Feb. 27, 2011
#9/9 Notre Dame (23-5, 12-4) vs. #15/14 Villanova (21-8, 9-6)
Monday, February 28 7:00 p.m. (EST)
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center (9,149) Notre Dame, Ind.
Sean McDonough (play-by-play)
Jay Bilas (analyst); Bill Raftery (analyst)
Radio: Affiliate listings on page 11; Broadcast also on UND.com
Jack Nolan (play-by-play)
Jordan Cornette (analyst)
Complete Notes in PDF Format
IRISH CLOSE OUT HOME SLATE ON MONDAY AGAINST VILLANOVA
Notre Dame (23-5, 12-4) will play host to Villanova (21-8, 9-6) on Senior Night at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. Tip-off for the ESPN Big Monday showdown is slated for 7:00 p.m. (ET). The Irish have won nine of their last 10 games and they currently are in second place in the BIG EAST.
Monday's matchup will be the 33rd meeting between Notre Dame and Villanova. The Wildcats lead the series 18-14 and they have won five of the last seven showdowns, including last season's 90-72 win in Philadelphia, Pa.
The Irish and Wildcats have split the 16 meetings at Notre Dame. Villanova claimed a 77-60 win in the last encounter at Notre Dame, which occurred during the 2008-09 campaign.
In the 17 regular-season BIG EAST meetings between the two schools, the Wildcats hold a 13-4 advantage. Villanova won the first eight matchups in conference play, but since that time, the Wildcats hold just a slight 5-4 edge in the series.
Mike Brey is 4-8 all-time against Villanova (4-7 at Notre Dame).
WHAT A RUN
Notre Dame is 44-26 (.629) in regular-season BIG EAST contests over the past four seasons. The 44 victories are the most regular-season BIG EAST wins over a four-year span in program history. The previous high was 43 (43-27) from 2006-10.
From 2006-10, Irish teams produced an overall record of 93-43 (.684). The 93 overall victories are the most in program history for a four-year span. Since 2007, Notre Dame has produced a 92-40 mark (.697). A win over Villanova on Monday would match the school record.
PURCELL PROVES KIND TO IRISH
Notre Dame is the only BIG EAST team that has yet to lose at home in 2010-11. Heading into tonight's regular-season home finale, the Irish are 16-0 and have won 18 straight home games dating back to last season.
A win against Villanova would give the Irish their third undefeated season at Purcell Pavilion in the last five years and their fifth overall since the building opened at the start of the 1968-69 campaign.
The Irish have registered four undefeated seasons at home in 42-plus seasons of the building: 1973-74 (15-0), 1985-86 (15-0), 2006-07 (18-0) and 2007-08 (17-0). Notre Dame was the first school in BIG EAST history to not lose at home in back-to-back campaigns as the Irish went unblemished at Purcell Pavilion from 2006-08. Notre Dame's 18 wins in '06-'07 are a school record.
Over the last five seasons, Notre Dame is 83-6 (.933) overall at Purcell Pavilion and 39-5 (.886) in BIG EAST play.
ABROMAITIS NETS 1,000TH POINT
With his 22 points on Saturday against Seton Hall, Tim Abromaitis now has 1,000 career points. He becomes the 51st player in Notre Dame history to reach that milestone.
Abromaitis has a 13.3 scoring average in 75 career outings. After scoring just 20 points during his freshman season in 2007-08 and sitting out the 2008-09 campaign, Abromaitis has scored 980 points over the course of the last 63 games for a 15.6 scoring average.
BREY, WRIGHT KNOW EACH OTHER WELL
Mike Brey and Villanova coach Jay Wright are certainly no strangers matching coaching wits against each other. Tonight's matchup will be the 24th time the two have faced each other on opposite sidelines. When both were former coaches in the America East Conference (Brey at Delaware and Wright at Hofstra), the two faced each other 14 times with Brey owning a 10-4 advantage in their coaching series. As BIG EAST counterparts, Wright owns a 6-3 edge in the nine meetings. Brey leads the all-time series between the two 13-10.
ANOTHER BIG SEASON IN LEAGUE PLAY
Notre Dame's 12 BIG EAST wins this season are the second-most in program history behind the 14 wins (14-4) during the 2007-08 season.
IRISH SECURE FIFTH STRAIGHT 20-WIN CAMPAIGN
Notre Dame has reached the 20-win mark for the fifth consecutive season and for the eighth time in the last 11 seasons under head coach Mike Brey. The last time Irish teams reached the 20-win plateau in five straight campaigns was from 1983-89 when those Notre Dame squads under Digger Phelps strung together six consecutive 20-win seasons.
This season's 23 wins are the most for the Irish since the 2009-10 campaign (23-12). The 23 victories are tied for the fourth-most during the Mike Brey era at Notre Dame (11 seasons).
Notre Dame's 23-5 record is the best 28-game mark under Brey.
Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis have accounted for 66.9% of Notre Dame's points during the past two games.
In the 60-48 win over Seton Hall on Saturday, Abromaitis netted 22 points, while Hansbrough had 21. Hansbrough (32) and Abromaitis (28) combined for 60 of Notre Dame's 94 points in Wednesday's win at Providence.
The duo have both scored 20-plus points in the same game four times this season. The other times were against Chicago State (Nov. 17) and Louisville (Feb. 9).
Hansbrough has reached double-figures in points a team-high 26 times this season (out of 28 games), while Abromaitis has netted double-digits 23 times.
Hansbrough has led the Irish in scoring a team-best 16 times this season, while Abromaitis has done so on eight occasions.
Hansbrough has scored 20-plus points a team-best 12 times this season, while Abromaitis has done so on 10 occasions.
In the 94-93 win over Providence on Wednesday, the Fighting Irish eclipsed the 90-point mark for the fifth time this season and for the first time in BIG EAST play. It was the first time Notre Dame reached the 90-point plateau in a BIG EAST game since a 93-78 home victory over Providence last season. It was the highest point-total in a BIG EAST contest for the Irish since a 103-84 win at Providence during the 2008-09 campaign.
Senior guard Ben Hansbrough scored a career-high 32 points against the Friars. It was the first 30-point effort by an Irish player since Luke Harangody netted 37 last season versus Cincinnati (Feb. 4, 2010).
Notre Dame shot 56.1% (32-57) from the floor against Providence. That is Notre Dame's highest shooting percentage in a BIG EAST game this season. Notre Dame has shot 50% or above from the floor nine times this season (five times in BIG EAST play).
Notre Dame's 48 first-half points versus the Friars also were the most points scored by the Irish in any half of a BIG EAST game this season. The previous high was 46 points during the second half of the DePaul contest (Feb. 3). Notre Dame netted 46 points in the second half against Providence.
ABROMAITIS NAMED TO CAPITAL ONE ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICA FIRST TEAM
Tim Abromaitis has been named to the Capital One Academic All-America Men's Basketball First Team for the second consecutive year. Abromaitis becomes the first Notre Dame men's basketball player to earn first team Academic All-America honors in back-to-back seasons since Pat Garrity in 1997 and 1998.
He is enrolled in a one-year intensified MBA program within the Mendoza College of Business and has a 3.615 grade point average. He graduated one full year ahead of his class in May of 2010 from the Mendoza College of Business with a degree in finance. A three-time member of the Dean's List, he earned a 3.72 grade index over his eight semesters.
Abromaitis becomes just the fourth player in program history to earn first team Academic All-America honors on multiple occasions. In addition to Garrity, Bob Arnzen and John Paxson were both multi-year first-team honorees. Arnzen ranks as Notre Dame's only three-time Academic All-America honoree as he garnered first-team recognition in 1967, 1968 and 1969, while Paxson earned first-team recognition in both 1982 and 1983.
Notre Dame's other Academic All-America honorees include: Gary Novak (second team in 1972 and first team in 1974); Kelly Tripucka (first team in 1979); Rich Branning (first team in 1980) and Chris Quinn (first team in 2006).
In all, Notre Dame has had eight different players in the 106-year history of the men's basketball program garner Academic All-America recognition on 14 occasions.
Abromaitis is the third Notre Dame student-athlete during the 2010-11 school year to be named an Academic All-American. Irish kicker David Ruffer was a first-team football selection, while All-American Lauren Fowlkes earned a spot on the women's soccer first team. Overall, Notre Dame ranks second all-time in the number of Academic All-Americans it has produced with 219.
HANSBROUGH NAMED TO NAISMITH TROPHY MIDSEASON 30
Ben Hansbrough is among a list of 30 players on the Naismith Trophy midseason list. Four other BIG EAST players also are on the list - Austin Freeman (Georgetown), Rick Jackson (Syracuse), Kemba Walker (Connecticut) and Brad Wanamaker (Pittsburgh).
HANSBROUGH STAYING HOT
Over the past nine games, Ben Hansbrough is averaging 22.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists. He is shooting 53.5% (69-129) from the floor during those nine contests. The Irish are 8-1 in that stretch.
Hansbrough scored a career-high 32 points on Wednesday at Providence. His 10 made field goals (10-13) matched a career-high total. He has scored 20-plus points six times over the past nine games.
He currently has a career-high 11-game double-figure scoring streak. That's the longest double-digit scoring streak for the Irish this season.
For the season, Hansbrough is averaging a career-best - and team-high - 18.0 points per game. Hansbrough has a team-best 111 assists (4.0 apg) and a team-high 34 steals (1.2 spg). He also is averaging a team-high 35.1 minutes played per game.
His 20.1 ppg. average in BIG EAST games ranks third in the league. His 37.1 minutes played per game in BIG EAST contests also ranks third in the conference.
Hansbrough has led the Irish in scoring in nine of the past 11 games and a team-best 16 times this season.
He has made at least five three-pointers in a game five times this season. Hansbrough made a career-high six treys earlier this season versus Chicago State (Nov. 17).
Hansbrough has notched at least five assists in a game 10 times this season.
He is shooting 80.9% (123-152) from the free throw line overall this season and boasts an 83.8% (83-99) average in BIG EAST play, which ranks seventh.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
Notre Dame is averaging 81.4 points per game in its 16 home games this season, while the Irish average 67.2 points in their eight true road games (all BIG EAST contests). Notre Dame is averaging 73.6 points per game in its eight BIG EAST home games.
The Irish have eclipsed 80 points at home nine times this season (twice in BIG EAST play).
IRISH AMONG NATION'S BEST IN PROTECTING THE BASKETBALL
Notre Dame boasts a 1.51 assist-to-turnover ratio. The Fighting Irish rank fourth nationally in that category and second among BIG EAST teams. The Irish have registered 463 assists on their 691 made field goals this season (.670). The Fighting Irish average just 11.0 turnovers per game, which is the 10th-best mark in the country.
Notre Dame has notched at least 20 assists in a game eight times this season (twice in BIG EAST play). The Irish had a season-high 29 assists (on 34 made field goals) versus Chicago State (Nov. 17). Notre Dame is 15th nationally in assists per game (16.7).
Senior guard Ben Hansbrough leads the Irish with 111 assists (4.0 apg). Freshman point guard Eric Atkins is second with 98 (3.5 apg). Atkins has a team-best 2.97 assist-to-turnover ratio, which ranks seventh nationally and first in the BIG EAST.
Notre Dame matched a season-low total by committing just seven turnovers versus Louisville (Feb. 9). The Irish have had fewer than 10 turnovers in a game nine times this season (five times in BIG EAST play).
SPREADING THE WEALTH
In the 78-55 win at USF (Feb. 12), the Irish had six players reach double-figures in points for the first time ever in a BIG EAST game. Jack Cooley (18), Carleton Scott (13), Tim Abromaitis (12), Ben Hansbrough (12), Scott Martin (10) and Tyrone Nash (10) all netted double-digits. It's the second time this season Notre Dame has had six double-figure scorers. Those same six players all did so versus Maine (Nov. 22).
The Irish have had at least four players reach double-figures in points in five of the past six games. Notre Dame has had at least four double-figure scorers in 12 games this season.
Notre Dame has had at least five players reach double-digits in the same contest six times (see box on page 8).
A IS FOR ABROMAITIS
Tim Abromaitis has scored over 20 points in each of the past two games. He tallied a season-high 28 points on Wednesday at Providence. His 11 made field goals (11-16) versus the Friars matched a career-high total.
Abromaitis has scored in double figures in 23 of 28 games this season. He has reached double-figures in six of the past seven games. Abromaitis has netted 20-plus points in a game 10 times this season (four times in BIG EAST play).
Abromaitis' point (14.9) and rebound (6.3) averages rank second on the team.
He has scored in double-figures in 29 out of 34 BIG EAST regular-season games over the past two seasons.
Abromaitis has two double-doubles this season. He has grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds twice this season (California and UMBC).
Six different Notre Dame players have led the team in scoring during a game this season. Ben Hansbrough has led the Irish in scoring a team-best 16 times. Tim Abromaitis has led the Irish in points on seven occasions. Carleton Scott has done so three times, including one tie with Eric Atkins, who has posted a team-high point total twice this season. Jack Cooley and Tyrone Nash have led the Irish in scoring once each.
Three Notre Dame players (Abromaitis, Hansbrough and Scott) all have scored 20-plus points in a game this season. Hansbrough has accomplished the feat a team-best 12 times, including the team's only 30-plus point game this season. Abromaitis has scored 20-plus points 10 times, while Scott has done it twice.
SCOTT PROVIDES A SPARK
Notre Dame is 21-3 this season when Carleton Scott has played.
Scott had to leave the Syracuse contest (Jan. 1), a 70-58 loss, in the second half after suffering a hamstring injury. Notre Dame went 2-2 in the next four contests without his services. Scott returned to game action on Jan. 19 versus Cincinnati, a 66-58 Irish win.
Scott returned to the starting lineup on Jan. 22 versus Marquette (an 80-75 win) and notched a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Scott then posted 16 points and nine rebounds in a 56-51 win at Pittsburgh.
CONSISTENCY FROM CARLETON
Despite missing four games earlier this season with a hamstring injury, senior forward Carleton Scott has been one of Notre Dame's top performers this season. Scott has scored in double-figures 16 times this season (out of 24 games played). o Scott has a team-high seven double-doubles this season. He hauled down a game-high 10 rebounds on Saturday versus Seton Hall. That marked the second straight game - and ninth time this season - he's had 10 or more rebounds in a game.
Scott is 23-25 (.920) from the free throw line in BIG EAST play. Overall this season, he is shooting 89.1% (49-55) from the charity stripe, which ranks second among all BIG EAST players.
Scott's five made three-pointers at Pittsburgh (Jan. 24) were a career-high total. He dished out a career-high six assists versus UMBC (Dec. 22).
He netted a career-high 23 points versus Gonzaga on Dec. 11.
His perfect 8-8 performance from the field against Stony Brook (Dec. 19) ranks in a tie for third all-time in program history for most made field goals in a game without a miss. He was 4-4 from three-point range versus the Seawolves.
Senior forward Carleton Scott has a team-best - and career-high - 44 blocked shots this season (1.8 per game).
Scott blocked two shots against Seton Hall on Saturday That was the 16th time this season - and seventh straight contest - he has blocked at least two shots in a game. He has swatted three or more shots in a game seven times this season. Scott tied a career-high total with a season-high four blocked shots against Indiana State (Nov. 30).
MARTIN MAKING AN IMPACT
Scott Martin has reached double-figures in points 12 times in BIG EAST play (out of 16 games). He has registered double-figures 16 times overall this season.
Martin notched his first career double-double versus Marquette (Jan. 10) as he tallied 10 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. He has led the Irish in rebounding four times this season.
Martin has netted a season-high 15 points three times (Maine, Indiana State, UMBC). Those were his highest point outputs since he netted a career-high 17 points against Missouri State during his freshman season at Purdue.
Martin did not play in 2008-09 due to NCAA transfer rules and he missed all of last season with an ACL injury.
ROOKIE HANDLING THE ROCK
Freshman point guard Eric Atkins boasts a team-best 2.97 assist-to-turnover ratio, which ranks seventh nationally and first in the BIG EAST. He is second on the team with 98 assists (3.5 apg).
Atkins has a 2.95 assist-to-turnover ratio in BIG EAST games, which also ranks first among all of the league's players.
Over the past nine games, Atkins has compiled 29 assists and just six turnovers in 185 minutes of play (a 4.8 assist-to-turnover ratio).
The rookie has dished out five-plus assists in a game nine times this season, including a career-high tying seven assists versus USF on Feb. 12.
Atkins has led the Irish in assists nine times this season.
He scored a career-high - and team-best - 15 points versus Marquette (Jan. 10).
PERFORMING IN THE POST
Notre Dame is 13-1 this season when senior forward Tyrone Nash scores at least 10 points.
Nash has led the Irish in assists in the past two games and eight times overall this season. He has registered five or more assists in a game six times this season, including a career-high seven versus Chicago State (Nov. 17) and Providence (Feb. 23). He had five assists on Saturday against Seton Hall.
Nash's career-high 78 assists (2.8 apg) rank third among all Notre Dame players this season. He also is third in rebound average (5.9) and boasts a team-high 71 offensive rebounds.
Nash has produced three double-doubles this season.
Sophomore forward Jack Cooley scored a career-high 18 points and hauled down a career-high tying eight rebounds on Feb. 12 at USF. Cooley made his first nine shots of the contest before missing his final attempt from the field.
Overall, Cooley had made 15 straight field goal attempts before the miss against the Bulls. Cooley made his final field goal attempt versus Rutgers (Feb. 6) and made all five of his tries against Louisville (Feb. 9).
Cooley gave the Irish a huge lift off the bench in the win over Louisville. He scored all 10 of his points in the first half. The Louisville and USF contests marked the first time Cooley ever has scored in double-figures in consecutive games. Cooley has four double-digit scoring efforts this season.
Cooley is an efficient 48-73 (.658) from the field this season. He is 24-37 (.649) from the floor in BIG EAST play.
ROLLING TO VICTORY ON THE ROAD
Notre Dame's 25-point victory (83-58) at DePaul on Feb. 3 was Notre Dame's second-largest road victory ever in BIG EAST play. The Irish won by 26 points (95-69) at Seton Hall during the 2007-08 season.
FIRST HALF FLURRY
Notre Dame opponents are averaging just 29.0 points in the first half of play this season, while the Irish are averaging 36.7 points during the first stanza.
Notre Dame held USF to just 17 first-half points on Feb 12. That marked the fourth time this season Notre Dame has held an opponent to under 20 points in the first half. The other times were against California (5 points), Wisconsin (19) and Cincinnati (19).
Notre Dame's 48 first-half points against Providence on Wednesday signified the 12th time this season (fourth in BIG EAST play) the Irish have netted at least 40 points in the first half of play.
Notre Dame is 18-1 this season when leading at the intermission. The only loss came at West Virginia (Feb. 19) as the Irish held a 27-26 halftime lead over the Mountaineers, yet fell 72-58.
In the first half of their five losses, the Irish have been outscored by just 12 points combined (159-147). Notre Dame has been outscored by 68 points (206-138) in the second half of its five setbacks.
Notre Dame has held 12 of its opponents to 40% or below shooting from the field. The Irish held California under 30% on Nov. 26.
On Saturday, the Irish held Seton Hall to just 30.4% (17-56) shooting from the floor. That matched the lowest shooting percentage for an Irish opponent in a BIG EAST game this season. Notre Dame also held USF to 30.4% (21-69) on Feb. 12.
Seton Hall's 48 points were the fewest scored by an Irish opponent in a BIG EAST game this season. It's the second time this season the Irish have held an opponent to under 50 points. Notre Dame held California to 44 points. Prior to the Seton Hall contest, the last time the Irish held a BIG EAST foe under 50 points was in a 50-45 win over Pittsburgh during the quarterfinals of last season's BIG EAST Tournament. The last time Notre Dame held a BIG EAST opponent under 50 during a regular-season game was a 61-48 victory over Georgetown during the 2003-04 campaign.
LIVING LARGE AT THE LINE
The Fighting Irish have 91 more made free throws than their opponents have attempts from the charity stripe. The Fighting Irish are 509-702 (.725) from the free throw line this season, which ranks fourth among all BIG EAST teams. Irish opponents are 298-418 (.713) from the line.
The Irish are 20-0 this season when making more free throws than their opponent.
The Irish have made 20 or more free throws in a game 13 times this season. Notre Dame made a season-high 30 free throws (on 43 attempts) versus Georgia, a double-overtime Irish victory.
Against Maine, Notre Dame shot a season-best 92.6% from the free throw line (25-27). The Fighting Irish also shot above 90% from the charity stripe against Stony Brook as they connected on 11 of 12 shots (91.7%).
HITTING THE GLASS
The Fighting Irish are 19-1 this season when out-rebounding their opponent.
Notre Dame boasts a +5.0 overall rebound margin this season, which ranks third in the BIG EAST. The Irish have a +7.3 margin in their 23 wins, while they are -5.6 in their five losses. The Fighting Irish have held the advantage on the glass in 19 of their 23 wins. Notre Dame has been out-rebounded in four of its five losses.
Senior forward Carleton Scott is averaging a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game. Tyrone Nash leads the team with 71 offensive rebounds.
DRAINING FROM DEEP
The Fighting Irish are 212-562 (.377) from three-point range this season. That mark ranks second among all BIG EAST teams. Notre Dame has hit 10 or more three pointers in a game five times this season (all wins). The Irish are averaging 7.6 made three-pointers per game.
The Irish are 185-460 (.402) from three-point range in their 23 wins and they are 27-102 (.265) in the five losses.
Notre Dame's season-high mark for made three-pointers was 12 versus both Chicago State (Nov. 17) and Maine (Nov. 22).
Ben Hansbrough is shooting at a team-best 42.0% clip (66-157) from beyond the arc this season.
Tim Abromaitis is shooting a team-best 45.8% (33-72) from three-point range in BIG EAST play. That mark ranks third among league players.
402 AND COUNTING
Heading into the Villanova contest, Notre Dame has made at least one three-pointer in 402 straight contests dating back to the 1998-99 campaign. The Fighting Irish have made at least one three pointer during every game of the Mike Brey era. The last time an Irish team failed to hit a three-pointer in a game was in a 101-70 loss to Connecticut at the Hartford Civic Center on Jan. 12, 1999. Notre Dame finished 0-7 from beyond the arc in that contest. In 2008-09, the Irish set a single-season three-point record with 319.
IRISH FUN FACT UNDER BREY
Notre Dame teams under Mike Brey have always ranked among the best teams in the nation and BIG EAST in assists and three-point shooting. In 11 seasons with Brey on the sidelines, Notre Dame is 72-9 when Irish teams have 20 or more assists and are 71-28 when making 10 or more three-pointers.
BEATING THE BEST
Five of Notre Dame's 12 BIG EAST wins have come against a ranked opponent. The Irish defeated #9/9 Georgetown 69-55 in the league opener. Notre Dame topped #8/9 Connecticut 73-70 and downed #25/- Cincinnati 66-58. The Irish upended #2/2 Pittsburgh 56-51 and #16/15 Louisville 89-79 in overtime.
TAKING DOWN A TOP-10 FOE
Notre Dame has defeated three top-10 teams this season. Most recently, the Irish won at No. 2/2 Pittsburgh, 56-51, on Jan. 24. Notre Dame opened BIG EAST play with a 69-55 triumph of No. 9/9 Georgetown (Dec. 29) and the Irish produced a 73-70 victory over No. 8/9 Connecticut (Jan. 4).
Prior to this season, the last time Notre Dame defeated three top-10 teams in the same season was during the 2008-09 campaign. That season, the Irish took down No. 6/7 Texas (81-80), No. 9/10 Georgetown (73-67) and No. 5/7 Louisville (90-57).
This season's wins over Georgetown and Connecticut marked the first time since the 2002-03 campaign that Notre Dame defeated two top-10 teams in a three-game span.
Prior to the wins over Georgetown and Connecticut, the last time Notre Dame recorded back-to-back home wins over top-10 teams was during the 1960-61 season when the Irish knocked off No. 7 DePaul (61-58 on Jan. 17, 1961) and No. 7 St. John's (64-63 on Feb. 2, 1961).
The Irish have been able to produce key comebacks en route to victory this season. Notre Dame is 5-3 this season when trailing at halftime.
On Saturday against Seton Hall, the Irish were down by 11 (25-14) late in the first half and trailed by three (27-24) at the intermission. Notre Dame out scored the Pirates by 15 (36-21) in the second half to register the 60-48 victory.
Notre Dame staged three comebacks during a five-game stretch of BIG EAST play to provide momentum that the team is still riding. The Fighting Irish were down by nine points (45-36) at halftime to Marquette (Jan. 22) and came back to win 80-75. Against Pittsburgh (Jan. 24), the Irish trailed by five points (28-23) at the intermission and prevailed 56-51. Notre Dame overcame a four-point (44-40) halftime deficit to defeat Louisville 89-79 in overtime (Feb. 9).
The Fighting Irish rebounded from a 12-point halftime deficit (37-25) to defeat Georgia in double-overtime, 89-83, at the Old Spice Classic (Nov. 25).
Arguably Notre Dame's top comeback of the season occurred during the title game of the Old Spice Classic. Notre Dame trailed Wisconsin 43-32 with 9:21 left in regulation, yet the Fighting Irish finished the game on a 26-8 run to claim the 58-51 victory. Included in that stretch was a 15-0 run for the Irish.
ICING THE GAME
Clutch free throw shooting has been key in three recent Notre Dame victories.
Rutgers (Feb. 6) trimmed the Irish lead to three (70-67) with 59 seconds left to play, yet Ben Hansbrough went 6-for-6 from the charity stripe down the stretch to help the Irish produce the 76-69 victory. Hansbrough is 55-65 (.846) from the free throw line in the final five minutes of regulation and overtime this season (see box on page 9).
After Marquette trimmed Notre Dame's lead to four (69-65) with 3:21 left in the game on Jan. 22, the Irish went 9-10 from the charity stripe en route to the 80-75 victory. Tyrone Nash went 4-4 during that stretch, while Hansbrough was 2-2 and Scott Martin connected on three of his four attempts.
Versus Cincinnati (Jan. 19), the Irish led by five (57-52) with 1:18 remaining. Notre Dame went 9-10 from the free throw line down the stretch to secure the 66-58 victory. Hansbrough went 5-6, while Tim Abromaitis and Eric Atkins both were 2-2.
Seniors Tim Abromaitis (F), Ben Hansbrough (G), Scott Martin (G), Tyrone Nash (F) and Carleton Scott (F) have combined for 134 of a possible 140 starts this season. Notre Dame is 19-3 when that quintet starts. Nash, Abromaitis and Hansbrough have started all 28 games this season, while Martin has 27 starts. Scott started the first 14 contests of the season before suffering a hamstring injury versus Syracuse (Jan. 1). He returned to the starting lineup on Jan. 22 versus Marquette. Scott has 23 starts this season. Notre Dame's game-by-game starters are listed on page 12 of this notes packet.
Tim Abromaitis, Ben Hansbrough and Tyrone Nash all have played in the past 63 contests. Nash and Hansbrough both have started all 63 of those contests. Overall, Nash has played in a team-best 77 straight contests. The last game he did not play in was at Cincinnati on Feb. 4, 2009.
A NEW ADDITION TO THE SWANAGAN FAMILY
Current Notre Dame coordinator of men's basketball operations, Harold Swanagan, who played for the Irish from 1998-2002, and his wife Andrea (also a 2002 Notre Dame graduate), welcomed their first child, a daughter, on Super Sunday (Feb. 6). Elena Marie Swanagan was born at 10:30 p.m. and weighed seven pounds and 11 ounces. Swanagan was not present on the bench earlier that day when Notre Dame defeated Rutgers 76-69 at home.
Notre Dame's win over then second-ranked Pittsburgh on Jan. 24, produced several noteworthy items as the Irish recorded their third win over a top-10 foe this season:
The win was the highest-ranked opponent a Notre Dame team under Mike Brey had beaten on the road in a true road game.
The victory was the first in a true road game over a top-five team for a Notre Dame team since a 75-70 win over No. 2 Connecticut on Jan. 2, 2000.
The win matched the highest-ranked opponent an Irish squad had beaten during the Brey era. On Dec. 8, 2002, Notre Dame defeated No. 2 Texas in the championship game of the BB&T Classic in Washington, D.C., 98-92.
Notre Dame had been winless (0-5) at the Petersen Events Center prior to victory and it marked just the 12th loss ever for a Pittsburgh team in 157 games at the PEC. The victory also snapped the Panthers' 20-game home win streak as Pittsburgh suffered just its 11th loss ever at the PEC in BIG EAST play.
It was the first win for an Irish team at Pittsburgh since a 56-53 victory on Jan. 12, 2002. It was Notre Dame's third straight victory over the Panthers, its longest win streak since the Irish joined the BIG EAST Conference in 1995-96.
The Irish held the Panthers to their lowest scoring output of the season (51 points) in their first BIG EAST loss of the 2010-11 campaign.
Ben Hansbrough outscored the Pittsburgh 13-12 in the final 9:22 of the contest as he netted 15 of his game-high 19 points in the second half.
LOOKING AT THE NUMBERS
Notre Dame has scored less than 60 points in its five losses this season. The Irish are 3-5 this season when scoring fewer than 60 points. The Irish are averaging 57.0 points per game in the five setbacks and 79.0 points in their 23 victories.
The Irish are surrendering 63.6 points per game in their wins and they are allowing 73.0 points per game in their losses.
Notre Dame is 29-7 (.806) in its last 36 games dating back to last season. Following a double-overtime loss to Louisville (91-89) in Freedom Hall on Feb. 17, 2010, the Irish won their final four regular-season games in 2009-10 (Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Connecticut and Marquette) and won two games in the BIG EAST Tournament (Seton Hall and Pittsburgh) before losing to West Virginia in the conference championship semifinals and to Old Dominion in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
BREY REACHES BIG EAST MILESTONE
Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey notched his 100th BIG EAST regular-season victory with the 73-70 win over Connecticut on Jan. 4. Brey is the sixth coach in BIG EAST Conference history with 100 regular-season league wins. Brey's Irish teams are 110-72 (.604) all-time in regular-season BIG EAST play.
Mike Brey is in his 11th season along the Irish sidelines. He is the third-longest tenured coach in the BIG EAST, behind only Jim Boeheim of Syracuse and Jim Calhoun of Connecticut. Brey stands sixth all-time in career BIG EAST victories (both regular-season and tournament) with his 116-82 (.586) mark. He is one of eight coaches in BIG EAST history to record 100 conference wins.
BIG EAST All-Time Winningest Coaches By Victories
(Includes conference regular-season and championship games)
1. Jim Boeheim, Syracuse 382-210 (.645)
2. Jim Calhoun, Connecticut 297-170 (.636)
3. John Thompson, Georgetown 232-123 (.654)
4. Lou Carnesecca, St. John's 139-80 (.635)
5. Rollie Massimino, Villanova 123-92 (.572)
6. Mike Brey, Notre Dame 116-82 (.586)
7. Jay Wright, Villanova 107-76 (.585)
Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh 107-43 (.713)
PASSING THE TEST
Notre Dame has recorded a perfect score of 100 percent in each of the last three Graduation Success Rate (GSR) figures released in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and is one of just 12 schools to earn a perfect 100 percent score in each of the last three years. The 11 other schools include Binghamton, Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, Colgate, Holy Cross, Davidson, Loyola of Maryland, North Carolina-Wilmington, Utah State, Wake Forest and Western Kentucky.
In the recent set of GSR scores released in the fall, Notre Dame had the highest percentage of sports with 100 percent scores (for the fifth time in six years) among the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision institutions, with a .863 figure (19 of 22).
This season and the 2006-07 campaign are the only two seasons during Notre Dame's BIG EAST era that the Irish suffered just one regular-season non-conference loss.
Notre Dame's loss to Kentucky on Dec. 8 was the latest calendar date the Irish had suffered their first setback of the season since the 1979-80 campaign. Notre Dame started that season 7-0 before suffering its first loss to Kentucky (86-80) on Dec. 29, 1979.
Notre Dame's 8-0 start this season was the fifth in program history and the best ever for the Irish under head coach Mike Brey.
OLD SPICE CHAMPIONS
Notre Dame won the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla. (Nov. 25-28) by capturing wins over Georgia (89-83 in 2ot), California (57-44) and Wisconsin (58-51). It marked the first three-game in-season tournament victory for the Fighting Irish since winning the 2001 Hawaii-Pacific Thanksgiving Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii
In the Old Spice Classic, the Irish held California and Wisconsin to five and 19 points, respectively, in the first half of play.
Notre Dame held California (16-61) and Wisconsin (20-57) to a combined 36-118 (.305) from the field during the final two games of the Old Spice Classic.
Notre Dame out-rebounded Wisconsin 43-28 in the title game of the tournament.
Notre Dame held a decisive free throw advantage in all three games of the tournament. The Irish made 20 more free throws than both Georgia (30-10) and California (26-6). Notre Dame made 16 more free throws (20-4) than Wisconsin in the title game.
Senior forward Tim Abromaitis was named the MVP of the Old Spice Classic as he averaged 14.0 ppg. and 8.7 rpg. during the three-game run. Fellow senior forward Carleton Scott also was named to the all-tournament team. Scott was the only Irish player to reach double figures in points during every game of the event.
BIG EAST TEAMS FIND SUCCESS IN PRESEASON TOURNAMENTS
Notre Dame won the Old Spice Classic and was one of six BIG EAST teams to come away with an in-season tournament title during the month of November.
Notre Dame - Old Spice Classic
Connecticut - EA Sports Maui Invitational
Pittsburgh - 2K Sports Classic
Syracuse - Legends Classic
Georgetown - Charleston Classic
St. John's - Great Alaska Shootout
Villanova - Preseason NIT Tip-Off
West Virginia - Puerto Rico Tip-Off
HANSBROUGH HITS 1,000 CAREER POINTS
Senior guard Ben Hansbrough posted 20 points in the season opener against Georgia Southern (Nov. 12). With his 12th point of the contest, Hansbrough reached the 1,000th point mark for his career that spans two playing seasons at Mississippi State (2006-08) and one at Notre Dame (2009-10).
Notre Dame has earned appearances in the postseason in each of the last 11 years, which marks the longest stretch in school history. The Irish have been to the NCAA Tournament on six 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 six times and NIT four times.
BIG EAST FORMULA FOR SUCCESS
Since his arrival at Notre Dame, head coach Mike Brey has led the Irish to a 110-72 (.604) record in BIG EAST regular-season games and a 6-10 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 116-82 (.586) against league foes. Brey's Irish teams have won 10 or more conference regular-season games in seven of his 11 seasons. Prior to his arrival at Notre Dame, Irish teams had just a 35-53 (.398) regular-season record from 1995-2000.
BIG EAST TURNAROUND
During head coach Mike Brey's tenure, Irish teams have only had two losing seasons in BIG EAST play - 6-10 in 2005-06 and 8-10 in 2008-09. Since the 2005-06 campaign when the Irish finished 6-10 after beginning the BIG EAST regular-season with a 1-8 record, Notre Dame has gone 60-33 (.645) over the last 93 regular-season contests. In addition to Notre Dame, only four other BIG EAST teams have had records of .500 or better eight or more times - Pittsburgh and Syracuse (nine times) and Notre Dame, Connecticut and Villanova (eight times).
106 YEARS AND STRONG
The 2010-11 campaign marks the 106th season of basketball at Notre Dame and the 16th season as a member of the BIG EAST Conference. Notre Dame teams have posted a 1697-925 record for a .647 winning percentage. In 15 seasons as a member of the BIG EAST, the Irish own a 145-125 (.537) record all-time in conference regular-season play.
Seniors Tim Abromaitis, Ben Hansbrough, Tyrone Nash and Carleton Scott will serve as captains during the 2010-11 season. All four are captains for the first time in their careers.
This year's Notre Dame roster features several players with some strong basketball bloodlines:
- Tim Abromaitis - His father, Jim, played basketball at the University of Connecticut (1975-80) and was drafted by the New Jersey Nets. His brother, Jason, played basketball at Yale (2003-07).
- Mike Broghammer - His uncle, Christian Laettner, played professional basketball for 13 seasons and was a member of the 1992 gold medal Dream Team. He played for Duke University (1988-92) and led the Blue Devils to national championships in 1991 and 1992.
- Joey Brooks - His father, Lott J. Brooks, III, played college basketball at Eckerd College (1974-78).
- Jerian Grant - His father, Harvey, played basketball at the University of Oklahoma (1986-88), and was the 12th pick overall in the 1988 NBA Draft and played from 1988-99 in the NBA. His uncle, Horace Grant, played at Clemson, and was the 10th overall pick in the NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls. He is the owner of four NBA championship rings. His older brother, Jerai, is a senior on the Clemson basketball team, while a younger brother, Jerami is a junior on the DeMatha basketball team.
- Ben Hansbrough - His brother, Tyler, played basketball at the University of North Carolina (2005-09). A three-time All-American, he was the 2008 National Player of the Year and led the Tar Heels to the 2009 national championship. Currently, he is in his second season with the Indiana Pacers, and was the 13th pick overall in the 2009 NBA Draft.
- Tom Knight - His father, Karl, played basketball at Bowdoin (1976-80).
Jerian Grant is the first Irish basketball player from DeMatha High School to attend Notre Dame during the Mike Brey era. Brey played and coached at DeMatha and also is the alma mater of assistant coach Rod Balanis. Former Irish players who also played at DeMatha include Bob Whitmore (1967-69), Sid Catlett (1969-71) and Adrian Dantley (1974-76).
IRISH INK ONE FOR 2011
Pat Connaughton, a 6-5, 195-pound swingman from Arlington, Mass., was the lone early-November 2011 signee for head coach Mike Brey. He is ranked 73rd nationally by Scout.com and 100th by ESPNU.
A four-year starter at St. John's Prep in Danvers, Mass., Connaughton averaged 24.0 points and 17.9 rebounds in 2009-10 as he led St. John's to one of the best seasons in program history as the squad finished with a 21-3 mark. In addition, his squad won the Catholic Conference championship. His team was ranked seventh in the final Massachusetts state poll after making the school's first appearance since 1974 in the Division 1 state finals.
BREY SERVING AS CHAIRMAN OF THE NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL RULES COMMITTEE
Mike Brey was elected chair of the 2010-11 NCAA Men's Basketball Rules Committee in May 2010 and is serving his fourth year on the rules committee.