Jan. 24, 2014
Notre Dame (11-8, 2-4)
Wake Forest (13-6, 3-3)
Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014
3 p.m. (ET)
Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum (14,665)
NOTRE DAME FACES ANOTHER ACC ROAD TEST AT WAKE FOREST
In search of its first-ever Atlantic Coast Conference road win, Notre Dame (11-8, 2-4) plays its second straight ACC road game Saturday afternoon as the Irish travel to Winston Salem, N.C. to take on the Wake Forest Deamon Deacons at 3 p.m. (ET) at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. It will be Notre Dame's fourth road tilt in its last five outings. This is the only regular-season matchup between Notre Dame and Wake Forest this season.
The game will be broadcast on the ACC Network with Tim Brant (play-by-play) and Dan Bonner (analyst) calling the action. ESPN3 and theACC.com will show the contest on the web, while the game can be seen on WMYS-TV (My Michiana) in the South Bend area.
A free audio broadcast will be available on WatchND.tv. Jack Nolan and former Irish standout Jordan Cornette will call the action. The broadcast can also be heard on The Notre Basketball Radio Network headed by WSBT 96.1 FM and 960 AM in South Bend. A complete affiliate list is available on page 5 of this notes packet. The broadcast also is available on Sirius 119/XM 195.
Following Saturday's game at Wake Forest, four of Notre Dame's next five contests will take place at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
THE WAKE FOREST SERIES
Saturday will be just the second meeting ever between Notre Dame and Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons topped the Fighting Irish, 71-61, in the title game of the 2000 Postseason NIT at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Wake Forest is the only ACC school that Mike Brey has never faced during his head coaching career.
CLOSE LOSSES IN LEAGUE PLAY
Notre Dame heads into Saturday's contest at Wake Forest with a 2-4 record in ACC play and the four losses have been by a combined 22 points (5.5 ppg.)
In fact, the eight setbacks suffered by Irish this season have been by a total of just 47 points (5.9 ppg.).
Notre Dame has only one loss by 10-plus points (vs. Indiana State, 83-70).
PAT PERFORMING WELL IN ACC PLAY
Junior swingman Pat Connaughton is averaging 15.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists in ACC play. He has scored in double figures in all but one league game (Florida State) this season.
His 3.0 assist-to-turnover ratio (21 assists/7 turnovers) in ACC play ranks fourth in the conference.
Connaughton is 16-of-44 (.364) from three-point range in ACC games. The 16 treys are the third-most in the conference, while the percentage ranks eighth.
Connaughton tied a season-high mark with 21 points against Virginia Tech on Sunday. It was the third time this season (first in ACC play) and seventh time of his career that he scored 20 or more points in a game.
He registered his fourth double-double of the season (sixth of his career) on Jan. 11 at Georgia Tech as he netted 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in addition to dishing off a career-high seven assists.
Connaughton is averaging career-bests of 14.1 points and 7.3 rebounds this season. Last season, he averaged 8.9 points and 4.7 rebounds.
Notre Dame has lost its first four road games of a season for the first time since the 1993-94 campaign when the Irish started 0-8 on the road. This is the first four-game road losing streak for the Fighting Irish since they dropped five straight during the 2009-10 season.
ATKINS ON THE ATTACK
Senior point guard Eric Atkins has scored in double-figures in each of the last eight games, which is a career-best streak and the longest active streak on the team. He is averaging 17.5 ppg. in those eight contests. Atkins scored a game-high 24 points on Tuesday at Florida State. That was his fourth 20-plus point effort of the season (second in ACC play).
Atkins was named ACC Player of the Week in consecutive weeks (Dec. 30 and Jan. 6). His 1,248 career points are the fourth-most among active ACC players, while his 526 career assists are the most for any current ACC player.
He recorded his first double-double of the season (fifth of his career) by tallying 19 points and 11 assists in the Jan. 4 win over Duke. The 11 assists are the most for an ACC player in a league game this season.
He scored a career-high 30 points and played all 45 minutes in the overtime victory over Canisius on Dec. 29. He was the first Irish player to score 30 points since Tim Abromaitis and Ben Hansbrough both netted 30 against Villanova on Feb. 28, 2011. Atkins deposited a career-high six three pointers (on eight attempts) and finished 10-of-14 from the field. The six treys are a team-high total this season.
ATKINS ASSISTING THE IRISH
Senior point guard Eric Atkins' 2.33 career assist-to-turnover ratio ranks fourth among all active Division I players.
Atkins has 521 careers assists and just 224 turnovers. The career assist total currently ranks 13th nationally. This season, Atkins has 93 assists and 39 turnovers for a 2.38 assist-to-turnover ratio, which is sixth-best in the ACC.
Against Duke, Atkins dished out a season-high 11 assists and had only two turnovers. Those were the most assists for any Irish player this season and it marked the sixth time of his career that he had 10-plus assists in a game.
TAKING CARE OF THE BASKETBALL
Notre Dame ranks eighth nationally (second in the ACC) with a 1.62 assist-to-turnover ratio. The Irish have the country's 10th-best assists-per-game mark (17.1), which is first in the ACC.
The Irish have dished off 20 or more assists in five contests this season and they have committed fewer than 10 turnovers in nine games.
SHERMAN ON A HOT STREAK
Senior center Garrick Sherman is averaging career-bests in points (14.9) and rebounds (8.4) this season. In ACC play, he is averaging 15.8 points and 10.0 rebounds, which leads the league.
He saw his career-best 14-game double-figure scoring streak come to an end against Virginia Tech last Sunday, but rebounded two days later with 21 points and 10 rebounds at Florida State
Sherman's six double-doubles this season are the second-most in the ACC.
Sherman's 52.3% shooting percentage ranks second among all ACC players. He is shooting 71.6% (53-74) from the free throw line. Heading into the season, Sherman was just 31-47 (66.0%) from the line at Notre Dame and was a career 55.7% (49-88) free-throw shooter.
He tallied a career-high 29 points at Iowa (Dec. 3).
Sherman has a team-high 16 blocked shots this season.
SHERMAN PUTTING ON A DOUBLE-DOUBLE DISPLAY
Senior center Garrick Sherman posted his sixth double-double of the season Tuesday night against Florida State as he tallied 21 points and 10 rebounds. He leads the ACC with three double-doubles in league play.
One of his strongest showings of the year thus far came against North Carolina State as he finished with 21 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. The 18 boards are tied for the most for an ACC player in a league game this season.
Sherman is the first Irish player to score at least 20 points and pull down 18 rebounds since Jack Cooley notched 22 points and 18 boards on Feb. 15, 2012, against Rutgers.
All six of Sherman's double-doubles have occurred in the last 11 games.
SHUFFLING THE STARTERS
Notre Dame used its seventh different starting lineup of the season on Sunday versus Virginia Tech. The Irish have used a different starting five in three of the last four games.
Eric Atkins (Sr./G), Pat Connaughton (Jr./G-F) and Garrick Sherman (Sr./C) have started all 19 games this season, while Demetrius Jackson (Fr./G) has started the last 14 contests. Zach Auguste (So./F), Steve Vasturia (Fr./G) and Austin Burgett (So./F) all have notched a start in the last four games.
FRESHMEN IN THE STARTING FIVE
Notre Dame had two freshmen -- Demetrius Jackson and Steve Vasturia -- in the starting lineup against Maryland on Jan. 15. It marked the 12th consecutive start for Jackson and the first career start for Vasturia.
The last time the Irish had two freshmen in the starting lineup was during the 2006-07 campaign when rookies Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson both earned multiple starts throughout the season, including the final game of the season, a 74-64 loss to Winthrop in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
DRAINING FROM DEEP
Eric Atkins (153) and Pat Connaughton (147) rank 12th and 13th, respectively, in Notre Dame history in three-point field goals made.
Connaughton leads the Irish in three-pointers made (48) and three-point percentage (.407) this season. Atkins is 36-of-98 (.367) from three-point range this season.
As a team, Notre Dame is shooting 36.6% from beyond the arc. That ranks fourth in the ACC.
Junior Pat Connaughton has never missed a game during his Fighting Irish career. He has played in all 88 games, including 72 starts. Connaughton has started 69 consecutive contests. He is averaging 35.8 minutes per game this season.
Senior point guard Eric Atkins has played in 84 straight games (all starts). He has only missed two contests during his Notre Dame career and has competed in 120 games (92 starts). Atkins is averaging a team-high 37.1 minutes per game this season. That figure ranks 15th nationally and is first in the ACC. He is averaging 34.3 minutes per game during his career.
PLAYING WELL IN PURCELL
The Fighting Irish are 127-12 at home since the beginning of the 2006-07 season. That .914 winning percentage over the course of the last eight seasons ranks sixth nationally.
FIGHTING IRISH FACTS
Since the beginning of the 2010-11 season, Notre Dame is 36-2 when shooting 50% or above from the field, 63-6 when outrebounding its opponent and 66-6 when leading at halftime.
DIGGER PHELPS BECOMES SIXTH INDUCTEE INTO RING OF HONOR
Former Irish head coach Digger Phelps became the sixth inductee into Notre Dame's Ring of Honor during halftime of Sunday's Notre Dame-Virginia Tech game.
More than two dozen of Phelps' former players from his 20-season era (1971-91) returned to campus to see their former head coach inducted into the Ring of Honor.
Notre Dame also commemorated the 40th anniversary of Notre Dame ending UCLA's 88-game win streak. The landmark victory took place at Notre Dame on Jan. 19, 1974. The win streak still remains the longest in men's college basketball history. Eleven members of the squad were recognized for that achievement during a first-half timeout of Sunday's game.
ATKINS ON BOB COUSY AWARD WATCH LIST
Senior Eric Atkins was named to the watch list for the 2014 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award. Atkins is averaging 14.3 points and 4.9 assists per game this season and boasts a 2.44 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Atkins has 1,248 career points and 526 assists.
The annual honor, announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and is named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic point guard Bob Cousy, recognizes the top point guards in men's basketball. A committee of well-respected media members and influential people within collegiate basketball from around the country comprise the committee. This year's watch list will be narrowed down to a final 20 in early February, then a final five in early March.
IRISH OPEN ACC ERA WITH WIN OVER DUKE
January 4 was a historic day for Notre Dame as it opened its Atlantic Coast Conference era with a 79-77 victory over No. 7 Duke. The win snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Blue Devils that began in 1988. It was Notre Dame's first victory over Duke since a 70-66 overtime win on Feb. 15, 1987, at the Joyce Center.
Duke grabbed a 10-point lead (60-50) with 11:35 left in the second half, but Notre Dame responded with a 10-0 run to tie the game with 8:01 remaining. In fact, the Irish extended it to a 20-4 run to take their largest lead (70-64) of the game with 4:18 left to play.
FIGHTING IRISH TAKE DOWN ANOTHER TOP-10 FOE
The win over No. 7 Duke gave Notre Dame its fifth straight home victory over a team ranked in the top-10 of the Associated Press poll.
Under head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame is 13-6 at home against teams ranked in the top-10 of the AP poll.
Overall, Notre Dame is 5-4 in its last nine showdowns with an AP top-10 foe. The Irish are 18-27 against teams ranked in the top-10 of the AP poll under Brey.
With Notre Dame's move to the Atlantic Coast Conference, senior center Garrick Sherman now is playing in the third different conference during his collegiate career. Sherman played his first two seasons (2009-11) in the Big Ten Conference while at Michigan State and then transferred to Notre Dame following the 2010-11 campaign. After sitting out the 2011-12 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Sherman played last year in Notre Dame's final season in the BIG EAST Conference.
IRISH ENTER THE ACC
Following 18 seasons in the BIG EAST Conference, Notre Dame is in its first season as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Notre Dame will face each of the other 14 ACC member schools at least once during this season's 18-game conference schedule. Along with home-and-away dates with its "partner schools" Boston College and Georgia Tech, Notre Dame will meet both North Carolina and Virginia twice during the season. The Fighting Irish also will play host to Clemson, Duke, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech. Notre Dame's other road opponents are Florida State, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse and Wake Forest.
The 2014 ACC men's basketball tournament is scheduled for March 12-16 at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.
Notre Dame was picked to finish fifth in its inaugural season of Atlantic Coast Conference play according to a vote of media in attendance at the league's annual "Operation Basketball." Duke was picked to win the ACC title.
BREY NO STRANGER TO THE ACC
Perhaps no person is better prepared to navigate the Irish basketball program into its new basketball conference home than head coach Mike Brey. A Rockville, Md., native, he grew up a Maryland Terrapin basketball fan and his first coaching job in the collegiate ranks was as an assistant coach at Duke for eight seasons.
Beginning in 1987-88, he helped Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski take his teams to six NCAA Final Fours and four national title games while winning back-to-back national titles in 1991 and 1992. The Blue Devils posted a sterling 216-65 record for a 76.8 winning percentage during his tenure at the school. Brey recruited and worked daily with four of the greatest players in that program's history -- Danny Ferry, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley and Grant Hill.
KNIGHT AND SHERMAN JOIN ATKINS AND CONNAUGHTON AS IRISH CAPTAINS
Tom Knight (GS/F) and Garrick Sherman (Sr./C) will serve as captains for the remainder of the 2013-14 campaign alongside teammates Eric Atkins (Sr./G) and Pat Connaughton (Jr./G-F). The announcement was made Dec. 27 by Irish head coach Mike Brey.
The last time Notre Dame added a captain at midseason was two years ago (during the 2011-12 campaign) when Atkins, then a sophomore, served as a tri-captain with Tim Abromaitis and Scott Martin.
Atkins is the first three-time captain in the 109-history of the program, while Connaughton, Sherman and Knight are first-time captains.
NOTRE DAME'S NEW MOTTO
Prior to the 2013-14 campaign, Notre Dame men's basketball players would close out their huddles with the slogan "Together." That all changed this season as the team has adopted a new motto "One More" when it breaks its huddles.
The reference was developed this summer when the team went through a two-day workout session with The Program. Founded in 2008, The Program's goal is to provide professional and collegiate athletic teams with the best leadership development and team building services in the country. The objective of The Program is to help athletes understand and internalize this reality, and in doing so take their leadership and teamwork skills to the next level -- the championship level.
Notre Dame's One More theme signifies the team's desire and ability to go beyond the normal levels of preparation -- it represents the desire to win one more game by focusing on the business at hand in order to achieve that goal.
NOTRE DAME STUDENT-ATHLETES AGAIN RANK #1 IN NCAA GRS
For the eighth time in nine years, the University of Notre Dame ranks number one on a percentage basis in terms of number of Graduation Success Rate (GSR) 100 scores, among all NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision schools.
Twenty of 22 athletics programs at Notre Dame compiled graduation rates of 100 percent, including the men's basketball team, according to the ninth year of GSR measurements developed by the NCAA. It's the first time Notre Dame's programs have combined for 20 perfect scores-after four previous years with 19.
None of the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division I-A) programs in the country had a higher percentage of 100 GSR scores than did Notre Dame with its .909 number (20 of 22).
In addition, Notre Dame ranked second among all FBS institutions with nine perfect scores among 22 sports (.409) in the federal graduation rate analysis.
Notre Dame has earned appearances in the postseason in each of the last 14 seasons, which marks the longest stretch in school history. The Irish have been to the NCAA Championship on nine 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 nine times, including a current stretch of four straight trips, and NIT four times.
NOTRE DAME LOOKS TO NOTCH ANOTHER 20-WIN CAMPAIGN
The Irish have recorded seven straight 20-win seasons. It's the first time in program history that Notre Dame has compiled seven consecutive 20-win campaigns. The Fighting Irish have reached the 20-win plateau 10 times in 13 seasons under head coach Mike Brey.
Last season's 25 wins were tied for the second-most of the Brey era. The most wins for the Irish under Brey are 27 (27-7) in 2010-11.
Junior guard/forward Pat Connaughton also is a standout pitcher on the Fighting Irish baseball team. He has appeared in 22 games, including 20 starts, and boasts an 8-6 career record with a 2.43 earned-run average (ERA). He has logged 92.2 innings and has notched 69 strikeouts. As a sophomore, Connaughton went 4-2 and posted a 1.71 ERA.
Connaughton recently was named the No. 46 prospect among 2014 draft-eligible players by Perfect Game in the publication's post-fall college top-50 list. The publication ranked Connaughton as the No. 22 right-handed pitcher.
Connaughton was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 50th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.
KNIGHT A NOMINEE FOR NABC GOOD WORKS TEAM
Senior forward Tom Knight is among 117 nominees for the 2014 Allstate NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) Good Works Teams. The award recognizes a select group of college basketball student-athletes who have made significant contributions to the greater good of their communities through volunteerism and civic service.
NOTRE DAME ADDS TWO FRONTLINE PLAYERS FOR 2014-15 CAMPAIGN
Irish head coach Mike Brey recently announced the signing of two frontcourt players to his 2014-15 roster. Bonzie Colson, Jr., a 6-6, 200-pound forward out of New Bedford, Mass., and Martin Geben, a 6-9, 230-pound forward from Vilnius, Lithuania, have signed National Letters of Intent during the early signing period and will enroll in the fall of 2014.