Feb. 14, 2014
Notre Dame (13-12, 4-8 ACC)
Boston College (6-18, 2-9 ACC)
Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014
6 p.m. (ET)
Silvio O. Conte Forum (8,606)
Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Carter Blackburn (play-by-play)
Jay Williams (analyst)
Allison Williams (reporter)
IRISH AND EAGLES SET FOR SECOND REGULAR-SEASON MATCHUP
Notre Dame (13-12, 4-8) and Boston College (6-18, 2-9) will play for the second time in 15 days when the Irish travel to Chestnut Hill, Mass., on Sunday for a 6 pm (ET) contest at the Silvio O. Conte Forum. The contest is the first of three straight road games for the Irish.
It will be Notre Dame's first visit to Boston College as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference and its first time back playing at Conte Forum since Feb. 4, 2004, when the Irish dropped a 76-69 decision when both teams were members of the BIG EAST Conference.
The game will be broadcast on ESPNU/WatchESPN with Carter Blackburn (play-by-play) and Jay Williams (analyst) calling the action. Allison Williams will be the sideline reporter.
A free audio broadcast will be available on WatchND.tv. Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and former Irish standout Jordan Cornette (analyst) will be on the call. The broadcast can also be heard on The Notre Basketball Radio Network headed by WSBT 96.1 FM and 960 AM in South Bend. A complete affiliate list is available on page 5 of this notes packet. The broadcast also is available on Sirius 93/XM 191.
NEW ENGLAND HOMECOMING
Sunday's game against Boston College will be a homecoming for New England natives Pat Connaughton (Arlington, Mass.) and Zach Auguste (Marlborough, Mass.)
THE BC SERIES
Notre Dame defeated Boston College 76-73 in overtime on Feb. 1 at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. Irish senior guard Eric Atkins netted the game-winning three-pointer with 0.8 seconds to play in the overtime session. Atkins sent the game into overtime by hitting one of two free throws after being fouled with one second remaining in regulation.
This will be the 23rd meeting between the two schools. Notre Dame owns a 12-10 advantage in the series against the Eagles.
The matchup earlier this season was the first between the two programs since Feb. 8, 2005. The Irish won that contest, 68-65, at Purcell Pavilion. The Eagles were 20-0 and ranked fourth nationally heading into that showdown.
The Irish have won six of the last seven meetings and each of the last six at Notre Dame.
Notre Dame is 2-6 all-time playing in Chestnut Hills, Mass. Its last win playing at Boston College was on Jan. 25, 2002, a 101-96 victory.
In the 11 meetings between the schools as members of the BIG EAST Conference, Notre Dame owned a 6-5 advantage.
Irish head coach Mike Brey is 4-1 all-time versus the Eagles.
ROUGH ROAD STRETCH AHEAD
Sunday night's game against Boston College will be the first of three consecutive road games for the Irish over the course of six days.
Notre Dame's travels will span 5,832 miles over seven days. The Irish will not stay on the road. They will return to campus and make three separate trips.
Following the Boston College game, the Irish will be at Miami on Wednesday and then travel to Charlottesville, Va., to take on the Cavaliers in the second meeting of the season between the two schools.
This is Notre Dame's first three-game road stretch since the 2010-11 season (USF, West Virginia, Providence).
TOUGH GOING AT PURCELL THIS YEAR
Heading into this season, Notre Dame had lost only nine times at Purcell Pavilion since the beginning of the 2006-07 campaign and had not suffered more than three losses at home in a single season.
The Irish are 12-5 at Purcell Pavilion this season. The five losses are the most since the 2005-06 campaign when that Notre Dame team finished 12-5 at home. That season followed a 13-5 season at home in 2004-05.
CLOSE LOSSES IN LEAGUE PLAY
Notre Dame's eight losses in ACC play have been by a combined 61 points (7.6 ppg.). Only two of the seven losses have been by double digits -- Virginia (68-53) and North Carolina (73-62).
Notre Dame's 12 setbacks this season have been by a total of just 86 points (7.2 ppg.).
ATKINS ON THE ATTACK
Senior point guard Eric Atkins has scored in double-figures in 10 of 12 ACC games and he is averaging a team-best 15.0 ppg. in ACC play, which ranks 12th in the league.
Atkins tallied a game-high 24 points against Boston College (Feb. 1). That performance was capped with the game-winning three-pointer with less than a second left in overtime. It marked his fifth 20-plus point effort of the season (third in ACC play).
His 1,328 career points are the fourth-most among active ACC players, while his 555 career assists are the most for any current ACC player.
He recorded his first double-double of the season (fifth of his career) by tallying 19 points and 11 assists in the Jan. 4 win over Duke. The 11 assists are the most for an ACC player in a league game this season.
He scored a career-high 30 points and played all 45 minutes in the overtime victory over Canisius on Dec. 29. Atkins deposited a career-high six three pointers (on eight attempts). The six treys are a team-high total this season.
Atkins was named ACC Player of the Week in consecutive weeks (Dec. 30 and Jan. 6).
ATKINS ASSISTING THE IRISH
Senior point guard Eric Atkins' 2.33 career assist-to-turnover ratio ranks fifth among all active Division I players.
Atkins has 555 careers assists and just 238 turnovers. The career assist total currently ranks 14th nationally. This season, Atkins has 122 assists and 50 turnovers for a 2.44 assist-to-turnover ratio, which is seventh-best in the ACC.
He is averaging 5.3 assists per game in ACC play, which ranks second in the league.
Atkins has dished off 100-plus assists in each of his four seasons. He is one of four players in Notre Dame history to have 100-plus assists in four consecutive seasons. The other three players are Chris Thomas (2001-05), Tory Jackson (2006-10) and David Rivers (1984-88).
AUGUSTE HAS CAREER OUTING AGAINST CLEMSON
Sophomore forward Zach Auguste had his first career double-double in Notre Dame's 68-64 double-overtime win over Clemson on Tuesday night. He finished with 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.
He has scored in double-figures in four of the last five games and seven times overall this season.
Auguste has started nine games for the Irish this season and has been in the Irish starting lineup in each of the last six contests.
Notre Dame has played three overtime games this season and are 3-0 in those contests. Notre Dame's 68-64 double-overtime win over Clemson on Tuesday improved the Irish to 9-1 in their last 10 overtime contests. The Fighting Irish have won six straight games that have been decided in overtime. Notre Dame is 16-9 in overtime contests under head coach Mike Brey.
Notre Dame's other two overtime victories this season were against Canisius (87-81) on Dec. 29 and Boston College (76-73) on Feb. 1.
TAKING CARE OF THE BASKETBALL
Notre Dame ranks 20th nationally (third in the ACC) with a 1.44 assist-to-turnover ratio. The Irish have the country's 24th-best assists-per-game mark (15.6), which is third in the ACC.
The Irish have dished off 20 or more assists in five contests this season and they have committed fewer than 10 turnovers in 11 games.
Notre Dame has struggled in its 12 ACC games as the Irish have dished off 159 assists and committed 134 turnovers for a 1.2 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Irish opponents have two fewer assists (157) and seven fewer turnovers (121) than the Irish and own a 1.30 assist-to-turnover ratio.
PAT PERFORMING WELL IN ACC PLAY
Junior swingman Pat Connaughton is averaging 12.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists in ACC play. He has scored in double figures in nine of 12 ACC contests. Connaughton's 27 three-pointers in ACC games are tied for the seventh-most in the league.
He is averaging 6.5 defensive rebounds per game in ACC play, which are the most in the conference. Connaughton has pulled down 10 or more rebounds in six games this season (three ACC contests).
Connaughton tied a season-high mark with 21 points against Virginia Tech on Jan. 19. It was the third time this season (first in ACC play) and seventh time of his career that he scored 20 or more points in a game.
He has four double-doubles (points & rebounds) this season and six for his career.
Connaughton is averaging career-bests of 13.1 points and 7.5 rebounds this season. Last season, he averaged 8.9 points and 4.7 rebounds.
Junior Pat Connaughton has never missed a game during his Fighting Irish career. He has played in all 94 contests, including 78 starts. Connaughton has started 75 consecutive games.
Senior point guard Eric Atkins has played in 90 straight games (all starts). He has only missed two contests during his Notre Dame career and has competed in 126 games (98 starts). Atkins is ninth on Notre Dame's career games played and 10th on the games started lists.
Both Atkins and Connaughton played all 45 minutes in the win over Boston College on Feb. 1 and then all 40 minutes against Syracuse on Feb. 3. Atkins was on the floor all 50 minutes against Clemson on Tuesday night, while Connaughton played 49 minutes.
Atkins has played 39 or more minutes in 11 games this season, while Connaughton has done so on 10 occasions.
Connaughton (39.67) and Atkins (39.58) rank first and second, respectively, in minutes played per game in ACC contests.
SHUFFLING THE STARTERS
Notre Dame has used nine different starting lineups this season.
Freshman V.J. Beachem is the most recent Irish player to earn a start this season as he was in the starting lineup against Clemson on Tuesday. It was the first start of his career.
Eric Atkins, Pat Connaughton and Garrick Sherman have started all 25 games this season, while Demetrius Jackson (15), Zach Auguste (9), Tom Knight (5), Steve Vasturia (5) and Austin Burgett (3) also have been in the starting lineup.
BURGETT SURGERY SUCCESSFUL
Sophomore forward Austin Burgett on Jan. 29 underwent outpatient cardiac procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat and returned to the court on against North Carolina on Feb. 8 for the first time since the Florida State game on Jan. 21.
Against the Tar Heels, Burgett played 11 minutes and made two steals. He had practiced on Thursday and Friday prior to the game. He also played five minutes against Clemson on Tuesday.
He experienced an abnormally fast heartbeat in the second half of Notre Dame's loss against the Seminoles.
SHERMAN COMPILING A SOLID SEASON
Senior center Garrick Sherman is averaging career-bests in points (14.3) and rebounds (7.9) this season. In ACC play, he ranks 14th in scoring (14.1 ppg) and tied for third in rebounding (8.3 rpg).
Sherman's 51.6% shooting percentage this season ranks second among all ACC players.
He tallied a career-high 29 points at Iowa (Dec. 3).
Sherman has a team-high 19 blocked shots this season.
SHERMAN PUTTING ON A DOUBLE-DOUBLE DISPLAY
Garrick Sherman has six double-doubles this season, including three in ACC play.
One of his strongest showings of the year came against North Carolina State as he finished with 21 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. The 18 boards are tied for the most for an ACC player in a league game this season.
He scored 20 or more points in consecutive games for the first time of his career when he tallied 21 and 20 against Florida State and Wake Forest, respectively.
ATKINS NETS OT GAME WINNER
Eric Atkins' game-winning three-pointer with less than a second left in overtime in the 76-73 win over Boston College on Feb. 1 marked the first time Notre Dame won on a "last-second" shot since Tory Jackson's layup against New Mexico with two seconds left that gave the Irish a 70-68 victory in the second round of the 2009 Postseason NIT.
Freshman guard Steve Vasturia scored a career-high 13 points at Syracuse (Feb. 3) and also netted double figures with 11 points in a career-best 41 minutes in Tuesday night's win over Clemson. He knocked down two crucial three-pointers in the second overtime versus the Tigers.
He has started five games for the Irish this season (all in ACC play). Vasturia made a career-high three three-pointers (on five attempts) against Duke on Jan. 4.
Vasturia was named ACC Rookie of the Week on Jan. 6.
BEACHEM MAKING CONTRIBUTIONS
Freshman forward V.J. Beachem has scored in double figures twice this season and earned his first career start on Tuesday night against Clemson.
He netted double figures for the first time in his career against Boston College as finished with 10 points in 20 minutes while connecting on four-of-eight field goal attempts.
Beachem played 14 minutes in Notre Dame's loss to North Carolina and matched his career high with 10 points. He shot four-of-seven from the field.
FRESHMEN IN THE STARTING FIVE
Notre Dame had two freshmen -- Demetrius Jackson and Steve Vasturia -- in the starting lineup against Maryland on Jan. 15.
Prior to that contest, the last time the Irish had two freshmen in the starting lineup was during the 2006-07 campaign when rookies Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson both earned multiple starts throughout the season.
V.J. Beachem earned his first career start Tuesday night against Clemson. He became the third different Irish freshman to start a game this season.
The last time Notre Dame had three true freshmen earn at least one start in a season was during the 1999-2000 campaign (Matt Carroll-30, Jere Macura-2 and Ivan Kartelo-1).
Notre Dame has lost its first six road games of a season for the first time since the 1993-94 campaign when the Irish started 0-8 on the road.
This is the first six-game road losing streak for the Fighting Irish since they dropped seven straight during the 2008-09 season.
DRAINING FROM DEEP
Eric Atkins (164) and Pat Connaughton (158) rank 10th and 11th, respectively, in Notre Dame history in three-point field goals made.
Connaughton has a team-high 59 three-pointers this season, while Atkins is second with 47.
FIGHTING IRISH FACTS
Since the beginning of the 2010-11 season, Notre Dame is 36-2 when shooting 50% or above from the field, 65-9 when outrebounding its opponent and 67-6 when leading at halftime.
ATKINS ON COUSY AWARD WATCH LIST
Senior Eric Atkins was named to the watch list for the 2014 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award. Atkins is averaging 14.0 points and 4.8 assists per game this season and boasts a 2.44 assist-to-turnover ratio.
The annual honor, announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and is named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic point guard Bob Cousy, recognizes the top point guards in men's basketball. A committee of well-respected media members and influential people within collegiate basketball from around the country comprise the committee. This year's watch list will be narrowed down to a final 20 in early February, then a final five in early March.
IRISH OPEN ACC ERA WITH WIN OVER DUKE
January 4 was a historic day for Notre Dame as it opened its Atlantic Coast Conference era with a 79-77 victory over No. 7 Duke. The win snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Blue Devils that began in 1988. It was Notre Dame's first victory over Duke since a 70-66 overtime win on Feb. 15, 1987, at the Joyce Center.
Duke grabbed a 10-point lead (60-50) with 11:35 left in the second half, but Notre Dame responded with a 10-0 run to tie the game with 8:01 remaining. In fact, the Irish extended it to a 20-4 run to take their largest lead (70-64) of the game with 4:18 left to play.
With Notre Dame's move to the Atlantic Coast Conference, senior center Garrick Sherman now is playing in the third different conference during his collegiate career. Sherman played his first two seasons (2009-11) in the Big Ten Conference while at Michigan State and then transferred to Notre Dame following the 2010-11 campaign. After sitting out the 2011-12 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Sherman played last year in Notre Dame's final season in the BIG EAST Conference.
IRISH ENTER THE ACC
Following 18 seasons in the BIG EAST Conference, Notre Dame is in its first season as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Notre Dame will face each of the other 14 ACC member schools at least once during this season's 18-game conference schedule. Along with home-and-away dates with its "partner schools" Boston College and Georgia Tech, Notre Dame will meet both North Carolina and Virginia twice during the season. The Fighting Irish also will play host to Clemson, Duke, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech. Notre Dame's other road opponents are Florida State, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse and Wake Forest.
The 2014 ACC men's basketball tournament is scheduled for March 12-16 at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.
Notre Dame was picked to finish fifth in its inaugural season of Atlantic Coast Conference play according to a vote of media in attendance at the league's annual "Operation Basketball." Duke was picked to win the ACC title.
BREY NO STRANGER TO THE ACC
Perhaps no person is better prepared to navigate the Irish basketball program into its new basketball conference home than head coach Mike Brey. A Rockville, Md., native, he grew up a Maryland Terrapin basketball fan and his first coaching job in the collegiate ranks was as an assistant coach at Duke for eight seasons.
Beginning in 1987-88, he helped Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski take his teams to six NCAA Final Fours and four national title games while winning back-to-back national titles in 1991 and 1992. The Blue Devils posted a sterling 216-65 record for a 76.8 winning percentage during his tenure at the school. Brey recruited and worked daily with four of the greatest players in that program's history -- Danny Ferry, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley and Grant Hill.
KNIGHT AND SHERMAN JOIN ATKINS AND CONNAUGHTON AS IRISH CAPTAINS
Tom Knight (GS/F) and Garrick Sherman (Sr./C) will serve as captains for the remainder of the 2013-14 campaign alongside teammates Eric Atkins (Sr./G) and Pat Connaughton (Jr./G-F). The announcement was made Dec. 27 by Irish head coach Mike Brey.
The last time Notre Dame added a captain at midseason was two years ago (during the 2011-12 campaign) when Atkins, then a sophomore, served as a tri-captain with Tim Abromaitis and Scott Martin.
Atkins is the first three-time captain in the 109-history of the program, while Connaughton, Sherman and Knight are first-time captains.
NOTRE DAME STUDENT-ATHLETES AGAIN RANK #1 IN NCAA GRS
For the eighth time in nine years, the University of Notre Dame ranks number one on a percentage basis in terms of number of Graduation Success Rate (GSR) 100 scores, among all NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision schools.
Twenty of 22 athletics programs at Notre Dame compiled graduation rates of 100 percent, including the men's basketball team, according to the ninth year of GSR measurements developed by the NCAA. It's the first time Notre Dame's programs have combined for 20 perfect scores-after four previous years with 19.
None of the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division I-A) programs in the country had a higher percentage of 100 GSR scores than did Notre Dame with its .909 number (20 of 22).
In addition, Notre Dame ranked second among all FBS institutions with nine perfect scores among 22 sports (.409) in the federal graduation rate analysis.
Notre Dame has earned appearances in the postseason in each of the last 14 seasons, which marks the longest stretch in school history. The Irish have been to the NCAA Championship on nine 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 nine times, including a current stretch of four straight trips, and NIT four times.
NOTRE DAME LOOKS TO NOTCH ANOTHER 20-WIN CAMPAIGN
The Irish have recorded seven straight 20-win seasons. It's the first time in program history that Notre Dame has compiled seven consecutive 20-win campaigns. The Fighting Irish have reached the 20-win plateau 10 times in 13 seasons under head coach Mike Brey.
Last season's 25 wins were tied for the second-most of the Brey era. The most wins for the Irish under Brey are 27 (27-7) in 2010-11.
Junior guard/forward Pat Connaughton also is a standout pitcher on the Fighting Irish baseball team. He has appeared in 22 games, including 20 starts, and boasts an 8-6 career record with a 2.43 earned-run average (ERA). He has logged 92.2 innings and has notched 69 strikeouts. As a sophomore, Connaughton went 4-2 and posted a 1.71 ERA.
Connaughton recently was named the No. 46 prospect among 2014 draft-eligible players by Perfect Game in the publication's post-fall college top-50 list. The publication ranked Connaughton as the No. 22 right-handed pitcher.
Connaughton was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 50th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.
DIGGER PHELPS BECOMES SIXTH INDUCTEE INTO RING OF HONOR
Former Irish head coach Digger Phelps became the sixth inductee into Notre Dame's Ring of Honor during halftime of the Notre Dame-Virginia Tech game on Jan. 19.
More than two dozen of Phelps' former players from his 20-season era (1971-91) returned to campus to see their former head coach inducted into the Ring of Honor.
Notre Dame also commemorated the 40th anniversary of Notre Dame ending UCLA's 88-game win streak. The landmark victory took place at Notre Dame on Jan. 19, 1974. The win streak still remains the longest in men's college basketball history. Eleven members of the squad were recognized for that achievement during a first-half timeout of the Notre Dame-Virginia Tech contest.
NOTRE DAME ADDS TWO FRONTLINE PLAYERS FOR 2014-15 CAMPAIGN
Irish head coach Mike Brey recently announced the signing of two frontcourt players to his 2014-15 roster. Bonzie Colson, Jr., a 6-6, 200-pound forward out of New Bedford, Mass., and Martin Geben, a 6-9, 230-pound forward from Vilnius, Lithuania, have signed National Letters of Intent during the early signing period and will enroll in the fall of 2014.