DePaul (11-12, 2-9) vs. Notre Dame (16-8, 8-3)
Feb. 11, 2012 Noon (ET)
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center (9,149)
Notre Dame, Ind.
BIG EAST Network (Regional)
ABC 57 (South Bend area)
Mike Gleason (play-by-play)
Bob Wenzel (analyst)
Broadcast on UND.com
Jack Nolan (play-by-play) Jordan Cornette (analyst)
STREAKING IRISH WELCOME IN DEPAUL ON SATURDAY
Notre Dame (16-8, 8-3) will put its season-best five-game win streak on the line Saturday when the Irish play host to DePaul (11-12, 2-9). Tip-off is scheduled for noon (ET) inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. The Fighting Irish currently are in third place in the BIG EAST standings.
Three of Notre Dame's victories during the current five-game win streak have come on the road, including Wednesday's 55-51 win at West Virginia. The Irish also have defeated three ranked teams during the streak.
This will be the lone regular-season meeting between Notre Dame and DePaul.
Saturday's game will be broadcast regionally on the BIG EAST Network with Mike Gleason (play-by-play) and Bob Wenzel (analyst) calling the action. The contest can be seen on ABC 57 in the South Bend area.
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-DEPAUL SERIES HISTORY
Saturday will be the 101st meeting all-time between Notre Dame and DePaul. The Irish lead the series 57-44. The Irish have won six straight over the Blue Demons, including last season's 83-58 win at DePaul (Feb. 3, 2011). DePaul's last win over Notre Dame was a 67-66 decision on Feb. 8, 2007 in Rosemont, Ill.
This will be the 10th meeting between the two schools since DePaul joined the BIG EAST in 2005. The Irish are 7-2 in those contests. The Blue Demons are 0-4 at Notre Dame since joining the league. DePaul is 14-35 all-time at Notre Dame. DePaul's last victory at Notre Dame was an 84-73 win on Dec. 11, 2004.
Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey is 10-3 all-time against DePaul.
Notre Dame's current five-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.
Wednesday's win at West Virginia halted Notre Dame's three-game losing streak in Morgantown. West Virginia's 51 points were the fewest the Mountaineers have ever scored in 38 meetings with the Irish.
The Fighting Irish defense ranks first in the BIG EAST by surrendering just 57.6 points per game in league play. The Irish have allowed just 51.6 points per game during their current five-game win streak. Notre Dame limited those five teams (Syracuse, Seton Hall, Connecticut, Marquette, West Virginia) to a combined 36.2% (101-279) shooting from the field, including 20.2% (16-79) from three-point range.
The Irish boast the top three-point defense (22.5%) in BIG EAST play. Notre Dame's BIG EAST foes are shooting just 17.3% (13-75) from three-point range in games played inside Purcell Pavilion.
In league play, Notre Dame opponents are shooting just 39.5% (242-612) from the field. That percentage ranks fifth in the conference.
West Virginia's 16 first-half points on Wednesday tied the fewest ever allowed by Notre Dame against a BIG EAST opponent in the first half of play. Georgetown netted only 16 points against the Irish on March 4, 2004.
BIG EAST TRENDS
Notre Dame is 26-7 (.788) over its last 33 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 19-4 (.826) over their last 23 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.
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).
CLOSE GAMES ... NO PROBLEM
Notre Dame's four-point win over West Virginia on Wednesday night marked the third straight for the Irish this season in games decided by five or less points. Overall, Coach Mike Brey's squad is 3-1 this season in games decided by that margin.
In fact, dating back to the 2010-11 campaign, Notre Dame is 9-1 in its last 10 games decided by five or fewer points. Last year's squad was a perfect 6-0 in those contests.
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 last 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.
WHAT A PERFORMANCE BY PAT
With his 23-point, 11-rebound effort against Marquette last Saturday, Pat Connaughton 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.
DRAINING FROM DEEP
Notre Dame matched a season-high total with 11 made three-pointers in last 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.
The Fighting Irish are shooting 39.5% (101-256) from three-point range at home and 25.2% (55-218) in road/neutral contests this season.
ASSISTING THE EFFORT
The Irish had 22 assists on their 28 made field goals in last 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
Entering this week, Notre Dame ranked 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). Notre Dame committed only five turnovers in Wednesday's victory at West Virginia. That is a season-low total for the Irish in a BIG EAST game.
The Irish have had fewer than 10 turnovers in a game nine times this season (three times in BIG EAST play). Notre Dame had a season-low four turnovers against Sacred Heart (Dec. 19).
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Seven different Irish 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 has led the Irish six times.
Atkins and Cooley both have scored 20-plus points a team-best three times.
SHUFFLING THE LINEUP
Notre Dame has used nine different starting lineups this season (out of 24 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 23 starts this season.
Junior forward Jack Cooley posted his team-best seventh double-double of the season (fifth in BIG EAST play) with his 21-point, 12-rebound effort on Wednesday at West Virginia. The 21 points were the most he's ever scored in a BIG EAST game and it was his third 20-plus point performance of the season.
He is second among all BIG EAST players with a .594 (92-155) shooting percentage.
Cooley is averaging 12.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in BIG EAST play. The rebound average ranks second in the conference. He is averaging a league-best 4.7 offensive rebounds per game in BIG EAST play.
He ranks fifth in the BIG EAST with an 8.6 rpg. average this season (all games). That includes 3.9 offensive boards per game, which ranks second in the league. He also has a team-high 34 blocked shots, which ranks eighth among all BIG EAST players.
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, including 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 40.2% (35-87) from three-point range this season. That places him eighth among all BIG EAST players.
MARTIN MAKING THINGS HAPPEN
Senior guard Scott Martin has scored in double-figures in eight of the last nine games. That is the most for any Irish player during that stretch.
Martin is averaging 6.0 defensive rebounds per game in conference play. That figure ranks fifth 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 (304), assists (116), steals (32) and minutes played (844). His 38 made three-pointers also are a team-high total.
He ranks sixth nationally - and first in the BIG EAST - with a 3.14 assist-to-turnover ratio. His 5.4 assist-per-game average in BIG EAST play ranks fifth in the league.
He has scored in double-figures a team-best 19 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 78.9% (86-109) 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), while Grant is eighth and Martin is ninth.
Martin has played all 40 minutes in each of the past three games.
CRASHING THE BOARDS
The Fighting Irish have a +4.0 rebound margin in their 16 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).