IRISH HOST LOUISVILLE AND ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY ON SATURDAY
No. 25/RV Notre Dame (18-5, 6-4) will welcome both ESPN College GameDay and No. 11/12 Louisville (19-4, 7-3) to Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center on Saturday. The BIG EAST clash will tip-off at 9 p.m. (ET).
Rece Davis, the host for College GameDay, will be joined by analysts Jay Bilas, former Notre Dame head coach Digger Phelps and Jalen Rose. The show will air on ESPNU from 10 to 11 a.m. (ET) and on ESPN from 11 a.m. to noon (ET). A one-hour edition airs at 8 p.m. (ET) prior to ESPN's Saturday Primetime presented by DIRECTV telecast at 9 p.m. (ET). Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Dick Vitale (analyst) and Shannon Spake (sideline) will be on the call. The contest can also be seen on WatchESPN.com.
Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and LaPhonso Ellis (analyst) will call the action for the Notre Dame Basketball Radio Network. The broadcast is available on Sirius 91, XM 91 and can also be heard for free on UND.com (full affiliate listings on Pg. 3).
This will be the first of two regular-season meetings between the Irish and Cardinals. The two teams will close out the regular season March 9 at Louisville.
ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY RETURNS TO NOTRE DAME
This will mark the second time in school history that Notre Dame has been the host for ESPN College GameDay during the basketball season. Purcell Pavilion was the site of the morning show and primetime basketball contest on Jan. 24, 2009, when the Irish played Connecticut.
Notre Dame is the only school to host both the football and basketball ESPN College GameDay crews in 2012-13. The football crew visited South Bend on Oct. 13 when the Irish played host to Stanford. Coupled with visits for football, Saturday will be the 10th time the ESPN College GameDay crews have visited Notre Dame.
NOTRE DAME-LOUISVILLE SERIES HISTORY
Saturday will be the 30th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Louisville. The Cardinals lead the series 18-11. Notre Dame and Louisville have alternated wins over the last seven games in the series. The Irish are 4-6 against the Cardinals since Louisville joined the BIG EAST in 2005.
The Fighting Irish and Cardinals split two meetings last season. Notre Dame won at Louisville, 67-65 in overtime, during the regular season and the Cardinals topped the Irish, 64-50, in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship.
Louisville is 0-3 at Notre Dame since joining the BIG EAST. The last Cardinal win in South Bend was an 85-82 overtime decision on Feb. 26, 1994. Notre Dame is 6-6 all-time at home against Louisville.
The Irish are 3-1 in the last four meetings with a ranked Louisville squad.
Four of the last five Notre Dame-Louisville showdowns have gone to overtime. The Irish are 2-2 in those overtime contests. Two of those games have gone to double-overtime, including last season's 67-65 Irish victory in Louisville (Jan. 7, 2012).
Five of the last seven Notre Dame-Louisville encounters have gone to overtime. Six of the 10 contests between Notre Dame and Louisville since the Cardinals joined the BIG EAST in 2005 have been settled in overtime.
BREY MOVING UP BIG EAST WINS LIST
Saturday's win at DePaul moved Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey into a tie with former St. John's head coach Lou Carnesecca for fourth place on the BIG EAST all-time wins list (both regular-season and tournament). Brey has a 139-93 (.599) BIG EAST record. He is one of 10 coaches in BIG EAST history to record 100 conference wins.
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.
Notre Dame was just 36-58 (.383) in five seasons of BIG EAST play prior to Brey's arrival.
FIGHTING IRISH FACTS
Over the last three seasons, Notre Dame is 30-1 (10-0 this season) when shooting 50% or above from the field, 50-2 (13-0 this season) when outrebounding its opponent and 52-5 (15-1 this season) when leading at halftime.
PLAYING WELL IN PURCELL
The Fighting Irish are 113-9 in their last 122 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 .959 mark.
Notre Dame is 48-3 in its last 51 home games (.941).
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.
IRISH AGAINST RANKED FOES
Over the last four seasons, Notre Dame is 19-13 (.594) against teams ranked in the Associated Press top-25 poll. That includes an 11-2 mark at home.
Notre Dame is 5-1 in its last six games against top-10 competition.
BIG EAST HONORS
Senior forward Jack Cooley and freshman forward Cameron Biedscheid garnered BIG EAST honors on Monday. Cooley was named to the league's weekly honor roll, while Biedscheid was tapped as the rookie of the week. It was the third time Cooley has been named to the weekly honor roll this season and it was the first-ever BIG EAST rookie-of-the-week citation for Biedscheid. It was Notre Dame's first conference rookie-of-the-week pick since Pat Connaughton on Feb. 6, 2012.
Cooley and Biedscheid were instrumental in victories over Villanova (65-60) and DePaul (79-71 in OT).
Biedscheid put together his best back-to-back efforts of his young career. He came off the bench and netted a career-high 18 points against Villanova. He was 5-for-7 from three-point range versus the Wildcats. It was his fifth double-digit effort of the season. In the victory at DePaul, he connected on 3-of-8 shots from the field and finished with seven points.
Cooley averaged 21.5 points and 16.0 rebounds and shot a combined 55.6% from the field in the two wins. Against Villanova, Cooley finished with 17 points and a season-high 16 rebounds in 38 minutes of action. In the victory at DePaul, he had one of the most complete efforts of his career finishing with a season-high 26 points and hauled down 16 rebounds. He played 42 minutes and connected on 9-of-15 shots from the field.
Senior forward Jack Cooley has posted a double-double in each of the last three games. He is third nationally with 15 double-doubles this season (six in BIG EAST play).
Cooley is averaging 17.7 points and 14.3 rebounds in the last three contests.
He has hauled down 10 or more rebounds in a career best six straight games and 16 times overall this season. Cooley has grabbed 15 or more rebounds in a game three times this season.
Cooley has 28 career double-doubles, which all have occurred in the last two seasons. He has produced a double-double in the first half alone twice this season (Niagara 20 pts, 10 rebs; BYU 12 pts, 10 rebs).
COOLEY A CONSISTENT PERFORMER
Senior forward Jack Cooley is tied for third nationally in double-doubles (15). He ranks fifth nationally in rebounds per game (11.3) and 11th in field-goal percentage (.584).
In BIG EAST play, he is first in rebounding (11.2) and offensive rebounds per game (4.3). He is fourth in field-goal percentage (.524).
Cooley has scored in double-figures in 21 of the 23 games this season.
He has blocked three shots in each of the last two games and is averaging 1.3 blocked shots per game this season. Cooley's 106 career blocked shots are the seventh-most in Notre Dame history.
Notre Dame ranks first nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.72). The Irish are fourth nationally and first in the BIG EAST (all games) in assists per game (17.8).
The Fighting Irish rank seventh nationally in fewest turnovers per game (10.4). Notre Dame has turned the ball over fewer than 10 times in eight games this season (six times in BIG EAST play). The Irish have turned the ball over five times or less in two games this season.
Notre Dame has had an assist on 66.9% of its made field goals this season.
The Fighting Irish have dished out 20 or more assists in nine games this season (twice in BIG EAST play).
QUITE A CLASS
Notre Dame's current senior class needs eight victories to become the program's all-time winningest class. The group needs five BIG EAST wins to have the most league victories in any four-year period since the Irish joined the conference in 1995. Here is a breakdown of Notre Dame's top classes based on wins:
2007-11: 96-42 overall/46-26 (BIG EAST)
2006-10: 93-43 overall/43-27 (BIG EAST)
2009-13: 89-36 overall/42-21 (BIG EAST)
Junior point guard Eric Atkins is third in the BIG EAST (17th nationally) in assists-per-game (6.1), while fellow junior guard Jerian Grant is fifth in the league (5.6). They are the only set of teammates ranked in the top five of the league assists-per-game standings.
BIG EAST UPS AND DOWNS
Notre Dame has averaged 74.2 points-per-game in its six BIG EAST victories, while the Irish averaged just 53.8 points in their four league losses. The Fighting Irish shot 49.1% from the field in the victories and 39.7% in the setbacks. From three-point range, Notre Dame shot 47.6% in the wins and 25.9% in the defeats.
GRANT BRINGING HIS GAME IN LEAGUE PLAY
Junior guard Jerian Grant has scored in double-figures in nine of 10 BIG EAST games this season, including a current stretch of five straight double-digit efforts. He is averaging 13.4 points per game in league play. His 5.9 assist-per-game average in BIG EAST contests is fourth in the conference.
Grant was 5-for-8 from the field, including 3-for-5 from three-point range, en route to a team-high 15 points on Monday at Syracuse. He also dished out a team-best five assists.
ATKINS ASSISTING THE IRISH EFFORT
Junior point guard Eric Atkins is sixth nationally and second in the BIG EAST (all games) in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.9).
Atkins is tied for 17th nationally and tied for third in the BIG EAST (all games) with a 6.1 assist-per-game average this season. He has four double-doubles this season (points & assists). He has dished out 10 or more assists in a game five times this season.
He is sixth in BIG EAST play with a 1.8 steals-per-game average. He has 104 career steals, which ranks 19th in Notre Dame history.
Atkins is averaging 38.5 minutes per game in BIG EAST play. Atkins has played 40 or more minutes in four of the last seven contests.
Notre Dame is shooting 48.7% from the floor this season. That figure ranks ninth nationally and it leads the BIG EAST.
The Fighting Irish are shooting 45.4% from the field in BIG EAST play. That percentage leads the league.
The Irish are 10-0 this season when they shoot 50% or above from the floor and they are 8-5 when shooting below 50%.
DRAINING FROM DEEP
The Irish rank first in the BIG EAST and 17th nationally in three-point percentage (.391). Notre Dame is shooting 39.8% from distance in league play. That mark leads all BIG EAST teams.
Junior point guard Eric Atkins ranks first in three-point shooting in league play with a 51.7% mark. Sophomore Pat Connaughton is seventh (.400).
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.
Notre Dame is averaging 6.8 made three-pointers per game this season.
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. He has missed the last four contests.
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.
MEN IN BLACK
The Fighting Irish have worn their black jerseys in each of the last three road games and four times overall this season. Notre Dame is 3-1 this season when donning the black uniforms. The Irish are 13-13 all-time in black. Notre Dame first wore black jerseys during the 2005-06 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 7.0 points per game, including three with a double-figure average.
Nine different Irish players (Atkins, Auguste, Biedscheid, Connaughton, Cooley, Grant, Knight, Martin, Sherman) have notched a double-digit scoring effort this season.
Notre Dame has had at least four double-figure scorers in 11 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 (Nov. 26).
Notre Dame is 37-13 (.740) over its last 50 BIG EAST regular-season contests.
The Irish have gone 76-40 (.655) 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 50-8 (.862) 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 22-3 in their last 25 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 141 assists and a 2.88 assist-to-turnover ratio this season.
Atkins shot 39.4% from the field last season and is currently shooting at a 47.8% clip. He has improved his three-point shooting from 37.5% last season to a current mark of 44.8%.
Sophomore guard/forward Pat Connaughton had 30 assists during his freshman campaign and already has dished out 55 assists this season. He had a 1.25 assist-to-turnover ratio last season, but has improved that to 3.06 this season.
Junior guard Jerian Grant has improved his shooting percentage from 38.0% last season to 44.7% this season.
IRISH HELP HURRICANE SANDY VICTIMS
During the first timeout of the Rutgers game on Jan. 19 inside Purcell Pavilion, 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.
FEW FOULS FOR THE FIGHTING IRISH
Notre Dame ranks fourth nationally in fewest personal fouls per game (13.0).
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 1741-944 for a .648 winning percentage. In 17 seasons as a member of the BIG EAST, the Irish own a 166-134 (.553) 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.