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    Irish Head South To Face USF On Saturday

    FIGHTING IRISH Sophomore Pat Connaughton is shooting a league-best 57.9% from three-point range in BIG EAST play.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Sophomore Pat Connaughton is shooting a league-best 57.9% from three-point range in BIG EAST play.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Jan. 25, 2013

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    #24/23 NOTRE DAME (15-4, 3-3)
    vs.
    USF (10-8, 1-5)

    January 26, 2013 o Noon (ET)
    Sun Dome (10,411)
    Tampa, Fla.

    TV/INTERNET:
    BIG EAST Network (Regional)
    ABC 57 (South Bend)
    ESPN3 (internet)
    Anish Shroff (play-by-play)
    Bob Wenzel (analyst)

    RADIO:
    Broadcast on UND.com (free)
    Sirius 92, XM 198
    Jack Nolan (play-by-play)
    Jordan Cornette (analyst)

    LIVE STATS:
    Gametracker on UND.com

    NOTRE DAME HEADS SOUTH FOR SATURDAY SHOWDOWN WITH USF
     • #24/23 Notre Dame (15-4, 3-3) will travel to Tampa, Fla., for a Saturday showdown with USF (10-8, 1-5). The BIG EAST battle is slated for noon (ET) inside the Sun Dome.
     • The game can be seen regionally on the BIG EAST Network (check local listings) and in the South Bend area on ABC 57. The contest is also available on ESPN3 (internet). Anish Shroff (play-by-play) and Bob Wenzel (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 92, XM 198 and can also be heard for free on UND.com (full affiliate listings on Pg. 3).

    The Last Meeting
    South Florida53  
    Notre Dame57OT
    March 8, 2012
    New York, N.Y. (Madison Square Garden)
    No. 23 Notre Dame Edges USF in OT, 57-53
    Eric Atkins scored all six of his points in overtime and No. 23 Notre Dame beat South Florida 57-53 on Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament. The third-seeded Fighting Irish (22-10) will play seventh-seeded Louisville in the semifinals on Friday night at Madison Square Garden. The Cardinals (24-9) beat second-seeded and ninth-ranked Marquette 84-71. It will be a rematch of last year's semifinal that saw Louisville advance to the championship game, where it lost to Connecticut.

    BATTLING THE BULLS
     • This will be the 11th meeting all-time between the Fighting Irish and the Bulls. Notre Dame owns a 9-1 record in the series. All of the contests have occurred since USF joined the BIG EAST in 2005.
     • The Irish won both meetings last season. Notre Dame claimed a 60-49 home victory (Jan. 10, 2012) and then defeated USF, 57-53 in overtime, in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship.
     • Notre Dame is 3-1 all-time at USF. The Fighting Irish have won three straight against the Bulls in Tampa. The last meeting at USF was a 78-55 Notre Dame victory on Feb. 12, 2011.
     • Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey is 9-1 all-time against USF.

    IRISH EVEN IN THE LEAGUE
     • Notre Dame is 3-3 in BIG EAST play for the fifth straight season. After starting the league slate 3-3 last season, the Irish rattled off nine straight victories. In 2010-11, Notre Dame won seven straight games after beginning 3-3 in BIG EAST play.

    BIG EAST UPS AND DOWNS
     • Notre Dame averaged 76.0 points-per-game in its three BIG EAST victories, while the Irish averaged just 56.0 points in their three league losses. The Fighting Irish shot 52.2% from the field in the victories and 41.4% in the setbacks. From three-point range, Notre Dame shot 54.0% in the wins and 23.7% in the defeats.
     • The Irish allowed 66.7 points per game in the wins and 65.0 points per game in the losses.

    MARTIN OUT INDEFINITELY
     • Scott Martin (GS/G) is out indefinitely due to ongoing issues with his left knee. He has started all 18 games he has played this season.
     • Martin is averaging 7.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game this season. He is shooting 46.3% from three-point range this season after shooting 26.1% from distance last season.
     • Martin has deposited 31 treys this season after making 30 all of last season. He 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.

    NOT THEIR NIGHT
     • Notre Dame's 47 points in Monday's loss to Georgetown were the fewest since a 59-41 setback at Georgetown last season (2/27/12). It was the lowest point total ever for the Irish in a BIG EAST home game and the fewest for the Irish in any home game since a 48-46 loss to Villanova on Jan. 19, 1982.
     • The Fighting Irish shot a season-low 34.7% (17-49) from the field against the Hoyas.

    COOLEY A CONSISTENT PERFORMER
     • Senior forward Jack Cooley is the only player in the country to rank in the top 10 in double-doubles, rebounds per game and field-goal percentage. He is tied for fifth nationally in double-doubles (12) and is 10th in both rebounds per game (10.6) and field-goal percentage (.594).
     • He leads the BIG EAST in rebounds per game (10.6), offensive rebounds per game (4.5) and defensive rebounds per game (6.1). He is second in field goal percentage (.594).
     • Cooley has reached double-figures in points in 14 straight games, which is a career-best streak. It's the longest such streak for an Irish player since Ben Hansbrough netted double-figures in the final 17 games of the 2010-11 campaign. Cooley has scored in double-figures in 18 of the 19 games this season.
     • He is averaging 1.3 blocked shots per game this season, which is seventh in the BIG EAST. Cooley's 100 career blocked shots are the seventh-most in Notre Dame history.

    DOUBLE-DOUBLE DOMINANCE FROM COOLEY
     • Senior forward Jack Cooley produced his 12th double-double of the season on Monday against Georgetown. He tallied 10 points and 10 rebounds versus the Hoyas. The 12 double-doubles rank fifth nationally.
     • 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 25 career double-doubles, which all have occurred in the last two seasons.

    ATKINS ON A ROLL IN LEAGUE PLAY
     • Junior point guard Eric Atkins is averaging a team-best 14.3 points per game in BIG EAST play. He averaged 10.8 points per game in Notre Dame's 13 non-conference games.
     • Atkins is shooting 53.4% (31-58) from the field in BIG EAST play, including 53.3% (8-15) from three-point range, which is third in the league.
     • Atkins is tied for fifth in BIG EAST play with a 2.0 steals-per-game average. He has 98 career steals.
     • He is first in the BIG EAST in minutes played per game both in league games (38.5) and all games (37.0). Atkins has played all but 30 seconds in the last four games. He has played all 40 minutes in the last three contests.

    ATKINS ASSISTING THE IRISH EFFORT
     • Junior point guard Eric Atkins is seventh nationally and second in the BIG EAST in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.2).
     • 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 13th nationally and third in the BIG EAST with a 6.5 assist-per-game average this season.

    ASSISTS ALL AROUND
     • Notre Dame is second nationally in assists per game (18.7) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.71).
     • Junior point guard Eric Atkins is third in the BIG EAST (11th nationally) in assists-per-game (6.5), while fellow junior guard Jerian Grant is sixth in the league (5.3).
     • The Irish have had 20 or more assists in a game eight times this season. Notre Dame had 25 assists on its 35 made field goals in the BIG EAST opener against Seton Hall. 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 347 of their 517 made field goals this season (.671).

    TAKING CARE OF THE ROCK
     • The Fighting Irish rank 13th nationally in fewest turnovers per game (10.6). The Irish have had fewer than 10 turnovers in four of the last six games.
     • Notre Dame only had five turnovers on Monday against Georgetown. It was the second time this season (first in BIG EAST play) the Irish had five or fewer turnovers in a game. Notre Dame has had 10 or fewer turnovers in eight games this season.

    HOT SHOTS
     • Notre Dame is shooting 49.8% from the floor this season. That figure ranks fifth nationally and it leads the BIG EAST.
     • The Irish are 9-0 this season when they shoot 50% or above from the floor and they are 6-4 when shooting below 50%.
     • 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 10th nationally in three-point percentage (.393). Notre Dame is shooting 40.9% from distance in league play. That mark leads all BIG EAST teams.
     • Notre Dame boasts three of the top four three-point shooters in BIG EAST play. Pat Connaughton is first at 57.9%, while Eric Atkins (.533) and Scott Martin (.500) are third and fourth, respectively.
     • Connaughton was 6-for-9 from beyond the arc in the last two games.
     • 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.

    CASHING IN FROM THE CHARITY STRIPE
     • Notre Dame is third in BIG EAST play from the free throw line (74.4%).
     • The Fighting Irish are shooting 78.0% (96-123) from the free throw line in the last eight games. Notre Dame shot a season-best 88.2% (15-17) from the line last Saturday versus Rutgers. It was the fourth time this season 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 76.2% (131-172) in the last 10 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-for-18 from the charity stripe in the final five minutes of the contest.

    TOPPING 20
     • Five different Notre Dame players - Eric Atkins, Jack Cooley, Jerian Grant, Scott Martin and Garrick Sherman - have scored 20 or more points in a game 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 7.1 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 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).

    PLAYING WELL IN PURCELL
     • The Fighting Irish are 112-9 in their last 121 games played at home. That .926 home winning percentage over the course of the last seven seasons ranks second nationally. Kansas is first with a .967 mark.
     • Notre Dame is 47-3 in its last 50 home games (.940).
     • 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 34-12 (.739) over its last 46 BIG EAST regular-season contests.
     • The Irish have gone 73-39 (.652) in BIG EAST regular-season play over the past seven seasons. That is the fourth-best mark in the league over that time span.
     • Notre Dame has gone 49-8 (.860) 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 21-3 in their last 24 BIG EAST home contests.

    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.

    AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT
     • Junior point guard Eric Atkins had 130 assists and a 1.83 assist-to-turnover ratio last season. He currently has 124 assists and a 3.18 assist-to-turnover ratio this season.
     • Atkins shot 39.4% from the field last season and is currently shooting at a 49.7% clip. He has improved his three-point shooting from 37.5% last season to a current mark of 43.4%.
     • Sophomore guard/forward Pat Connaughton had 30 assists during his freshman campaign and already has dished out 50 assists this season. He had a 1.25 assist-to-turnover ratio last season, but has improved that to 3.33 this season.
     • Junior guard Jerian Grant has improved his shooting percentage from 38.0% last season to 45.1% this season.

    IRISH HELP HURRICANE SANDY VICTIMS
     • During the first timeout of last Saturday's game versus Rutgers, a check was presented to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in the amount of $10,033 to help with relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. A special online auction was held from Jan. 7-18 on Notre Dame's official athletic web site UND.com and fans had the opportunity to bid on several unique items with the proceeds going to help with the relief efforts. Governor Christie is a longtime friend of Irish head coach Mike Brey.

    INSIDE EFFICIENCY
     • Notre Dame's Jack Cooley (Sr./F) and Garrick Sherman (Sr./C) rank second and third, respectively, in the BIG EAST in shooting percentage. Cooley has a .594 (107-180) mark, while Sherman stands at .591 (52-88).

    FEW FOULS FOR THE FIGHTING IRISH
     • Notre Dame ranks second nationally in fewest personal fouls per game (12.2).

    CLEANING UP THE GLASS
     • The Fighting Irish are 12-0 this season when outrebounding their opponent. Notre Dame has a +4.2 rebounding margin per game this season. The Irish are 3-4 when they get outrebounded.

    BREY AND ELDER STATESMAN IN THE BIG EAST
     • 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 136-92 (.596) mark. He is one of 10 coaches in BIG EAST history to record 100 conference wins.
     • Brey needs just three 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 776 points during his Notre Dame career. He tallied 272 points during his freshman season at Purdue.

    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.
     • Kentucky's 50 points 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.

    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 1738-943 for a .648 winning percentage. In 17 seasons as a member of the BIG EAST, the Irish own a 163-133 (.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.

    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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