NO. 2 SEED IRISH HEAD TO CHICAGO FOR NCAA TOURNAMENT
Notre Dame (26-6) will head to Chicago as the No. 2 seed in the Southwest Region for the 2011 NCAA Championship. The Fighting Irish will face No. 15 seed Akron (23-12), the Mid-American Conference postseason tournament champion, on Friday in the second round. Tip-off is slated for 1:40 p.m. (ET)/12:40 p.m. (CT) inside the United Center. The winner of the Notre Dame-Akron contest will face the winner of the Texas A&M-Florida State tilt on Sunday in the third round. The Southwest Regional will be held March 25 & 27 in San Antonio, Texas.
Notre Dame has gone 12-2 in its last 14 contests.
The Fighting Irish are making their 31st appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Notre Dame boasts an all-time record of 30-34 in the NCAA Championship. This is the second straight trip for the Irish and the seventh in 11 seasons under head coach Mike Brey. Brey has a 5-6 NCAA Tournament record during his Notre Dame tenure.
The No. 2 seed is the highest for Notre Dame since the Irish were the No. 2 seed in 1981. That season, Notre Dame defeated James Madison in a second-round game and then fell 51-50 to BYU in a regional semifinal in Atlanta.
FIGHTING IRISH AT THE UNITED CENTER
The Fighting Irish will only have to travel approximately 95 miles from the University of Notre Dame campus to compete in the NCAA Tournament's Southwest Region at the United Center in Chicago, Ill.
Notre Dame has never played an NCAA Tournament game at the United Center -- but the Irish are 2-1 in that facility. Notre Dame lost to DePaul 61-48 on Dec. 10,1994; defeated DePaul 82-55 on Dec. 1. 2001; and defeated Valparaiso 55-53 on Dec. 30, 2002.
IRISH AGAINST AKRON
Notre Dame is 2-0 all-time against Akron. The Irish and Zips last met during the 1995-96 season, a 65-54 Notre Dame victory. The first meeting occurred during the 1982-83 campaign. The Irish won that contest 80-45.
The Fighting Irish have never faced Texas A&M or Florida State. As a head coach, Mike Brey has never squared off against Akron, Texas A&M or Florida State.
A MEETING WITH THE MAC
Notre Dame is 53-17 all-time against teams currently in the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Notre Dame's last encounter with a MAC foe came against Northern Illinois during the 2007-08 season. The Irish won that contest 108-62. Notre Dame's last loss to a MAC opponent was a 69-68 setback to Central Michigan during the 2003-04 campaign.
BREY NO STRANGER TO NCAA TOURNAMENT
Mike Brey is no stranger to NCAA Tournament success. He has a 5-8 record in the NCAA Tournament as a head coach (5-6 at Notre Dame) and is 4-2 in first round games with the Irish (4-4 all-time). In Friday's matchup with Akron, he will be coaching in his 50th NCAA Tournament contest. In 15 coaching appearances (as either a head coach or assistant coach), he is 36-13 (.735) with six Final Four appearances and two national titles as an assistant coach. Brey reached the NCAA Tournament as an assistant at Duke from 1988-95. In that span, Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils posted a 31-5 mark that included Final Four berths in 1988, '89, '90, '91, '92 and '94. From 1988-92, Duke reached the Final Four in five consecutive seasons and compiled a 25-3 record, including back-to-back national titles in '91 and '92. As head coach at Delaware, he guided the Blue Hens to NCAA Tournament berths in 1998 and 1999.
IRISH IN THE BIG DANCE UNDER BREY
In 2010, the sixth-seeded Irish dropped a first-round South Region game 51-50 to #11 seed Old Dominion in New Orleans.
In 2008, the fifth-seeded Irish defeated #12 George Mason 68-50 in a first-round game in Denver, before losing a second-round contest 61-41 to #4 Washington State.
In 2007, the sixth-seeded Irish dropped a first-round Midwest Region game in Spokane to 11th-seeded Winthrop.
In 2003, the fifth-seeded Irish defeated Wisconsin-Milwaukee in an NCAA first-round game and fourth-seeded Illinois in a second-round matchup (both in Indianapolis) before falling in a West Regional semifinal to top-seeded Arizona in Anaheim, Calif.
In 2002, the eighth-seeded Irish men defeated Charlotte in the first round in Greenville, S.C., before falling to top-seeded Duke in the second round.
In 2001, sixth-seeded Notre Dame defeated Xavier in the first round in Kansas City, Mo., before dropping a second-round game to third-seeded Ole Miss.
IRISH AGAINST THE NCAA FIELD
Notre Dame faced 15 teams that earned a berth to the 2011 NCAA Championship. The Irish went 14-6 against those squads. Here is how the Fighting Irish faired against those teams based on seeds ...
BEATING THE BEST
Notre Dame is 8-3 against ranked foes this season. The Irish have defeated seven of the last eight ranked opponents they have faced. Notre Dame's seven regular-season victories over teams from the top-25 are a school record as are the eight ranked wins overall.
Notre Dame has earned appearances in the postseason in each of the last 12 years, which marks the longest stretch in school history. The Irish have been to the NCAA Tournament on seven 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 seven times and NIT four times.
IRISH HAUL IN CONFERENCE HARDWARE
Senior guard Ben Hansbrough was named the 2010-11 BIG EAST Player of the Year. He became the fourth player in program history to earn that distinction, joining Pat Garrity (1997), Troy Murphy (2000 & 2001) and Luke Harangody (2008).
Head coach Mike Brey was named the league's coach of the year for the third time in the last five seasons.
Senior forward Tim Abromaitis was named the BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second straight season.
MARTIN MAKES MOST OF FIRST BIG EAST TOURNAMENT
Scott Martin was named to the 2011 BIG EAST Championship All-Tournament Team as he averaged 16.0 points and 5.5 rebounds over the course of the two games in New York City.
Versus Louisville in the semifinals, Martin netted a career-high 21 points and hauled down eight rebounds. He also dished out three assists and had two steals in 44 minutes of play against the Cardinals.
Martin has registered double-figures in points 18 times this season. He notched his first career double-double versus Marquette (Jan. 10) as he tallied 10 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Martin has led the Irish in rebounding five times this season.
A SUPER SEASON
This season's 26 wins are the most during the Mike Brey era at Notre Dame (11 seasons). The previous high was 25 in 2007-08. The 26 victories tie the most in the modern era of Notre Dame basketball. The Irish were 26-3 in 1973-74. Notre Dame's highest win total ever was 33 (33-7) in 1908-09.
This year's 14 regular-season BIG EAST victories also tie the program standard. The Fighting Irish went 14-4 in BIG EAST play in 2007-08.
Notre Dame's 15 BIG EAST wins (14 regular season, 1 tournament) this season are the most in program history (combined regular season and tournament.
WHAT A RUN
Notre Dame has posted a 95-41 (.699) record over the past four seasons. The 95 wins are the most victories in program history over a four-year span. The previous standard was 93 from when the Irish went 93-43 from 2006-10. The past four seasons also has produced the most regular-season BIG EAST victories (46) in school history. The Irish have gone 46-26 in BIG EAST regular-season play over the past four seasons.
TAKING CARE OF THE CLOSE ONES
Notre Dame is 6-0 this season in games decided by five points or less. Five of those contests occurred during BIG EAST play.
Notre Dame is 5-4 on the road this season. The five road wins, which all occurred in BIG EAST play, are the most for the Irish since the 2007-08 campaign when that squad went 5-4 away from home. The Fighting Irish are 4-2 at neutral sites this season.
BURRYING THE BEARCATS
Notre Dame's 38-point win (89-51) over Cincinnati in the BIG EAST quarterfinals was the second-largest margin of victory in the history of the BIG EAST Championship. It was second only to a 96-55 (41 pts.) Syracuse win over Boston College on March 3, 1999.
Notre Dame's 89 points in its quarterfinal victory matched its largest output in a BIG EAST Tournament game. The Irish also scored 89 in an 89-83 win over Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the 2007 tournament.
The Fighting Irish shot 56.1% (32-57) from the field against Cincinnati. That is the highest percentage for the Irish in a BIG EAST Tournament game. The 56.1% matched a season-best total for the Irish against a BIG EAST opponent. Notre Dame also went 32-57 from the field against Providence (Feb. 23).
Notre Dame's 32 made field goals against Cincinnati were a program record for a BIG EAST Tournament game. The previous high was 29 on four occasions.
The Irish outscored Cincinnati 49-21 during the second half. Notre Dame did not commit a second-half turnover (and just five for the entire game) and the Irish shot 64.3% (18-28) from the field in the stanza. Notre Dame held Cincinnati to a 26.9% (7-26) mark in the second half.
Notre Dame has shot 50% or above from the floor 12 times this season, including three times in the past four games.
Against Villanova (Feb. 28), the Irish were 29-52 (.558) from the floor. Notre Dame shot a blistering 62.5% from three-point range (20-32) versus the Wildcats. That was the highest three-point shooting percentage in a BIG EAST game in school history.
Notre Dame has scored 90-plus points six times this season. Notre Dame's 94 points in a 94-93 win at Providence (Feb. 23) 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.
IRISH SENSATIONAL ON SENIOR NIGHT
The 93-72 win over Villanova on Feb. 28 provided several noteworthy accomplishments for the Fighting Irish ...
Notre Dame made a school-record 20 three-pointers (20-32). The previous high was 19 against South Dakota on Dec. 2, 2008. The 20 treys also matched a BIG EAST record. West Virginia made 20 against Marquette on Jan. 14, 2006.
Tim Abromaitis tied the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center record with nine made three-pointers (9-13). Kyle McAlarney netted nine three-pointers on Feb. 24, 2008 against Syracuse and then again on Nov. 30, 2008 against Furman. Ryan Ayers also hit nine three-pointers on Dec. 2, 2008 versus South Dakota.
Hansbrough and Tyrone Nash both registered double-doubles in their final games inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. Hansbrough dished out a career-high tying 10 assists to go along with 30 points to produce his third career double-double (first of the season). Nash recorded his fourth double-double of the season - and fifth of his career - with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Hansbrough became the first Irish player to score 30-plus points and dish off 10-plus assists in a game since Chris Thomas in 2001-02 (his freshman season) when he did it against Rutgers (32 pts., 11 asts.) and Miami (32 pts., 12 asts.).
PURCELL PROVES KIND TO IRISH
Notre Dame is the only BIG EAST team that did not lose at home in 2010-11.
The Fighting Irish concluded their 2010-11 home slate with a perfect 17-0 mark. It's the third undefeated season at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center in the last five years and the fifth overall for Notre Dame since the building opened at the start of the 1968-69 campaign. The other perfect home seasons occurred in: 1973-74 (15-0), 1985-86 (15-0), 2006-07 (18-0) and 2007-08 (17-0).
The Irish have won 19 straight games overall at home.
Over the last five seasons, Notre Dame is 84-6 (.933) overall at Purcell Pavilion and 40-5 (.889) in BIG EAST play.
Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis both scored 30 points in the 93-72 triumph of Villanova (Feb. 28). They accounted for 16 of Notre Dame's school-record 20 made three-pointers (Abromaitis 9, Hansbrough 7) in the contest.
In the 60-48 win over Seton Hall on Feb. 26, Abromaitis netted 22 points, while Hansbrough had 21. Hansbrough (32) and Abromaitis (28) combined for 60 of Notre Dame's 94 points in the win at Providence on Feb. 23.
Abromaitis and Hansbrough have both scored 20-plus points in the same game five times this season (four times in BIG EAST play).
Hansbrough has reached double-figures in points a team-high 30 times this season (out of 32 games), while Abromaitis has netted double-digits 27 times.
Hansbrough has led the Irish in scoring a team-best 19 times this season, while Abromaitis has done so on nine occasions.
Hansbrough has scored 20-plus points a team-best 15 times this season, while Abromaitis has done so on 11 occasions.
HANSBROUGH NAMED SECOND TEAM ALL-AMERICAN BY USBWA
Ben Hansbrough was a second team All-America selection by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). It marks the third straight year Notre Dame has had a player named to one of the two teams.
He also is one of 20 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award that includes three other BIG EAST players (Marshon Brooks-Providence; Dwight Hardy-St. John's and Kemba Walker-Connecticut).
HANSBROUGH STAYING HOT
Over the past 13 games, Ben Hansbrough is averaging 22.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists. He is shooting 54.2% (96-177) from the floor during those 13 contests. The Irish are 11-2 in that stretch.
Hansbrough netted a career-high 32 points on Feb. 23 at Providence. He deposited 30 against Villanova (Feb. 28).
He currently has a career-high 15-game double-figure scoring streak. That's the longest double-digit scoring streak for the Irish this season.
Hansbrough made a career-high seven three-pointers (on 10 attempts) against Villanova (Feb. 28). He also matched a career-high total with 10 assists versus the Wildcats to notch his first double-double of the season (third of his career).
HANSBROUGH HELPS IN MANY WAYS
For the season, Ben Hansbrough is averaging a career-best - and team-high - 18.5 points per game. Hansbrough has a team-best 137 assists (4.3 apg) and a team-high 41 steals (1.3 spg). He also is averaging a team-high 35.2 minutes played per game.
He averaged 20.7 points per game in BIG EAST play.
Hansbrough has led the Irish in scoring in 12 of the past 15 games and a team-best 19 times this season.
He has made at least five three-pointers in a game seven times this season.
Hansbrough has notched at least five assists in a game 14 times this season.
He is shooting 81.4% (140-172) from the free throw line this season.
HANSBROUGH HITS 1,000-POINT MARK AT NOTRE DAME
With his second point of the game against Louisville in the BIG EAST Tournament, Ben Hansbrough became the 52nd player in Notre Dame history to score 1,000 points. Hansbrough has netted 1,011 points over the course of 67 games (15.1 ppg) during his two seasons with the Irish.
Hansbrough scored his 1,000th career point overall in the season opener against Georgia Southern. He has 1,580 career points combined from his two seasons at Mississippi State and two campaigns with the Irish.
ABROMAITIS NETS 1,000TH POINT
Tim Abromaitis netted his 1,000th career point on Feb. 26 versus Seton Hall. He was the 51st player in Notre Dame history to reach that milestone.
Abromaitis has a 13.6 scoring average in 79 career outings. After scoring just 20 points during his freshman season in 2007-08 and sitting out the 2008-09 campaign, Abromaitis has scored 1,054 points over the course of the last 67 games for a 15.7 scoring average.
A IS FOR ABROMAITIS
Tim Abromaitis has scored in double-figures in 10 of the past 11 games and 27 times overall this season (out of 32 games).
Abromaitis scored a season-high 30 points against Villanova (Feb. 28). That was his third-career 30-plus point game. He tied the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center record with a career-high nine made three-pointers (on 13 attempts) versus Villanova.
Abromaitis has netted 20-plus points in a game 11 times this season (five times in BIG EAST play).
Abromaitis' point (15.3) and rebound (6.1) averages rank second on the team.
He has two double-doubles this season (Chicago State & UMBC).
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.
SCOTT PROVIDES A SPARK
Notre Dame is 24-4 this season when Carleton Scott has played and the Irish are 12-2 since he's returned from a hamstring injury.
Scott had to leave the Syracuse contest (Jan. 1), a 70-58 loss, in the second half after suffering the 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. He 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.
GOOD SHOWINGS FOR SCOTT
Senior forward Carleton Scott produced two solid games during the BIG EAST Tournament. Against Cincinnati in the quarterfinals, he registered 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and a career-high tying four blocked shots. In the semifinals versus Louisville, Scott scored 10 points and grabbed seven boards.
Despite missing four games earlier this season with a hamstring injury, Scott has been one of Notre Dame's top performers this season. Scott has scored in double-figures 20 times this season (out of 28 games played).
Scott has a team-high seven double-doubles this season and he has hauled down 10 or more rebounds in a game nine times this season.
Scott's five made three-pointers at Pittsburgh (Jan. 24) were a career-high total. He is shooting 37.5% (45-120) from three-point range this season.
He netted a career-high 23 points versus Gonzaga on Dec. 11.
Scott is shooting a team-best 88.3% (53-60) from the free throw line this season. He produced a 92.0% (23-25) mark from the charity stripe in BIG EAST play.
Scott's 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 - 50 blocked shots this season (1.8 per game).
Scott has blocked at least two shots in nine of the last 11 games and 18 times overall this season. He has swatted three or more shots in a game eight times this season. Scott tied a career-high total with a season-high four blocked shots against Indiana State (Nov. 30) and Cincinnati (March 10).
IRISH AMONG NATION'S BEST IN PROTECTING THE BASKETBALL
Notre Dame's 1.56 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks third nationally. The Irish have registered 535 assists on their 803 made field goals this season (.666). The Fighting Irish average just 10.7 turnovers per game, which is the 13th-best mark in the country.
Notre Dame has notched at least 20 assists in a game 10 times this season. The Irish had a season-high 29 assists (on 34 made field goals) versus Chicago State (Nov. 17). Notre Dame is 10th nationally in assists per game (16.7).
Senior guard Ben Hansbrough leads the Irish with 137 assists (4.3 apg). Freshman point guard Eric Atkins is second with 104 (3.3 apg). Atkins has a team-best 2.67 assist-to-turnover ratio, which ranks 17th nationally.
Notre Dame committed a season-low five turnovers against Cincinnati in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship. It was the first time Notre Dame had five turnovers or less in a game since the Irish had two against DePaul on Jan. 23, 2010. The Irish did not commit a turnover in the second half of the Cincinnati contest. The Irish have had fewer than 10 turnovers in a game 11 times this season.
ROOKIE HANDLING THE ROCK
Freshman point guard Eric Atkins boasts a team-best 2.67 assist-to-turnover ratio. He ranks 17th nationally in that category. He is second on the team with 104 assists (3.3 apg).
Atkins had a 2.73 assist-to-turnover ratio in BIG EAST regular-season games, which ranked first among all of the league's players.
The rookie has dished out five-plus assists in a game nine times this season, including a career-high seven against St. John's (Jan. 16) and USF (Feb. 12).
Atkins has led the Irish in assists nine times this season.
PERFORMING IN THE POST
Notre Dame is 15-2 this season when senior forward Tyrone Nash scores at least 10 points.
Nash has led the Irish in assists eight times 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).
Nash's career-high 85 assists (2.7 apg) rank third among all Notre Dame players this season. He also is third in rebound average with a 5.9 mark and boasts a team-high 79 offensive rebounds.
Nash has produced four double-doubles this season.
CONTRIBUTIONS FROM COOLEY
Sophomore forward Jack Cooley is an efficient 53-81 (.654) from the field this season.
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 on Feb. 9. 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.
DRAINING FROM DEEP
The Fighting Irish are 259-661 (.392) from three-point range this season. That percentage ranks 16th nationally. Notre Dame has hit 10 or more three pointers in a game seven times this season (all wins), including a school-record 20 treys against Villanova (Feb. 28). The Irish are averaging 8.1 made three-pointers per game, which is the 22nd-best mark in the country.
The Irish are 224-535 (.419) from three-point range in their 26 wins and they are 35-126 (.278) in the six losses.
Ben Hansbrough is shooting at a team-best 44.1% clip (82-186) from beyond the arc this season. That mark ranks 12th nationally. Hansbrough is shooting 42.8% (149-348) from three-point range during his Notre Dame career. That percentage currently ranks third in Irish history (see page 17).
Tim Abromaitis tied a Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center record with a career-high nine made three-pointers (on 13 attempts) against Villanova (Feb. 28). Hansbrough deposited a career-high seven treys (on 10 attempts) versus Villanova.
406 AND COUNTING
Heading into the NCAA Tournament, Notre Dame has made at least one three-pointer in 406 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 74-9 when Irish teams have 20 or more assists and are 73-28 when making 10 or more three-pointers.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
Notre Dame averaged 82.1 points per game in its 17 home games this season, while the Irish averaged 67.6 points in their nine true road games (all BIG EAST contests). Notre Dame averaged 75.8 points per game in its nine BIG EAST home games.
The Irish eclipsed the 80-point mark at home 10 times this season (three times in BIG EAST play).
Notre Dame is averaging 71.3 points per game in its six neutral site contests.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
The Irish have had at least four players reach double-figures in points in nine of the past 10 games. Notre Dame has had at least four double-figure scorers in 15 games this season. The Fighting Irish are 14-1 in those contests.
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).
Notre Dame has had at least five players reach double-digits in the same contest seven times (see box on left).
Seven 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 19 times, including one tie with Tim Abromaitis, who has led the Irish in points on eight 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, Scott Martin and Tyrone Nash have led the Irish in scoring once each.
With his career-high 21 points against Louisville in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship, Scott Martin became the fourth Notre Dame player to score 20 or more points in a game this season. Ben Hansbrough has done so 15 times, while Tim Abromaitis has scored 20-plus points 11 times. Carleton Scott has accomplished the feat twice this season.
FIRST HALF FLURRY
Notre Dame opponents are averaging just 29.3 points in the first half of play this season, while the Irish are averaging 37.3 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 46 first-half points against Louisville during the BIG EAST Tournament signified the 15th time this season the Irish have netted at least 40 points in the first half of play.
Notre Dame is 20-2 this season when leading at the intermission. The losses were to West Virginia (27-26 halftime lead) on Feb. 19 and Louisville (46-32) on March 11.
Notre Dame has been outscored by 88 points (257-169; 14.7 average) in the second half of its six setbacks.
Notre Dame has held 14 of its opponents to 40% or below shooting from the field. The Irish held California under 30% on Nov. 26. The Irish held both Cincinnati (32.8%) and Louisville (38.4%) under 40% during the BIG EAST Tournament.
o The Irish held Seton Hall (Feb. 26) 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 (Feb. 12) to 30.4% (21-69).
Seton Hall's 48 points were the fewest scored by an Irish opponent in a BIG EAST game this season. It was the second time this season the Irish have held an opponent to under 50 points. Notre Dame held California to 44 points.
LIVING LARGE AT THE LINE
The Fighting Irish have 87 more made free throws than their opponents have attempts from the charity stripe. The Fighting Irish are 567-782 (.725) from the free throw line this season. Irish opponents are 342-480 (.713) from the line.
The Irish are 22-0 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, an 89-83 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 22-1 this season when out-rebounding their opponent.
Notre Dame boasts a +4.5 overall rebound margin this season. The Irish have a +7.1 margin in their 26 wins, while they are -7.0 in their six losses. Notre Dame has been out-rebounded in five of its six losses.
Senior forward Carleton Scott is averaging a team-high 7.1 rebounds per game. Tyrone Nash leads the team with 79 offensive rebounds.
The Irish have been able to produce key comebacks en route to victory this season. Notre Dame is 6-3 this season when trailing at halftime.
At Connecticut on March 5, Notre Dame overturned a 36-33 halftime deficit to produce a 70-67 victory. The Fighting Irish trailed the Huskies by five (65-60) with 4:24 left in the contest, but finished the game on a 10-2 run to notch the win.
Against Seton Hall (Feb. 26), 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 halftime deficit (44-40) 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.
Seniors Tim Abromaitis (F), Ben Hansbrough (G), Scott Martin (G), Tyrone Nash (F) and Carleton Scott (F) have combined for 154 of a possible 160 starts this season. Notre Dame is 22-4 when that quintet starts. Nash, Abromaitis and Hansbrough have started all 32 games this season, while Martin has 31 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 27 starts this season. (Notre Dame's game-by-game starters are listed on page 13 of this notes packet).
Tim Abromaitis, Ben Hansbrough and Tyrone Nash have played in all 67 games over the past two seasons. Nash and Hansbrough both have started all 67 of those contests. Overall, Nash has played in a team-best 82 straight contests. The last game he did not play in was at Cincinnati on Feb. 4, 2009.
TAKING DOWN A TOP-10 FOE
Notre Dame has defeated three top-10 teams this season. Most recently, the Irish won at #2/2 Pittsburgh, 56-51, on Jan. 24. Notre Dame opened BIG EAST play with a 69-55 triumph of #9/9 Georgetown (Dec. 29) and the Irish produced a 73-70 victory over #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 #6/7 Texas (81-80), #9/10 Georgetown (73-67) and #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 #7 DePaul (61-58 on Jan. 17, 1961) and #7 St. John's (64-63 on Feb. 2, 1961).
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 Notre Dame 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 five of its six losses this season. The Irish are 3-5 this season when scoring fewer than 60 points. The Irish are averaging 60.3 points per game in the six setbacks and 79.6 points in their 26 victories.
The Irish are surrendering 63.5 points per game in their wins and they are allowing 74.7 points per game in their losses.
A SUCCESSFUL STRETCH
Notre Dame is 32-8 (.800) in its last 40 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 112-72 (.609) 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 119-83 (.589) 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)
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 FORMULA FOR SUCCESS
Since his arrival at Notre Dame, head coach Mike Brey has led the Irish to a 112-72 (.609) record in BIG EAST regular-season games and a 7-11 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 119-83 (.589) 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 62-33 (.653) over the last 95 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 1700-926 record for a .647 winning percentage. In 15 seasons as a member of the BIG EAST, the Irish own a 147-125 (.540) record all-time in conference regular-season play.
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.