Jan. 18, 2013
RUTGERS (12-4, 3-2)
#20/20 NOTRE DAME (14-3, 2-2)
January 19, 2013 o 8 p.m. (ET)
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center (9,149)
Notre Dame, Ind.
BIG EAST Network (Regional)
WMYS (Ch.69-South Bend)
Lou Canellis (play-by-play)
Sean Kearney (analyst)
Broadcast on UND.com (free)
Jack Nolan (play-by-play)
Jordan Cornette (analyst)
Gametracker on UND.com
IRISH PLAY HOST TO RUTGERS ON SATURDAY NIGHT
#20/20 Notre Dame (14-3, 2-2) will play host to BIG EAST foe Rutgers (12-4, 3-2) at 8 p.m. (ET) Saturday inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. The Fighting Irish will look to get back to their winning ways following setbacks to Connecticut (65-58) and St. John's (67-63).
Saturday's game can be seen regionally on the BIG EAST Network and on WMYS My Michiana Channel 69 in the South Bend area. The contest also is available on ESPN3 (internet). Lou Canellis (play-by-play) and Sean Kearney (analyst) will be on the call.
Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Jordan Cornette (analyst) will call the action for the Notre Dame Basketball Radio Network. The broadcast is available on Sirius/XM 85 and can also be heard for free on UND.com (full affiliate listings on Pg. 2).
NOTRE DAME-RUTGERS SERIES HISTORY
Saturday will be the 32nd meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Rutgers. The Irish lead the series 18-13. Notre Dame has won seven of the last nine meetings in the series.
The Scarlet Knights are 2-11 all-time at Notre Dame. Rutgers has dropped its last eight games inside Purcell Pavilion. The last Rutgers victory at Notre Dame was a 72-70 decision during the 1998-99 season.
Notre Dame and Rutgers split two meetings last season. The Scarlet Knights captured a 65-58 home win (Jan. 16, 2012), while the Irish won at home, 71-53, one month later.
The Irish are 15-10 against the Scarlet Knights since both teams joined the BIG EAST in 1995.
Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey is 12-6 all-time against Rutgers.
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 was held from Jan. 7-17 on Notre Dame's official web site UND.com and fans had 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 Saturday's game.
PLAYING WELL IN PURCELL
The Fighting Irish are 111-8 in their last 119 games played at home. That .933 home winning percentage over the course of the last seven seasons ranks second nationally. Kansas is first with a .967 mark.
Notre Dame is 46-2 in its last 48 home games. Both losses have come against Connecticut.
The Irish have not lost consecutive home games since the 2008-09 season (Connecticut & Marquette).
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.
ATKINS ON A ROLL IN LEAGUE PLAY
Junior point guard Eric Atkins is averaging a team-best 16.5 points per game in BIG EAST play. That ranks eighth in the conference.
Atkins is shooting 59.0% (23-39) from the field in BIG EAST play, including a league-best 77.8% (7-9) from three-point range.
He scored a season-high 21 points on Tuesday at St. John's. It was his fourth career game with 20 or more points.
Atkins has scored in double-figures in the last five games and 12 times overall this season. The five-game double-figure scoring streak matches a career best that he achieved earlier this season.
With his 21-point effort at St. John's, junior Eric Atkins became the fifth different Irish player to score 20 or more points in a game this season. Jack Cooley, Jerian Grant, Scott Martin and Garrick Sherman also have accomplished that feat.
Senior forward Tom Knight came off the bench to score a season-high six points on Tuesday at St. John's. He was 3-for-4 from the field in 17 minutes of action. Knight also grabbed three rebounds and blocked a career-high four shots.
BIG EAST BEASTS
Notre Dame is 33-11 (.750) over its last 44 BIG EAST regular-season contests.
The Irish have gone 72-38 (.655) 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 48-7 (.873) 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 20-2 in their last 22 BIG EAST home contests.
ASSISTS ALL AROUND
Notre Dame is second nationally in assists per game (18.7) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.76).
Junior point guard Eric Atkins is third in the BIG EAST in assists-per-game (6.9), while fellow junior guard Jerian Grant is sixth (5.1).
Notre Dame had 25 assists on its 35 made field goals in the BIG EAST opener against Seton Hall. The Irish have had 20 or more assists in a game eight times 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 317 of their 476 made field goals this season (.666).
The Fighting Irish rank seventh nationally in fewest turnovers per game (10.6). The Irish have had fewer than 10 turnovers in three of the last four games.
Notre Dame is shooting 50.6% from the floor this season. That mark ranks fifth nationally and it leads the BIG EAST.
The Irish have shot 50% or above from the field in five of the last seven contests.
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.
DRAINING FROM DEEP
The Irish rank first in the BIG EAST and ninth nationally with a .408 three-point percentage this season.
The Irish were 12-for-18 from three-point range in the BIG EAST opener against Seton Hall (Jan. 5). 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.
Uncharacteristically the Fighting Irish were just 1-for-9 (.111) from three-point range on Tuesday at St. John's. It was just the third time under head coach Mike Brey that the Irish made one trey in a game.
MARTIN A MARKSMAN
Scott Martin is 10-for-16 (.625) from three-point range in BIG EAST play. That percentage ranks third in the league.
Martin was 6-for-7 (.857) from three-point range against Seton Hall in the BIG EAST opener. The six made treys were a career-high total and a season-best total for the Irish.
Martin is shooting 49.2% (31-63) from three-point range this season. That percentage is the fourth-best among all BIG EAST players.
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.
CHARITY STRIPE TURNAROUND
The Fighting Irish are shooting 79.5% (70-88) from the free throw line in the last six games. Notre Dame was 14-for-17 (82.4%) from the line on Tuesday at St. John's. It was the third time this season (first in BIG EAST play) that the Irish shot 80% or above from the charity stripe.
Notre Dame shot 63.2% (96-152) from the line in the first nine games of the season, but the Irish have shot 76.6% (105-137) in the last eight games.
Junior guard Jerian Grant has made his last 16 free throw attempts.
Senior forward Jack Cooley is 18-for-22 (.818) from the free throw line in the last six games. He had his streak of consecutive made free throw attempts end at 15 against Seton Hall (Jan. 5).
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-for-18 from the charity stripe in the final five minutes of the contest.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE DOMINANCE FROM COOLEY
Senior forward Jack Cooley is fourth 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 (14.8) and rebounds (10.7). 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 12 straight games, which is a career-best streak and a team-best streak this season. He has scored in double-figures in 16 of the 17 games this season.
Cooley is 12th nationally and second in the BIG EAST in field goal percentage (.608).
He is averaging 1.4 blocked shots per game this season, which is tied for eighth 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.
Notre Dame's Jack Cooley (Sr./F) and Garrick Sherman (Sr./C) rank second and fourth, respectively, in the BIG EAST in shooting percentage. Cooley has a .608 (96-158) mark, while Sherman stands at .591 (52-88).
ATKINS ASSISTING THE IRISH EFFORT
Junior point guard Eric Atkins is seventh nationally and second in the BIG EAST in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.66).
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 ninth nationally and third in the BIG EAST with a 6.9 assist-per-game average this season.
He is second in the BIG EAST in minutes played per game (36.6) and is only averaging 1.9 turnovers per contest.
AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT
Junior point guard Eric Atkins had 130 assists and a 1.83 assist-to-turnover ratio last season. He currently has 117 assists and a 3.66 assist-to-turnover ratio this season.
Atkins shot 39.4% from the field last season and is currently shooting at a 50.7% clip. He has improved his three-point shooting from 37.5% last season to a current mark of 46.8%.
Sophomore guard/forward Pat Connaughton had 30 assists during his freshman campaign and already has dished out 46 assists this season. He had a 1.25 assist-to-turnover ratio last season, but has improved that to 3.54 this season.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Seven different Irish players have posted a team-high point total this season.
The Fighting Irish have seven players who are averaging at least 7.7 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 17 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).
Notre Dame opponents are shooting just 39.6% from the floor this season. Connecticut shot 50.9% (27-53) from the field last Saturday. That is the only time an Irish foe shot above 50% from the floor this season.
Notre Dame has held six opponents under 37.0% from the field this season.
FEW FOULS FOR THE FIGHTING IRISH
Notre Dame ranks second nationally in fewest personal fouls per game (12.4).
CLEANING UP THE GLASS
The Fighting Irish are 12-0 this season when outrebounding their opponent. Notre Dame has a +5.6 rebounding margin per game this season.
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 135-91 (.597) 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 772 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 1737-942 for a .648 winning percentage. In 17 seasons as a member of the BIG EAST, the Irish own a 162-132 (.551) 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.
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.
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.