FIGHTING IRISH HEAD TO MIAMI TO FACE THE HURRICANES
Notre Dame (14-12, 5-8) will head to Miami (12-13, 3-9) for the middle contest of its three-game road swing. The Fighting Irish and Hurricanes will square off at 9 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday inside the BankUnited Center. This is the only regular-season meeting between the two programs.
The game will be broadcast on the Regional Sports Network (check local listings) with Wes Durham (play-by-play) and Cory Alexander (analyst) calling the action. ESPN3 will carry the game online.
A free audio broadcast will be available on WatchND.tv. Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and former Irish standout Colin Falls (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 119/XM 192.
THE MIAMI SERIES
Wednesday will be the 16th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Miami and the first since a 72-62 Fighting Irish victory on Jan. 28, 2004, inside Purcell Pavilion. The Irish hold an 8-7 edge in the series.
Eleven of the meetings between the two programs came when the Irish and Hurricanes were rivals in the BIG EAST Conference. Miami won seven of those encounters.
Notre Dame is making its first trip to Coral Gables since Feb. 23, 2002 (a 90-77 Irish victory). The Fighting Irish are 4-3 all-time at Miami.
Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey is 2-0 all-time against Miami.
Brey's Irish squad topped current Miami head coach Jim Larranaga's George Mason team, 68-50, in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
BREY ON CUSP OF 300TH VICTORY AT NOTRE DAME
Mike Brey is one win away from notching his 300th victory at Notre Dame. Brey has compiled a 299-154 (.660) record in his 14 seasons in South Bend. Thirteen active Division I head coaches have 300 or more victories at their current institution (see box on Pg. 2).
Only two other Notre Dame head coaches have reached the 300-win milestone. Digger Phelps led the Fighting Irish to a 393-197 record from 1971-91. George Keogan notched a 327-97 mark from 1923-43.
Brey is just two victories shy of recording his 400th career win as a college head coach. He has registered a 398-206 record in 19 seasons at Delaware and Notre Dame.
HAPPY NEW ENGLAND HOMECOMING
Sunday's game at Boston College was a happy homecoming for two Irish players that hail from Massachusetts. Junior Pat Connaughton (Arlington, Mass.) played all 40 minutes and tallied a team-high 17 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists. Sophomore Zach Auguste (Marlborough, Mass.) registered 10 points in 20 minutes on the court. Both players started the contest.
ROUGH ROAD STRETCH
Wednesday night's game against Miami will be the second 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.
The trip began Sunday at Boston College and will conclude Saturday at Virginia.
This is Notre Dame's first three-game road stretch since the 2010-11 season (USF, West Virginia, Providence).
IRISH BREAK THROUGH AGAINST BC
Sunday's 73-69 win at Boston College was Notre Dame's first road win as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Irish had been 0-6 in true road games this season (0-5 in ACC play).
Notre Dame shot 50.9% (27-53) from the field against the Eagles. It was the first time the Irish shot 50% or above from the floor since a 52.6% performance against Duke on Jan. 4.
The win over Boston College combined with last Tuesday's 68-64 double-overtime triumph of Clemson marked Notre Dame's first two-game win streak in the ACC.
A SUPER STARTER
Senior point guard Eric Atkins has notched 99 starts during his Notre Dame career. He is on the verge of becoming just the ninth player in program history to record 100 career starts. Atkins has been in the Fighting Irish starting lineup in each of the last 91 contests.
ATKINS AMONG ACC LEADERS
Eric Atkins is averaging a team-best 15.1 ppg. in ACC play, which is tied for 10th in the league. The senior point guard has scored in double-figures in 11 of 13 ACC games.
His 1,344 career points are the fourth-most among active ACC players, while his 559 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.
Atkins was named ACC Player of the Week in consecutive weeks (Dec. 30 and Jan. 6).
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 and are tied for the fifth-most in a single game among ACC players during the 2013-14 campaign.
ATKINS ASSISTING THE IRISH
Senior point guard Eric Atkins' 2.32 career assist-to-turnover ratio is tied for fifth among all active Division I players.
Atkins has 559 careers assists and just 241 turnovers. The career assist total currently ranks 14th nationally. This season, Atkins has 126 assists and 53 turnovers for a 2.38 assist-to-turnover ratio, which is seventh-best in the ACC.
He is averaging 5.2 assists per game in ACC play, which ranks third 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).
Junior Pat Connaughton has never missed a game during his Fighting Irish career. He has played in all 95 contests, including 79 starts. Connaughton has started 76 consecutive games.
Senior point guard Eric Atkins has played in 91 straight games (all starts). He has only missed two contests during his Notre Dame career and has competed in 127 games (99 starts). Atkins is tied for eighth on Notre Dame's career games played list and tied for ninth in games started.
Both Atkins and Connaughton played all 40 minutes in Sunday's win at Boston College. It was the eighth time this season (sixth time in ACC play) that Atkins has played every minute of a contest. Connaughton has never left the court in seven games this season (five in ACC play).
Atkins ranks fourth nationally and first in the ACC in minutes played per game this season (38:04). Connaughton is 14th nationally and third in the league (37:06).
In ACC contests, Connaughton (39.69) and Atkins (39.62) rank first and second, respectively, in minutes played per game.
ATKINS A COUSY AWARD CANDIDATE
Senior Eric Atkins has been named one of the final 23 candidates for the 2014 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award. The original watch list of 80 candidates was narrowed down to the list of 23.
Atkins is averaging 14.1 points and 4.8 assists per game this season and boasts a 2.38 assist-to-turnover ratio. He is averaging 38.1 minutes per game this season.
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. The candidates will be narrowed down to a final five in early March.
AUGUSTE STAYING HOT
Sophomore forward Zach Auguste has scored in double-figures in each of the last three games, which is a career-best streak. He has netted double-digits five times in the last six games.
Auguste recorded his first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds in last Tuesday's 68-64 double-overtime win over Clemson.
Auguste has been in the starting lineup in each of the last seven contests and 10 times overall this season.
TAKING CARE OF THE BASKETBALL
Notre Dame ranks 17th nationally (third in the ACC) with a 1.45 assist-to-turnover ratio. The Irish have the country's 27th-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 12 games (six times in ACC play).
However, Notre Dame has struggled in its 13 ACC games as the Irish have dished off 173 assists and committed 141 turnovers for a 1.23 assist-to-turnover ratio.
PAT AN ALL-AROUND PERFORMER
Junior swingman Pat Connaughton is averaging 13.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists in ACC play. He has scored in double figures in 10 of 13 ACC contests.
Connaughton's 27 three-pointers in ACC games are the eighth-most in the league. His 59 treys overall this season rank third among all ACC players.
He is averaging 6.3 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). His 7.4 rebounds-per-game average this season ranks sixth in the ACC. He is ninth in league games only (7.5 rpg.).
He has four double-doubles (points & rebounds) this season and six for his career.
Connaughton is averaging career-bests of 13.2 points and 7.4 rebounds this season. Last season, he averaged 8.9 points and 4.7 rebounds.
The Fighting Irish are 3-0 in overtime games this season. Last Tuesday's 68-64 double-overtime win over Clemson was Notre Dame's sixth straight victory in a game decided in overtime. In fact, the Fighting Irish are 9-1 in their last 10 overtime affairs.
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.
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 last Tuesday against Clemson. It was the first start of his career.
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 setbacks have been by double digits -- Virginia (68-53) and North Carolina (73-62).
Notre Dame's 12 defeats this season have been by a total of just 86 points (7.2 ppg.).
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. He experienced an abnormally fast heartbeat in the second half of Notre Dame's loss against the Seminoles.
Against the Tar Heels, Burgett played 11 minutes and made two steals. He had practiced on Thursday and Friday prior to the game. He played five minutes against Clemson last Tuesday and 12 minutes at Boston College on Sunday.
SHERMAN COMPILING A SOLID SEASON
Senior center Garrick Sherman is averaging career-bests in points (14.0) and rebounds (7.8) this season. In ACC play, he ranks 16th in scoring (13.6 ppg) and seventh in rebounding (8.0 rpg).
Sherman's 51.4% 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.
SHERMAN PUTTING ON DOUBLE-DOUBLE DISPLAY
Garrick Sherman's six double-doubles this season are tied for the third-most among ACC players. His three double-doubles in ACC play are tied for fifth in the conference.
One of his strongest showings of the year came against North Carolina State (Jan. 7) 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 (Jan. 21) and Wake Forest (Jan. 25), respectively.
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 last Tuesday's win over Clemson. He knocked down two crucial three-pointers in the second overtime versus the Tigers.
He has started six 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. He was named ACC Rookie of the Week on Jan. 6 for his performance versus the Blue Devils.
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 last Tuesday 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).
DRAINING FROM DEEP
Eric Atkins (168) and Pat Connaughton (158) rank ninth and 12th, 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 51.
FIGHTING IRISH FACTS
Since the beginning of the 2010-11 season, Notre Dame is 37-2 when shooting 50% or above from the field, 66-9 when outrebounding its opponent and 68-6 when leading at halftime.
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
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.