#15/15 Marquette (19-4, 8-2) vs. Notre Dame (14-8, 6-3)
Feb. 4, 2012 1:00 p.m. (ET)
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center (9,149)
Notre Dame, Ind.
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play)
Greg Anthony (analyst)
Broadcast on UND.com
Jack Nolan (play-by-play) Sean Kearney (analyst)
IRISH PLAY HOST TO #15/15 MARQUETTE ON SATURDAY
o Notre Dame (14-8, 6-3) returns home following a two-game road swing to face #15/15 Marquette (19-4, 8-2) on Saturday inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. Tip-off is slated for 1:00 p.m. (ET).
o The Fighting Irish will bring a three-game win streak into Saturday after posting victories over Syracuse (67-58), Seton Hall (55-42) and Connecticut (50-48).
o Notre Dame currently is in fourth place in the BIG EAST standings, while Marquette is in second place.
o Saturday's game will be broadcast on CBS with Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Greg Anthony (analyst) calling the action.
o The Fighting Irish Digital Media radio crew of Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Jordan Cornette (analyst) will call the action on radio (affiliate listings on Pg. 5) and their broadcast can also be heard on UND.com.
NOTRE DAME-MARQUETTE SERIES HISTORY
o Saturday will be the 116th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Marquette. The Irish own a 79-36 advantage in the series. Ten of those showdowns have occurred since Marquette joined the BIG EAST in 2005. The Irish are 4-6 in those encounters. A victory on Saturday would give Notre Dame its first two-game win streak over Marquette since the Golden Eagles joined the BIG EAST.
o The Fighting Irish and Golden Eagles split last season's two meetings. Marquette topped Notre Dame, 79-57, in Milwaukee on Jan. 10, 2011. The Irish countered with an 80-75 triumph inside Purcell Pavilion on Jan. 22, 2011.
o Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey is 5-7 all-time against Marquette.
o Notre Dame's current three-game win streak has produced some significant achievements for the Fighting Irish program.
o The streak began with a 67-58 home win over #1 Syracuse. It was Notre Dame's 10th victory all-time against a top-ranked opponent and the first since 1987.
o The Irish then went on the road and defeated Seton Hall, 55-42. The victory snapped Seton Hall's 12-game home win streak. The Pirates had been 10-0 at home this season. Seton Hall's 42 points were the fewest Notre Dame has ever allowed against a BIG EAST opponent.
o Sunday's 50-48 win at Connecticut marked the first time in program history that Notre Dame has won consecutive games at Connecticut. It also was just the second win ever at Hartford's XL Center for the Irish. The 48 points were the fewest ever for Connecticut against Notre Dame.
o The Fighting Irish defense ranks first in the BIG EAST by surrendering just 58.2 points per game in league play. The Irish have allowed just 49.3 points per game in the last three contests (Syracuse, Seton Hall, Connecticut). Notre Dame limited those three teams to a combined 33.1% (52-157) shooting from the field, including 24.0% (12-50) from three-point range.
o The Irish boast the top three-point defense (24.3%) in BIG EAST play.
o In league play, Notre Dame opponents are shooting just 39.4% (193-490) from the field. That percentage ranks fourth in the conference.
o Seton Hall's 42 points were the fewest ever for a Notre Dame opponent in a BIG EAST game (regular season or tournament). The Pirates only made 15 field goals, which were the fewest ever allowed by Notre Dame against a BIG EAST opponent. Seton Hall shot 26.3% from the field (15-57), which was the lowest mark ever for an Irish opponent in BIG EAST play.
CHALLENGING THE CHAMPS
o Sunday's win at Connecticut was Notre Dame's first victory over a defending national champion since the Irish topped Connecticut 78-74 on Jan. 30, 2005 inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame is 4-2 against Connecticut when the Huskies are the defending national champion. The Fighting Irish are 11-26 all-time against defending national champions, including a 6-4 mark in the last 10 matchups.
BEATING THE BEST
o The Irish have defeated four AP top-25 teams this season. That is tied for the most nationally along with Georgetown, Michigan and Ohio State. Notre Dame has topped #1 Syracuse (67-58), #11 Louisville (67-65 in 2ot), #22 Pittsburgh (72-59) and # 24 Connecticut (50-48).
NOTRE DAME KNOCKS OFF #1 AGAIN
The 67-58 win over Syracuse on Jan. 21 was Notre Dame's 10th all-time against a top-ranked team. Notre Dame is 10-23 all-time against No. 1 ranked teams. Eight of the victories have come against the top-ranked team in the Associated Press poll, which is the ranking the NCAA uses to recognize wins over No. 1 teams. The eight wins are tied for fourth nationally.
It was Notre Dame's first win over a No. 1 since topping North Carolina, 60-58, on Feb. 1, 1987 inside Purcell Pavilion.
Notre Dame has won an NCAA record six straight home games against No. 1 teams. The Irish are 7-3 at home against top-ranked teams.
The nine-point margin of victory was Notre Dame's second largest ever against a top-ranked team. The Fighting Irish defeated No. 1 San Francisco by 11 points (93-82) on March 5, 1977.
It was the third time an un-ranked Notre Dame squad defeated a No. 1 team in 18 tries.
Notre Dame never trailed in the win over Syracuse. The largest Irish lead was 18 points (35-17 with 1:28 left in the first half).
CAPTURING WINS AGAINST COACHING ELITES
Three of Notre Dame's last five victories have been against teams coached by Rick Pitino (Louisville), Jim Boeheim (Syracuse) and Jim Calhoun (Connecticut), who have combined to win 2,361 games and five national titles while advancing to 12 Final Fours.
BIG EAST TRENDS
Notre Dame is 24-7 (.774) over its last 31 BIG EAST regular-season contests. The Irish stood 6-8 through 14 regular-season games during the 2009-10 campaign and then won four straight to finish 10-8. Last season, Notre Dame posted a 14-4 regular-season mark in the league.
The Irish are 17-4 (.810) over their last 21 BIG EAST regular-season games.
PLAYING WELL IN PURCELL
The Fighting Irish are 95-7 in their last 102 games played at home. That .931 home winning percentage over the course of the last six seasons ranks fourth nationally.
IRISH ENJOY HOME COOKING IN CONFERENCE PLAY
Notre Dame has gone 42-6 (.875) 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.
BREY NOW FIFTH ALL-TIME IN BIG EAST WINS
The win over Seton Hall (Jan. 25) moved Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey past former Villanova head coach Rollie Massimino and into sole possession of fifth place on the BIG EAST wins list (both BIG EAST regular season and tournament). Brey is 125-86 (.592) in league regular-season and tournament play during his 12 seasons with the Irish.
PROTECTING THE ROCK
Notre Dame ranks 12th nationally - and second among all BIG EAST teams - with a 1.35 assist-to-turnover ratio this season.
The Fighting Irish rank fourth nationally - and first in the BIG EAST - in fewest turnovers per game (10.4).
The Irish have had fewer than 10 turnovers in a game eight times this season. Notre Dame had a season-low four turnovers against Sacred Heart (Dec. 19). The Irish also had a season-high 25 assists (on 35 made baskets) versus the Pioneers.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Seven different Notre Dame players have posted a team-high point total in a game this season.
Sophomore point guard Eric Atkins has led Notre Dame in scoring a team-best eight times this season, while junior forward Jack Cooley and sophomore guard Jerian Grant have led the Irish five times each.
Atkins has scored 20-plus points a team-best three times this season.
SHUFFLING THE LINEUP
Notre Dame has used nine different starting lineups this season (out of 22 games played). No Notre Dame player has started every game this season (game-by-game starting lineups listed on page 7). Jerian Grant and Scott Martin both have a team-high 21 starts this season.
Junior forward Jack Cooley has posted a team-best six double-doubles this season, including four in BIG EAST play.
He is third among all BIG EAST players with a .594 (82-138) shooting percentage.
Cooley is averaging 12.3 points and 9.4 rebounds per game in BIG EAST play. The rebound average ranks third in the conference. He is averaging a league-best 4.4 offensive rebounds per game in BIG EAST play.
He ranks sixth in the BIG EAST with an 8.4 rpg. average this season (all games). That includes 3.7 offensive boards per game, which ranks third in the league. He also has a team-high 31 blocked shots, which ranks eighth among all BIG EAST players.
Cooley has been named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll a team-best four times this season.
Against Delaware State (Nov. 18), Cooley hauled down a career-high 17 rebounds, which included 10 offensive boards.
ATKINS ON THE ATTACK
Sophomore point guard Eric Atkins leads the Irish with a 12.9 ppg. average this season. He averaged 5.8 ppg. last season as a freshman.
He has scored 20 or more points in a game a team-best three times this season. Atkins tallied a career-high 27 points versus Mississippi Valley State in the season opener.
Atkins has led Notre Dame in scoring a team-high eight times this season.
He is shooting 40.8% (31-76) from three-point range this season. That places him seventh among all BIG EAST players.
MARTIN MAKING THINGS HAPPEN
Senior guard Scott Martin has scored in double-figures in six of the last seven games. He is averaging 10.7 ppg. and 8.3 rpg. in the last seven contests.
Martin is averaging 6.7 defensive rebounds per game in conference play. That figure ranks third among all BIG EAST players.
GRANT HAS ALL-AROUND GAME
Sophomore guard Jerian Grant, who is in his first season playing with the Irish after sitting out all of last season, has team-high totals in points (280), assists (105), steals (29) and minutes played (766). His 34 made three-pointers also are a team-high total.
He ranks 11th nationally - and first in the BIG EAST - with a 2.92 assist-to-turnover ratio. His 5.3 assist-per-game average in BIG EAST play ranks fifth in the league.
Grant has scored in double-figures a team-best 17 times this season. He scored a career-high 20 points against both Georgia (Nov. 22) and Maryland (Dec. 4).
Grant is shooting a team-best 78.5% (84-107) from the free throw line this season. That mark ranks 10th among all BIG EAST players.
Atkins has played 40-plus minutes eight times this season, including five times in league play. He ranks fourth in the BIG EAST in minutes played (league games only).
CRASHING THE BOARDS
The Fighting Irish have a +4.6 rebound margin in their 14 wins, while they have been out-rebounded by an 8.7 margin in their eight setbacks.
Notre Dame is 9-0 this season when out-rebounding its opponent.
430 AND COUNTING
Notre Dame has made at least one three-pointer in 430 straight contests dating back to the 1998-99 campaign. The Fighting Irish have made at least one three pointer during every game of the Mike Brey era. The last time an Irish team failed to hit a three-pointer in a game was in a 101-70 loss to Connecticut at the Hartford Civic Center on Jan. 12, 1999. Notre Dame finished 0-7 from beyond the arc in that contest. In 2008-09, the Irish set a single-season three-point record with 319.
Freshman guard/forward Pat Connaughton also is a pitcher on the Fighting Irish baseball team. Connaughton is the 66th Notre Dame student-athlete to compete in both basketball and baseball and the first to do so since Tom Hansen during the 1973-74 academic year.