Notre Dame (15-8, 7-3) vs. West Virginia (16-8, 6-5)
Feb. 8, 2012 9:00 p.m. (ET)
WVU Coliseum (14,000)
Morgantown, W. Va.
Beth Mowins (play-by-play)
Bob Valvano (analyst)
Broadcast on UND.com
Jack Nolan (play-by-play) Sean Kearney (analyst)
IRISH TAKE FOUR-GAME WIN STREAK TO WEST VIRGINIA
Notre Dame (15-8, 7-3) will take a four-game win streak to West Virginia (16-8, 6-5) for a Wednesday night showdown against the Mountaineers. Tip-off is slated for 9:00 p.m. (ET) inside the WVU Coliseum.
The current win streak matches Notre Dame's longest of the season. The Irish opened the 2011-12 campaign with four straight wins. Three of the victories during the current stretch have come against ranked opponents.
This will be the first of two meetings between Notre Dame and West Virginia in a span of two weeks. The Mountaineers visit the Irish on Feb. 22.
Notre Dame currently is in fourth place in the BIG EAST standings, while West Virginia is in eighth place.
Wednesday's game will be broadcast on ESPNU/ESPN3 with Beth Mowins (play-by-play) and Bob Valvano (analyst) calling the action.
The Fighting Irish Digital Media radio crew of Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Sean Kearney (analyst) will call the action on radio (affiliate listings on Pg. 5) and their broadcast can also be heard on UND.com.
NOTRE DAME-WEST VIRGINIA SERIES HISTORY
Wednesday will be the 38th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and West Virginia. The Irish lead the series, 25-12. The Mountaineers have won the last two showdowns against the Irish, including last season's lone encounter, a 72-58 decision in Morgantown, W. Va.
Notre Dame is 8-8 all-time at West Virginia. The Irish have lost their last three games in Morgantown. Notre Dame's last victory at West Virginia was a 70-57 triumph on Jan. 19, 2005.
This will be the 25th meeting between the two schools since both joined the BIG EAST in 1995. The Irish are 16-8 in those contests.
Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey is 12-5 all-time against West Virginia, which includes a 4-3 mark in Morgantown.
Notre Dame's current four-game win streak has produced some significant achievements for the Fighting Irish program.
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.
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.
The 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.
The victory over Marquette snapped its seven-game win streak and it also marked Notre Dame's first two-game win streak over the Golden Eagles since they joined the BIG EAST in 2005.
ATKINS AND CONNAUGHTON EARN LEAGUE HONORS
Eric Atkins (So./G) and Pat Connaughton (Fr./G-F) earned weekly honors from the BIG EAST for their efforts in Saturday's 76-59 win over Marquette. Connaughton was named the league's co-rookie of the week after posting his first career double-double with 23 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Atkins was selected to the conference's weekly honor roll after tallying 18 points, five assists and four rebounds.
BIG EAST TRENDS
Notre Dame is 25-7 (.781) over its last 32 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 18-4 (.818) over their last 22 BIG EAST regular-season games.
PLAYING WELL IN PURCELL
The Fighting Irish are 96-7 in their last 103 games played at home. That .932 home winning percentage over the course of the last six seasons ranks third nationally.
The Irish are 31-1 in their last 32 home games.
IRISH ENJOY HOME COOKING IN CONFERENCE PLAY
Notre Dame has gone 43-6 (.878) 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.
WHAT A PERFORMANCE BY PAT
Pat Connaughton (23 points, 11 rebounds) became the first Notre Dame true freshman to record a double-double since Luke Harangody's 20-point, 11-rebound performance on March 8, 2007 versus Syracuse in the BIG EAST tournament. Connaughton was named the BIG EAST Co-Rookie of the Week for his performance against Marquette.
Connaughton's 11 rebounds were a career-high total, while he was one off his career-best points mark. It was his second 20-plus point effort of the season.
His 23 points were the most for a Notre Dame player in a BIG EAST game this season. The previous high was Alex Dragicevich's 22 points versus Pittsburgh in the league opener. Connaughton's five made three-pointers were the most for any Irish player in a BIG EAST game this season. The previous high was four on two occasions.
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.
Baseball America ranks Connaughton as the 29th best freshman in the country. He is rated as the #4 Major League Baseball draft prospect in the BIG EAST according to Perfect Game, which ranks him as a 1-3 round draft pick in 2014.
The Fighting Irish defense ranks first in the BIG EAST by surrendering just 58.3 points per game in league play. The Irish have allowed just 51.8 points per game during their current four-game win streak. Notre Dame limited those four teams (Syracuse, Seton Hall, Connecticut, Marquette) to a combined 34.8% (77-221) shooting from the field, including 22.2% (14-63) from three-point range.
The Irish boast the top three-point defense (23.6%) in BIG EAST play.
In league play, Notre Dame opponents are shooting just 39.4% (218-554) from the field. That percentage ranks fifth in the conference.
BEATING THE BEST
The Irish have defeated five AP top-25 teams this season. That is tied for the most nationally along with Ohio State. Notre Dame has topped #1 Syracuse (67-58), #11 Louisville (67-65 in 2ot), #15 Marquette (76-59), #22 Pittsburgh (72-59) and # 24 Connecticut (50-48).
DRAINING FROM DEEP
Notre Dame matched a season-high total with 11 made three-pointers in Saturday's victory over Marquette. That marked the fourth time this season - and first in BIG EAST play - that the Irish made 10 or more treys in a game. The Irish are 4-0 in those contests.
ASSISTING THE EFFORT
The Irish had 22 assists on their 28 made field goals in Saturday's win over Marquette. Those were the most assists for the Irish in a BIG EAST game this season.
Notre Dame has registered 20 or more assists in a game five times this season.
PROTECTING THE ROCK
Notre Dame ranks 11th nationally - and second among all BIG EAST teams - with a 1.37 assist-to-turnover ratio this season.
The Fighting Irish rank seventh nationally - and first in the BIG EAST - in fewest turnovers per game (10.5).
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).
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 23 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 22 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 fourth among all BIG EAST players with a .582 (85-146) shooting percentage.
Cooley is averaging 11.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in BIG EAST play. The rebound average ranks second in the conference. He is averaging a league-best 4.5 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.
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 13.1 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 42.5% (34-80) from three-point range this season. That places him fourth among all BIG EAST players.
MARTIN MAKING THINGS HAPPEN
Senior guard Scott Martin has scored in double-figures in seven of the last eight games. He is averaging 10.8 ppg. and 7.9 rpg. in the last eight contests.
Martin is averaging 6.5 defensive rebounds per game in conference play. That figure ranks second 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 (292), assists (113), steals (31) and minutes played (805). His 36 made three-pointers also are a team-high total.
He ranks sixth nationally - and first in the BIG EAST - with a 3.05 assist-to-turnover ratio. His 5.6 assist-per-game average in BIG EAST play ranks fifth in the league.
Grant has dished out six or more assists in a game nine times this season.
He has scored in double-figures a team-best 18 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 +4.4 rebound margin in their 15 wins, while they have been out-rebounded by an 8.7 margin in their eight setbacks.
Notre Dame is 10-0 this season when out-rebounding its opponent.
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.
It was the third time an un-ranked Irish 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 six victories have been against teams coached by Rick Pitino (Louisville), Jim Boeheim (Syracuse) and Jim Calhoun (Connecticut), who have combined to win 2,364 games and five national titles while advancing to 12 Final Fours.
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 126-86 (.594) in league regular-season and tournament play during his 12 seasons with the Irish.
431 AND COUNTING
Notre Dame has made at least one three-pointer in 431 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.