#21/21 IRISH BEGIN TWO-GAME ROAD TRIP ON SATURDAY AT PROVIDENCE
Following consecutive overtime victories, No. 21/21 Notre Dame (20-5, 8-4) will travel to Providence (13-11, 5-7) for a Saturday afternoon affair. The BIG EAST clash is slated for noon (ET) inside the Dunkin Donuts Center.
The game can be seen regionally on the BIG EAST Network (check local listings) and in the South Bend area on ABC 57. The contest is also available on ESPN3 (internet). Eamon McAnaney (play-by-play) and Bob Wenzel (analyst) will be on the call.
Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Jordan Cornette (analyst) will call the action for the Notre Dame Basketball Radio Network. The broadcast is available on Sirius 123, XM 191 and can also be heard for free on UND.com (full affiliate listings on Pg. 3).
Saturday will be the second of three games in a six-day stretch for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame will go to No. 16/17 Pittsburgh for an ESPN Big Monday showdown.
FACING THE FRIARS
Saturday will be the 26th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Providence. The Fighting Irish lead the series 16-9, including nine straight victories over the Friars. The Irish won the lone meeting last season, 75-69, inside Purcell Pavilion (3/2/12). The last Providence win in the series was a 73-59 decision on Feb. 24, 2004, at Notre Dame.
Notre Dame has won six straight times at Providence and the Irish are 7-4 all-time at Providence. The last meeting in the Dunkin Donuts Center was a 94-93 Fighting Irish triumph on Feb. 23, 2011.
Notre Dame is 14-6 against Providence since joining the BIG EAST in 1995.
Fighting Irish head coach Mike Brey is 11-1 against the Friars during his Notre Dame tenure.
IRISH HAVE OVERTIME EDGE
Notre Dame defeated Louisville, 104-101, in five overtimes on Saturday and then topped DePaul, 82-78, in overtime on Wednesday. The Louisville contest was the longest game in Notre Dame history and the longest regular-season BIG EAST affair.
It's the first time the Irish have played consecutive overtime games since the 1999-2000 season (Vanderbilt & Indiana). This is the first time the Fighting Irish have ever played two straight overtime contests in BIG EAST play.
Three of Notre Dame's last four games have gone to overtime. The Irish have won all three contests.
Notre Dame is 9-2 in its last 11 overtime affairs (3-1 this season). The Fighting Irish are 13-9 in overtime under head coach Mike Brey.
FIGHTING IRISH NOTCH ANOTHER 20-WIN CAMPAIGN
The Irish have clinched their seventh straight 20-win season. It's the first time in program history 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.
FIGHTING IRISH FACTS
Over the last three seasons, Notre Dame is 31-1 (11-0 this season) when shooting 50% or above from the field, 51-2 (14-0 this season) when outrebounding its opponent and 54-5 (17-1 this season) when leading at halftime.
The Fighting Irish are 3-1 against ranked teams this season. Over the last four seasons, Notre Dame is 20-13 (.606) against teams ranked in the Associated Press top-25 poll, including a 12-2 mark at home.
BREY ALONE IN FOURTH PLACE ON BIG EAST WINS LIST
Saturday's win over Louisville moved Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey past former St. John's head coach Lou Carnesecca and into sole possession of fourth place on the BIG EAST all-time wins list (both regular-season and tournament). Brey has a 141-93 (.603) 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.
Senior forward Jack Cooley has posted a double-double in each of the last five games, which is a career-best streak. He is third nationally with 17 double-doubles this season (eight in BIG EAST play).
He has hauled down 10 or more rebounds in a career best eight straight games and 18 times overall this season. Cooley has grabbed 15 or more rebounds in a game three times this season.
Cooley has 30 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 third nationally in double-doubles (17), fifth in rebounds per game (11.2) and 12th in field-goal percentage (.588).
In BIG EAST play, he is second in rebounding (11.1) and first in offensive rebounds per game (4.1). He is fourth in field-goal percentage (.538).
Cooley has scored in double-figures in 23 of the 25 games this season.
He is sixth in the BIG EAST in blocked shots per game this season (1.4). Cooley's 109 career blocked shots are the seventh-most in Notre Dame history.
Notre Dame ranks first nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.66). The Irish are third nationally and first in the BIG EAST (all games) in assists per game (18.0).
The Fighting Irish rank ninth nationally in fewest turnovers per game (10.9). 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 67.0% of its made field goals this season.
The Irish have dished out 20 or more assists in 11 games this season (four times in BIG EAST play).
PRODUCTION IN THE PAINT
Garrick Sherman (Sr./C) and Jack Cooley (Sr./F) rank third and fourth, respectively, in field-goal percentage among all BIG EAST players this season. Sherman is shooting 59.0% from the field, while Cooley has a 58.8% mark.
GRANT BRINGING HIS GAME IN LEAGUE PLAY
Junior guard Jerian Grant has led Notre Dame in scoring in each of the last three games. He is averaging 18.3 points and 6.7 assists in those three contests.
Grant netted 21 points in Wednesday's win over DePaul. That was his second game this season with 20 or more points (first in BIG EAST play). He has six career games with 20 or more points.
Grant has scored in double-figures in 11 of 12 BIG EAST games this season, including a current stretch of seven straight double-digit efforts. He is averaging a team-best 14.5 points per game in league play.
His 6.2 assist-per-game average in BIG EAST contests ranks third in the conference.
ATKINS ASSISTING THE IRISH EFFORT
Junior point guard Eric Atkins leads the BIG EAST in three-point shooting percentage in league games (.452).
Atkins is 14th nationally and second in the BIG EAST (all games) in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.8).
He is 25th nationally and 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 12th in BIG EAST play with a 1.5 steals-per-game average. He has 104 career steals, which ranks 19th in Notre Dame history.
ATKINS PLAYING MAJOR MINUTES
Junior point guard Eric Atkins tied a Notre Dame record by playing 60 minutes in the five-overtime victory against Louisville on Saturday. Atkins leads the BIG EAST by averaging 40.6 minutes per game in league play. Atkins has played 40 or more minutes in six of the last nine contests, including Wednesday against DePaul when he was on the court for 42 minutes.
Junior point guard Eric Atkins is third in the BIG EAST (25th nationally) in assists per game (6.1), while fellow junior guard Jerian Grant is fifth in the league (33rd nationally) by averaging 5.7 assists per game. They are the only set of teammates ranked in the top five of the league assists-per-game standings.
Atkins is second in the BIG EAST (all games) in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.8), while Grant is seventh (2.1).
In BIG EAST play, Atkins is first minutes played per game (40.6) and Grant is third (38.7).
Notre Dame is shooting 48.3% from the floor this season. That figure ranks 15th nationally and it ranks first among all BIG EAST squads.
The Fighting Irish are shooting 45.4% from the field in BIG EAST play. That percentage is the second-best mark in the league.
The Irish are 11-0 this season when they shoot 50% or above from the floor and they are 9-5 when shooting below 50%.
DRAINING FROM DEEP
The Irish lead the BIG EAST by shooting 38.6% from three-point range (all games). That figure ranks 28th nationally. Notre Dame also is shooting a league-best 38.6% from distance in BIG EAST play.
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 6.7 made three-pointers per game this season (6.3 in BIG EAST play).
QUITE A CLASS
Notre Dame's current senior class needs six victories to become the program's all-time winningest class. The group needs three 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: 91-36 overall/44-21 (BIG EAST)
BIG EAST UPS AND DOWNS
Notre Dame has averaged 78.9 points-per-game in its eight BIG EAST victories, while the Irish averaged just 53.8 points in their four league losses. The Fighting Irish have shot 47.9% from the field in the victories and 39.7% in the setbacks. From three-point range, Notre Dame has shot 43.9% in the wins and 25.9% in the defeats.
PLAYING WELL IN PURCELL
The Fighting Irish are 115-9 in their last 124 games played at home. That .927 home winning percentage over the course of the last seven seasons ranks second nationally. Kansas is first with a .959 mark.
Notre Dame is 50-3 in its last 53 home games (.943).
PAT AN ALL-AROUND PERFORMER
Sophomore guard/forward Pat Connaughton posted his first double-double of the season with 16 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in Saturday's win over Louisville. It was the second double-double of his career. He also dished out a career-high seven assists in the contest. It was his third career game with 10 or more rebounds (first this season).
Connaughton's 56 minutes played against the Cardinals were the second-most of any Irish player in that game.
BIEDSCHEID A LIFT OFF THE BENCH
Freshman forward Cameron Biedscheid tallied 14 points in 50 minutes off the bench in Saturday's victory over Louisville. It was his sixth double-digit effort of the season (second in BIG EAST play).
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 six 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.
Notre Dame is 4-0 this season when wearing gold jerseys. The Irish have worn their gold jerseys in each of the last three home games.
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 7.5 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 12 games this season. The Fighting Irish have boasted at least five double-digit performers seven times. The Irish had a season-high six double-digit scorers against Chicago State (Nov. 26) and Louisville (Feb. 9).
Notre Dame is 39-13 (.750) over its last 51 BIG EAST regular-season contests.
The Irish have gone 78-40 (.661) 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 52-8 (.867) 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 24-3 in their last 27 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 152 assists and a 2.76 assist-to-turnover ratio this season.
Atkins shot 39.4% from the field last season and is currently shooting at a 45.7% clip. He has improved his three-point shooting from 37.5% last season to a current mark of 42.5%.
Sophomore guard/forward Pat Connaughton had 30 assists during his freshman campaign and already has dished out 62 assists this season. He had a 1.25 assist-to-turnover ratio last season, but has improved that to 2.95 this season.
Junior guard Jerian Grant has improved his shooting percentage from 38.0% last season to 44.4% this season.
FEW FOULS FOR THE FIGHTING IRISH
Notre Dame ranks sixth nationally in fewest personal fouls per game (13.7).
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 1743-944 for a .649 winning percentage. In 17 seasons as a member of the BIG EAST, the Irish own a 168-134 (.556) 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.
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.
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.
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.
JACKSON NAMED MCDONALD'S ALL-AMERICAN
Demetrius Jackson, who signed a national letter of intent in November and will join the Fighting Irish next season, has been named to the 2013 McDonald's High School All-America Team. The 2013 McDonald's All-American Game will take place April 3 at the United Center in Chicago.
Jackson (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) is the 15th McDonald's All-American to play at Notre Dame and the fifth under head coach Mike Brey. Jackson is Notre Dame's first McDonald's All-American since Luke Zeller in 2005.
Jackson is part of a talented four-man class that will join the Fighting Irish for the 2013-14 campaign. Joining him will be V.J. Beachem (Fort Wayne, Ind./New Haven), Austin Torres (Mishawaka, Ind./Penn) and Steve Vasturia (Medford, N.J./St. Joseph's Prep).
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.