March 10, 2013
2013 BIG EAST Championship
Madison Square Garden (19,786)
New York, N.Y.
Sean McDonough (play-by-play)
Jay Bilas (analyst)
Bill Raftery (analyst)
Andy Katz (sideline reporter)
Broadcast on UND.com (free)
Jack Nolan (play-by-play)
Jordan Cornette (analyst)
Gametracker on UND.com
#6 SEED FIGHTING IRISH HEAD TO NEW YORK CITY FOR BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP
The Last Meeting
January 19, 2013
No. 20 Irish Outlast Rutgers, 69-66
Jack Cooley had 19 points, 10 rebounds and blocked a shot with 2 seconds left to help No. 20 Notre Dame hang on for a 69-66 win over Rutgers on Saturday night, ending a two-game losing streak for the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame (23-8, 11-7) is the No. 6 seed for the 2013 BIG EAST Championship and following a first-round bye, the Irish will face either No. 11 seed Rutgers or No. 14 seed DePaul at 9 p.m. (ET) Wednesday inside Madison Square Garden.
The Fighting Irish finished tied with Syracuse for fifth place in the BIG EAST regular-season standings.
Wednesday's game can be seen on ESPN2 with Sean McDonough (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (analyst), Bill Raftery (analyst) and Andy Katz (sideline) calling the action. Every BIG EAST Championship game will be broadcast by the ESPN family of networks.
Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Jordan Cornette
(analyst) will be calling the action for the Notre Dame Basketball Radio Network and that broadcast can be heard for free on UND.com (full affiliate listings on Pg. 5).
The winner of Wednesday's second-round showdown between Notre Dame and Rutgers/DePaul will take on No. 3 seed Marquette Thursday in the quarterfinals. That contest is slated for 9 p.m. (ET) and can be seen on ESPN.
NOTRE DAME IN THE BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP
Notre Dame is 9-17 all-time in the BIG EAST Championship, including an 8-12 mark under head coach Mike Brey. Notre Dame's top BIG EAST Championship finishes were semifinal appearances in 2002, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012 (all under Brey).
Notre Dame is the only BIG EAST team to advance to the league semifinals in each of the last three seasons. The Irish are the first team since Pittsburgh (2006-08) to earn three consecutive berths in the semifinals.
The Fighting Irish have won at least one BIG EAST Championship game in each of the last four seasons. That is a program-best streak. Notre Dame is 8-9 all-time in its first game of BIG EAST Championship play.
Last season, Notre Dame was the tournament's No. 3 seed and earned a double-bye. The Irish defeated sixth-seeded USF, 57-53 in overtime, in the quarterfinals. Notre Dame fell to Louisville, 64-50, in the semifinals.
This is the second time Notre Dame has been the No. 6 seed in the BIG EAST Championship. In 2005, the sixth-seeded Fighting Irish fell to No. 11 seed Rutgers, 72-65, in the first round.
FIGHTING IRISH IN THE GARDEN
Notre Dame owns a 56-47 (.544) record all-time when playing inside Madison Square Garden. The Irish fell to St. John's, 67-63, earlier this season inside MSG.
The Irish went 1-2 inside Madison Square Garden last season. Notre Dame fell to St. John's (61-58) during the regular season and topped USF (57-53 in OT) in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship before dropping a 64-50 decision to Louisville in the semifinals.
Notre Dame swept the season series with DePaul. The Irish won at DePaul, 79-71 in overtime, on Feb. 2 and then topped the Blue Demons, 82-78 in overtime, on Feb. 13 inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
The Fighting Irish won the season's lone meeting with Rutgers, 69-66, on Jan. 19 inside Purcell Pavilion.
The Irish have never faced DePaul in the BIG EAST Championship. Notre Dame is 2-1 against Rutgers in the league tournament.
COOLEY AND GRANT EARN BIG EAST ACCOLADES
Fighting Irish senior forward Jack Cooley was named First Team All-BIG EAST, while Notre Dame junior guard Jerian Grant was a second-team all-conference pick, when the league announced the teams on Sunday.
This is the second all-league selection for Cooley, who was on the second team last season in addition to earning the BIG EAST Most Improved Player Award. Grant was on the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team last season.
Cooley was on the league's 2012-13 preseason first team, while Grant was a preseason honorable mention selection this year.
CLOSING WELL IN CONFERENCE PLAY
Over the last seven seasons, Notre Dame has gone 26-9 (.743) in its final five games of the BIG EAST regular-season slate. The Irish went 3-2 in their final five games of this year's league schedule.
QUITE A CLASS
Notre Dame's current senior class needs two more victories to become the program's all-time winningest class. The group already has compiled the most BIG EAST 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
2009-13: 95-39 overall/48-24 BIG EAST
IRISH ON UNPRECEDENTED RUN IN BIG EAST PLAY
Notre Dame has registered its fourth straight 10-win season in BIG EAST play. It's the first time in program history the Irish have compiled four straight 10-win seasons in the BIG EAST. Notre Dame has won 10 or more league games nine times in 13 seasons under head coach Mike Brey.
Notre Dame, Louisville and Syracuse are the only BIG EAST squads to win 10 or more league games in each of the last four seasons.
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, 54-3 (17-1 this season) when outrebounding its opponent and 55-5 (18-1 this season) when leading at halftime.
The Fighting Irish are 4-3 against ranked teams this season. Over the last four seasons, Notre Dame is 21-15 (.583) against teams ranked in the Associated Press top-25 poll, including a 12-2 mark at home.
Notre Dame is 4-2 in its last six showdowns with a team ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll. The Irish are 17-25 against teams ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll under head coach Mike Brey.
BIG EAST UPS AND DOWNS
Notre Dame averaged 73.6 points-per-game in its 11 BIG EAST victories, while the Irish averaged just 55.7 points in their seven league losses. The Fighting Irish shot 47.0% from the field in the victories and 39.4% in the setbacks. From three-point range, Notre Dame shot 42.6% in the wins and 24.1% in the defeats.
The Irish were +5.8 in rebounds in the wins and -3.7 in the losses.
Notre Dame has held three of its last five opponents under 50 points (Pittsburgh 42, Cincinnati 41, St. John's 40). The Irish limited those three teams to 32.1% (50-156) from the field, including 9.1% (3-33) from three-point range.
The 40 points from St. John's in last Tuesday's 66-40 Irish victory were the fewest ever scored by a Notre Dame opponent in BIG EAST play (regular season or tournament). The previous low was 41 by Cincinnati on Feb. 24 and prior to that it was 42 by Pittsburgh on Feb. 18 and Seton Hall last season (Jan. 25, 2012). The output from St. John's was the lowest for any Irish opponent since Monmouth had 33 on Nov. 16, 2007 (76-33).
The combined 83 points from Pittsburgh and Cincinnati were the fewest ever allowed by the Irish in consecutive BIG EAST games.
St. John's shot 30.4% (17-56) from the field. That is the lowest shooting percentage for any Irish opponent this season.
CLEANING THE GLASS
Notre Dame has a +43 rebound advantage in its last four games. Notre Dame is 17-1 this season when outrebounding its opponent.
The Irish grabbed 15 more rebounds (40-25) than Pittsburgh in a 51-42 win on Feb. 18 and then outrebounded Cincinnati by 16 (43-27) in a 62-41 victory on Feb. 24. Notre Dame was +11 (36-25) against Marquette and +2 (36-34) versus St. John's. Louisville outrebounded the Irish by one (32-31) on Saturday.
GRANT GETTING IT DONE
Junior guard Jerian Grant scored 21 points in back-to-back games against Marquette (March 2) and St. John's (March 5). It was the first time in his career that he netted 20 or more points in consecutive games. Grant has tallied 20 or more points four times this season (three times in BIG EAST play). He has scored 20 or more points eight times in his career.
He made a career-high five three-pointers (on six attempts) against St. John's.
Grant scored in double-figures in 15 of 18 BIG EAST games this season. He averaged a team-best 14.2 points per game in league play. Grant has posted a team-high point total in seven of the last nine games.
Grant's 5.9 assist-per-game average in BIG EAST contests ranked second in the conference.
Senior forward Jack Cooley is fourth nationally with 19 double-doubles this season (10 in BIG EAST play). He has 32 career double-doubles, which all have occurred in the last two seasons.
Cooley 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 fourth nationally in double-doubles (19), tied for sixth in rebounds per game (10.6) and eighth in field-goal percentage (.582).
In BIG EAST play, Cooley is second in rebounding (10.1) and first in offensive rebounds per game (3.7). He is fourth in field-goal percentage (.540).
Cooley has scored in double-figures in 27 of 31 games this season (15 of 18 BIG EAST games). He has grabbed 10 or more rebounds 20 times this season (11 times in league play). Cooley has hauled down 15 or more rebounds in a game three times this season.
Cooley is ninth in the BIG EAST (all games) in blocked shots per game this season (1.3).
Notre Dame ranks first nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.57) and the Irish are third nationally in assists per game (17.5).
The Fighting Irish rank 24th nationally in fewest turnovers per game (11.1). 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 67.2% 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).
Notre Dame is shooting 47.0% from the floor this season. That figure ranks 24th nationally and it is second among all BIG EAST squads.
The Irish are 11-0 this season when they shoot 50% or above from the floor.
DRAINING FROM DEEP
The Irish lead the BIG EAST (all games) in three-point shooting percentage (.369). Notre Dame shot 35.5% from beyond the arc in BIG EAST play. That is tied for the fourth-best percentage in the conference.
Notre Dame is averaging 6.5 made three-pointers per game this season (6.0 in BIG EAST play).
ATKINS ASSISTING THE IRISH EFFORT
Junior point guard Eric Atkins led the BIG EAST in three-point shooting percentage (.449) during the league's regular season.
Atkins is 12th nationally and second in the BIG EAST (all games) in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.7).
Atkins is 19th nationally and third in the BIG EAST (all games) with a 5.9 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.
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 Feb. 9. Atkins led the BIG EAST by averaging 39.9 minutes per game in league play. Atkins played 40 or more minutes in seven BIG EAST games this season.
Junior point guard Eric Atkins is third in the BIG EAST (19th nationally) in assists per game (5.9), while fellow junior guard Jerian Grant is fifth in the league (T-32nd 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 (2.7), while Grant is seventh (2.0).
In BIG EAST play, Atkins is first minutes played per game (39.9) and Grant is tied for fourth (38.2).
PLAYING WELL IN PURCELL
The Fighting Irish are 117-9 in their last 126 games played at home. That .929 home winning percentage over the course of the last seven seasons ranks second nationally. Kansas is first with a .960 mark.
Notre Dame is 52-3 (.945) in its last 55 home games.
AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT
Junior point guard Eric Atkins had 130 assists and a 1.83 assist-to-turnover ratio last season. He currently has 183 assists and a 2.73 assist-to-turnover ratio this season.
Atkins shot 39.4% from the field last season and is currently shooting at a 45.3% clip. He has improved his three-point shooting from 37.5% last season to a current mark of 43.0%.
Sophomore Pat Connaughton (G/F) had 30 assists as a freshman and has dished out 70 assists this season. He had a 1.25 assist-to-turnover ratio last season, but has improved that to 2.50 this season.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Seven different Fighting Irish players have posted a team-high point total this season.
Nine different Irish players (Atkins, Auguste, Biedscheid, Connaughton, Cooley, Grant, Knight, Martin, Sherman) have notched a double-digit scoring effort this season.
Five different Notre Dame players - Eric Atkins, Jack Cooley, Jerian Grant, Scott Martin and Garrick Sherman - have scored 20 or more points in a game 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 NOTCHES ANOTHER 20-WIN CAMPAIGN
The Irish have recorded 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.
BREY FOURTH ON BIG EAST WINS LIST
The five-overtime win over Louisville on Feb. 9 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 144-96 (.600) BIG EAST record.
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.
Mike Brey NAMED TO NORTHWESTERN STATE'S "FAB 50" PLAYERS OF THE MODERN ERA
Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey has been named to Northwestern State University's (La.) "Fab 50" players from the modern era. The list covers NSU's NCAA Division I history beginning in 1976-77. Brey played three seasons at NSU (1977-80). He ranks eighth on NSU's career assists list with 311. Brey played his final collegiate season at George Washington University.
IRISH HAVE OVERTIME EDGE
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.
COOLEY A NAISMITH CANDIDATE AND ON WOODEN AWARD MIDSEASON TOP 25 LIST
Senior forward Jack Cooley is one of 30 candidates named by the Atlanta Tipoff Club to the 2013 Naismith Men's College Player of the Year award list. The top 30 candidates for the award, which is presented by AT&T, were selected by the Atlanta Tipoff's Club Board of Selectors and bases its criteria on player performances to date during the 2013 men's college basketball campaign. In late March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will narrow down the list to four finalists and the winner will be named on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Ga. at the NCAA Men's Final Four.
Cooley also 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.
Notre Dame is 6-1 this season when donning gold jerseys. The Irish are 13-2 when wearing white uniforms and 1-3 when playing in blue jerseys.
The Fighting Irish are 3-2 this season when wearing the black uniforms. The Irish are 13-14 all-time in black. Notre Dame first wore black jerseys during the 2005-06 season.
MARTIN OUT FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON
Scott Martin (GS/G) will miss the remainder of the season due to ongoing issues with his left knee. He started all 18 games he played this season. He has missed the last 12 contests. The Irish have gone 8-4 in those games.
Martin averaged 7.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game this season. He shot 46.3% from three-point range this season after shooting 26.1% from distance last season.
Martin 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.
BIG EAST BEASTS
Notre Dame is 42-16 (.724) over its last 58 BIG EAST regular-season contests.
The Irish have gone 81-43 (.653) in BIG EAST regular-season play over the past seven seasons. That is tied for the fourth-best mark in the league.
Notre Dame has gone 54-8 (.871) 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 26-3 in their last 29 BIG EAST home contests.
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.
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.