are 46-1 (.979) in their last 47 home games. Notre Dame has a current 17-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.

    ASSISTS ALL AROUND
    • Notre Dame is first nationally in assists per game (19.9) and second in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.83).
    • Notre Dame had 25 assists on its 35 made field goals in last Saturday's win over Seton Hall. The Irish have had 20 or more assists in four of their last five games and eight times overall this season. The 25 assists against the Pirates tied the most ever for the Irish in a BIG EAST game.
    • The Irish have had an assist on 292 of their 428 made field goals this season (.682).
    • The Fighting Irish rank 13th nationally in fewest turnovers per game (10.9). The Irish only had seven turnovers against Cincinnati. It was the second straight game and the fourth time this season they have had fewer than 10 turnovers in a contest.

    HOT SHOTS
    • Notre Dame is shooting 51.4% from the floor this season. That mark ranks fourth nationally and it leads the BIG EAST.
    • The Irish have shot 50% or above from the field in each of the last five contests. The last time Notre Dame accomplished that feat was during the 1988-89 season when the Irish were 50% or better from the floor in 10 straight games (Jan. 3-Feb. 2).
    • Notre Dame shot a season-best 62.0% (31-50) in its 89-67 win over Niagara (Dec. 21). The Irish have shot 60% or better from the floor three times this season.
    • The Irish 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.

    DRAINING FROM DEEP
    • The Fighting Irish were 9-of-16 (.563) from three-point range in Monday's victory at Cincinnati. Notre Dame is 21-of-34 (.618) from beyond the arc in the last two games.
    • The Irish were 12-of-18 from three-point range last Saturday against Seton Hall. The 66.7% three-point shooting clip is the best ever for Notre Dame in a BIG EAST contest. The 12 treys tied a season-high total for the Irish and it marked the third time this season the Irish made 10 or more three-pointers in a game.
    • The Irish are shooting 54.4% (37-68) from long distance in the last four games. Notre Dame ranks first in the BIG EAST and 12th nationally with a .415 three-point percentage this season.

    MARTIN A MARKSMAN
    • Scott Martin is 10-of-14 (.714) from three-point range in the last two contests. He was 4-of-7 on Monday at Cincinnati after going 6-of-7 last Saturday versus Seton Hall. The six made treys were a career-high total and a season-best total for the Irish.
    • Martin is shooting 50.8% (31-61) from three-point range this season. That percentage leads all BIG EAST players. It would rank fifth nationally if he had enough attempts.
    • He shot just 26.1% from beyond the arc last season. Martin has deposited 31 treys this season after making 30 all of last season.

    PERFECTION FROM THE PERIMETER
    • Freshman forward Cameron Biedscheid has made his last six three-point attempts. He was 2-of-2 from three-point range against Seton Hall after going 4-of-4 versus Niagara (Dec. 21). Biedscheid did not have an attempt at Cincinnati.
    • Junior point guard Eric Atkins has made his last four three-point attempts. He was 1-of-1 at Cincinnati and 3-of-3 against Seton Hall.
    • Notre Dame made seven consecutive three-pointers during the Cincinnati contest. The Irish were 6-of-6 from distance in the final 6:14 of the first half and then converted on their first attempt of the season half. The first-half barrage helped erase a nine-point deficit in a span of 2:10.

    CHARITY STRIPE TURNAROUND
    • The Fighting Irish are shooting 81.3% (52-64) from the free throw line in the last four games.
    • Notre Dame shot 63.2% (96-152) from the line in the first nine games of the season, but the Irish have shot 77.0% (87-113) in the last six games.
    • Notre Dame made a season-high 24 free throws (on 33 attempts) in the win over Purdue (Dec. 15). The Irish put the game away by going 16-of-18 from the charity stripe in the final five minutes of the contest.
    • Junior guard Jerian Grant has made his last 12 free throw attempts.
    • Senior forward Jack Cooley is 18-of-20 (.900) from the free throw line in the last four games. He had his streak of consecutive made free throw attempts end at 15 against Seton Hall.

    DOUBLE-DOUBLE DOMINANCE FROM COOLEY
    • Senior forward Jack Cooley is tied for second nationally with 10 double-doubles this season.
    • Cooley has produced a double-double in the first half alone twice this season (Niagara 20 pts, 10 rebs; BYU 12 pts, 10 rebs).
    • Cooley has 23 career double-doubles, which all have occurred in the last two seasons.

    JACK ON ATTACK
    • Senior forward Jack Cooley is averaging team-best totals in points (15.2) and rebounds (11.2). The rebound mark leads all BIG EAST players and is sixth nationally. He also is first in the league in offensive rebounds per game (4.7).
    • He has reached double-figures in points in 10 straight games, which is a career-best streak and a team-best streak this season. He has scored in double-figures in 14 of the 15 games this season.
    • Cooley is 10th nationally and fourth in the BIG EAST in field goal percentage (.637).
    • He is averaging 1.5 blocked shots per game this season, which ranks seventh in the BIG EAST. Cooley's 98 career blocked shots are the seventh-most in Notre Dame history.

    COOLEY ON WOODEN AWARD MIDSEASON TOP 25 LIST
    • Senior forward Jack Cooley has been named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 list by the Los Angeles Athletic Club. The list is comprised of 25 student-athletes who are the front-runners for college basketball's most prestigious honor.

    INSIDE EFFICIENCY
    • Notre Dame's Garrick Sherman (Sr./C) and Jack Cooley (Sr./F) rank third and fourth, respectively, in the BIG EAST in shooting percentage. Sherman has a .627 (52-83) mark, while Cooley stands at .613 (84-137).

    ATKINS ASSISTING THE IRISH EFFORT
    • Junior point guard Eric Atkins is sixth nationally and second in the BIG EAST in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.89).
    • Atkins has four double-doubles this season (points & assists). He has dished out 10 or more assists in a game five times this season. Atkins is eighth nationally and third in the BIG EAST with a 7.3 assist-per-game average this season.
    • He is playing a team-best 36.2 minutes per game this season and is only averaging 1.9 turnovers per contest. Atkins has had two turnovers or less in a game 10 times this season.
    • Atkins is averaging 11.2 points per game and is shooting 45.2% (19-42) from three-point range.

    AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT
    • Junior point guard Eric Atkins had 130 assists and a 1.83 assist-to-turnover ratio last season. He currently has 109 assists and a 3.89 assist-to-turnover ratio this season.
    • Atkins shot 39.4% from the field last season and is currently shooting at a 48.8% clip. He has improved his three-point shooting from 37.5% last season to a current mark of 45.2%.
    • Junior guard Jerian Grant has improved his floor shooting from 38.0% last season to 47.1% this season.
    • Sophomore guard/forward Pat Connaughton had 30 assists during his freshman campaign and already has dished out 42 assists this season. He had a 1.25 assist-to-turnover ratio last season, but has improved that to 3.82 this season.

    SPREADING THE WEALTH
    • Six different Irish players have posted a team-high point total in the last eight games.
    • The Fighting Irish have seven players who are averaging at least 8.1 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.
    • Notre Dame has had at least four double-figure scorers in nine of the team's 15 games this season. The Fighting Irish have boasted at least five double-digit performers six times. The Irish had a season-high six double-digit scorers against Chicago State on (Nov. 26).

    DEPENDABLE DEFENSE
    • Notre Dame opponents are shooting just 38.8% from the floor this season. No Irish foe has shot above 46.9% (Cincinnati) from the floor this season. Notre Dame has held six opponents under 37.0%.

    FEW FOULS FOR THE FIGHTING IRISH
    • Notre Dame ranks second nationally in fewest personal fouls per game (12.3).

    CLEANING UP THE GLASS
    • The Fighting Irish are 12-0 this season when outrebounding their opponent. Notre Dame has a +7.1 rebounding margin per game this season.

    IRISH TO HELP HURRICANE SANDY VICTIMS
    • As relief efforts continue for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, and most notably for those in the state of New Jersey, the Fighting Irish basketball team is getting involved in the cause. A special online auction will be held from Jan. 7-17 on Notre Dame's official web site UND.com and fans have the opportunity to bid on several unique items. Proceeds from the auction will be presented to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Christie, a longtime friend of Irish head coach Mike Brey, is scheduled to be in attendance at the Notre Dame-Rutgers game at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center on Saturday, Jan. 19.

    ELDER STATESMAN
    • 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 135-89 (.603) mark. He is one of nine coaches in BIG EAST history to record 100 conference wins.
    • Brey needs just four more league victories to move into a tie with former St. John's head coach Lou Carnesecca for fourth place on the BIG EAST all-time wins list.
    • Notre Dame was just 36-58 (.383) in five seasons of BIG EAST play prior to Brey's arrival.

    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 769 points during his Notre Dame career. He tallied 272 points during his freshman season at Purdue.

    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. THE 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.

    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.

    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 1737-940 for a .649 winning percentage. In 17 seasons as a member of the BIG EAST, the Irish own a 162-130 (.555) 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.

    POSTSEASON STRETCH
    • 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.

    DOUBLE-DUTY
    • 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.

    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.

     

     

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