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    Irish And Cardinals Set For Another Semifinal Showdown

    FIGHTING IRISH Pat Connaughton is 12-of-18 from three-point range in this season's BIG EAST Championship.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Pat Connaughton is 12-of-18 from three-point range in this season's BIG EAST Championship.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    March 15, 2013

    Pregame Notes Get Acrobat Reader

    BIG EAST Championship Semifinal
    March 15, 2013
    Madison Square Garden
    New York, N.Y.

    TV:
    ESPN/WatchESPN.com
    Sean McDonough (play-by-play)
    Jay Bilas (analyst)
    Bill Raftery (analyst)
    Andy Katz (sideline reporter)

    RADIO:
    Broadcast on UND.com (free)
    Jack Nolan (play-by-play)
    Jordan Cornette (analyst)

    LIVE STATS:
    Gametracker on UND.com

    IRISH AND CARDINALS SET FOR ANOTHER SEMIFINAL SHOWDOWN

    The Last Meeting
    Notre Dame57
    Louisville73
    March 9, 2013
    KFC Yum! Center
    No. 24 Notre Dame Falls To No. 8 Louisville, 73-57
    Gorgui Dieng had 20 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks to help No. 8 Louisville earn a share of the Big East Conference title with a 73-57 victory over No. 24 Notre Dame on Saturday.

    o No. 6 seed Notre Dame (25-8) will face No. 2 seed Louisville (27-5) Friday in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship. Tip-off is slated for 9 p.m. (ET) inside Madison Square Garden. This is the third straight season Notre Dame and Louisville will square off in the league semifinals. The Cardinals have won the previous two encounters.
    o This will be the third meeting this season between Notre Dame and Louisville. The Irish defeated the Cardinals, 104-101, in five overtimes on Feb. 9 inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. That was Louisville's last loss. Notre Dame fell at Louisville, 73-57, on Saturday.
    o The winner of the Notre Dame-Louisville showdown will face either Georgetown or Syracuse at 8:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday in the title game.
    o This season's 25 wins are tied for the second-most of the Mike Brey era (13 seasons). The most wins for the Irish under Brey are 27 (27-7) in 2010-11.
    o Friday's game can be seen on ESPN and WatchESPN.com with Sean McDonough (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (analyst), Bill Raftery (analyst) and Andy Katz (sideline reporter) calling the action.
    o 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).

    DEJA VU
    o This is the third straight season that Notre Dame and Louisville will meet in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship. The Cardinals have won the previous two meetings. Louisville posted an 83-77 overtime victory in 2011 and then topped the Irish, 64-50, last season.
    o The Fighting Irish have advanced to the BIG EAST Championship semifinals in each of the last four seasons (a program-best streak). Notre Dame is the first school to make it to four straight BIG EAST semifinals since Connecticut did so from 2002-05.

    NOTRE DAME IN THE BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP
    o Notre Dame is 11-17 all-time in the BIG EAST Championship, including a 10-12 mark under head coach Mike Brey.
    o The Irish are 0-5 in the league semifinals (2002, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012).
    o The Fighting Irish have won at least one BIG EAST Championship game in each of the last five seasons.
    o This season's two victories matches the most ever for Notre Dame in one BIG EAST Championship. The Irish also notched two wins in the 2010 tournament.
    o 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.
    o 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.

    NOTRE DAME-LOUISVILLE SERIES HISTORY o Friday will be the 32nd meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Louisville. The Cardinals lead the series 19-12. Notre Dame and Louisville have alternated wins over the last nine games in the series.
    o The Irish are 5-7 against Louisville since the Cardinals joined the BIG EAST in 2005. Notre Dame is 0-2 against Louisville in the BIG EAST Championship. The Irish fell to the Cardinals in the semifinals of the 2011 (83-77 OT) and 2012 (64-50) league tournaments.
    o The Irish are 4-2 in the last six meetings with a ranked Louisville squad.

    WORKING OVERTIME
    o Five of the last seven meetings between Notre Dame and Louisville have gone to overtime. That includes two double-overtime contests and February's five-overtime affair. The Irish are 3-2 in those five overtime games.
    o In fact, six of the last nine encounters between the Irish and Cardinals have gone to overtime. Seven of the 12 contests between Notre Dame and Louisville since the Cardinals joined the BIG EAST in 2005 have been decided in overtime.
    o The five-overtime game on Feb. 9 was the longest regular-season game in BIG EAST history.

    TAKING ON THE TOP 10
    o 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 Mike Brey.

    CONNAUGHTON CONNECTING FROM LONG RANGE
    o Sophomore Pat Connaughton is 12-of-18 (.667) from three-point range in the first two games of the BIG EAST Championship. The 12 three-pointers are tied for the most in BIG EAST Championship history over a two-game span. Syracuse's James Southerland also has made 12 treys in this year's tournament.
    o Connaughton was 6-of-8 from beyond the arc en route to a season-high 21 points in Wednesday's victory over Rutgers. He was 6-of-9 from distance in Thursday's victory over Marquette. He finished with a game-high 18 points against the Golden Eagles.
    o The six treys tied the most for any Notre Dame player in a single game this season.
    o The performance against Rutgers was the fourth 20-plus point performance of Connaughton's career and they were most points for an Irish player in a BIG EAST Championship game since Scott Martin posted 21 against Louisville in the 2011 semifinals.
    o Connaughton has scored in double-figures in each of the last three games, which matches a career-best streak that he's achieved two other times this season.

    TOPPING 20
    o With his season-high 21-point effort on Wednesday against Rutgers, Pat Connaughton became the sixth different Irish player to score 20 or more points in a game this season (Eric Atkins, Jack Cooley, Jerian Grant, Scott Martin and Garrick Sherman are the others).

    GARRICK GOOD AGAINST CARDINALS
    o Senior center Garrick Sherman averaged 15.5 points per game and shot 73.7% (14-19) from the floor in the two games against Louisville this season.
    o In the first meeting, he didn't enter the game until there was 1:57 remaining in the first overtime, yet ended up scoring 17 points in the final 22 minutes of the contest. Sherman was 7-of-10 from the field and grabbed six rebounds.
    o Sherman was 7-of-9 from the floor en route to 14 points in 25 minutes of action in Saturday's setback at Louisville.

    IRISH OVERTURN SLOW START AGAINST MARQUETTE
    o Marquette opened Thursday's game with a 17-4 run and Notre Dame closed the half with a 25-8 run to claim a 29-25 lead at halftime.

    CAREER-BEST EVENING FOR KNIGHT
    o Senior forward Tom Knight scored a career-high 18 points and hauled down a career-best nine rebounds in Wednesday's win over Rutgers.
    o Knight has reached double-figures in points five times this season (all in BIG EAST play).

    DRAINING FROM DEEP
    o Notre Dame was 10-of-17 (.588) from three-point range in the second-round win over Rutgers. That was the highest three-point percentage for the Irish in a BIG EAST Championship game.
    o It was the fourth time this season (second in BIG EAST play) that the Irish made 10 or more three-pointers in a game. The last time it happened was in the BIG EAST regular-season opener on Jan. 5 when the Irish made 12 three-pointers against Seton Hall.
    o The Irish lead the BIG EAST in three-point shooting percentage this season (.375).

    QUITE A CLASS
    o With Thursday's win, Notre Dame's senior class became the all-time winningest class in program history. The Irish have compiled a 97-39 record over the last four seasons.
    o The current seniors already had compiled the most BIG EAST victories (48-24) in any four-year period since the Irish joined the conference in 1995.

    FIGHTING IRISH IN THE GARDEN
    o Notre Dame owns a 58-47 (.552) record all-time when playing inside Madison Square Garden. The Irish are 2-1 in MSG this season.
    o The Irish went 1-2 last season inside Madison Square Garden.

    COOLEY AND GRANT EARN BIG EAST ACCOLADES
    o 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.
    o 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.
    o Cooley was on the league's 2012-13 preseason first team, while Grant was a preseason honorable mention selection this year.

    FIGHTING IRISH FACTS
    o Over the last three seasons, Notre Dame is 31-1 (11-0 this season) when shooting 50% or above from the field, 55-3 (18-1 this season) when outrebounding its opponent and 57-5 (20-1 this season) when leading at halftime.
    o The Fighting Irish are 5-3 against ranked teams this season. Over the last four seasons, Notre Dame is 22-15 (.595) against teams ranked in the Associated Press top-25 poll, including a 12-2 mark at home.
    o 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.

    EFFICIENT EFFORTS
    o Notre Dame ranks first nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6) and the Irish are second nationally in assists per game (17.2).
    o The Fighting Irish rank 25th nationally in fewest turnovers per game (10.9). Notre Dame has turned the ball over fewer than 10 times in 10 games this season. The Irish have turned the ball over five times or less in two games this season.
    o The Irish turned the ball over just seven times against Marquette on Thursday. Notre Dame had only nine turnovers versus Rutgers on Wednesday.
    o Notre Dame has had an assist on 66.5% of its made field goals this season.
    o The Irish have dished out 20 or more assists in 11 games this season (four times in BIG EAST play).

    CLOSING WELL IN CONFERENCE PLAY
    o 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.

    IRISH ON UNPRECEDENTED RUN IN BIG EAST PLAY
    o Notre Dame 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.
    o 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.

    DOMER DEFENSE
    o Notre Dame held three of its last five regular-season 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.
    o The 40 points from St. John's in the 66-40 Irish victory on March 5 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).
    o The combined 83 points from Pittsburgh and Cincinnati were the fewest ever allowed by the Irish in consecutive BIG EAST games.
    o St. John's shot 30.4% (17-56) from the field. That is the lowest shooting percentage for any Irish opponent this season.

    GRANT GETTING IT DONE
    o Junior guard Jerian Grant tallied 17 points, six rebounds and six assists in 40 minutes of action in Thursday's win over Marquette. He has scored in double-figures in 27 of 33 games this season.
    o Grant scored in double-figures in 15 of 18 BIG EAST regular-season games this season. He averaged a team-best 14.2 points per game in league play.
    o Grant's 5.9 assist-per-game average in BIG EAST contests ranked second in the conference.

    DOUBLE-DOUBLE DOMINANCE
    o 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.
    o 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
    o Senior forward Jack Cooley is fourth nationally in double-doubles (19), ninth in rebounds per game (10.4) and 11th in field-goal percentage (.571).
    o In BIG EAST play, Cooley finished second in rebounding (10.1) and first in offensive rebounds per game (3.7). He was fourth in field-goal percentage (.540).
    o Cooley has scored in double-figures in 27 of 33 games this season. He has grabbed 10 or more rebounds 20 times this season. Cooley has hauled down 15 or more rebounds in a game three times this season.
    o Cooley is ninth in the BIG EAST in blocked shots per game this season (1.2).

    HOT SHOTS
    o Notre Dame is shooting 46.6% from the floor this season. That figure ranks third among all BIG EAST squads.
    o The Irish are 11-0 this season when they shoot 50% or above from the floor.

    ATKINS PLAYING MAJOR MINUTES
    o 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 eight BIG EAST games this season (including tournament).

    DYNAMIC DUO o Junior point guard Eric Atkins is fourth in the BIG EAST (24th nationally) in assists per game (5.8), while fellow junior guard Jerian Grant is fifth in the league (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.
    o Atkins is second in the BIG EAST in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.7), while Grant is sixth (2.1).
    o Atkins led the BIG EAST in three-point shooting percentage (.449) during the league's regular season.
    o Atkins and Grant both played all 40 minutes in Thursday's win over Marquette.

    BREY FOURTH ON BIG EAST WINS LIST
    o 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 146-96 (.603) BIG EAST record.
    o 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.
    o Notre Dame was just 36-58 (.383) in five seasons of BIG EAST play prior to Brey's arrival.

    PLAYING WELL IN PURCELL
    o 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.
    o Notre Dame is 52-3 (.945) in its last 55 home games.

    AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT
    o Junior point guard Eric Atkins had 130 assists and a 1.83 assist-to-turnover ratio last season. He currently has 190 assists and a 2.71 assist-to-turnover ratio this season.
    o Atkins shot 39.4% from the field last season and is currently shooting at a 45.1% clip. He has improved his three-point shooting from 37.5% last season to a current mark of 42.7%.
    o Sophomore Pat Connaughton (G/F) had 30 assists as a freshman and has dished out 72 assists this season. He had a 1.25 assist-to-turnover ratio last season, but has improved that to 2.40 this season.

    SPREADING THE WEALTH
    o Seven different Fighting Irish players have posted a team-high point total this season.
    o Nine different Irish players (Atkins, Auguste, Biedscheid, Connaughton, Cooley, Grant, Knight, Martin, Sherman) have notched a double-digit scoring effort this season.
    o 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
    o 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.

    Mike Brey NAMED TO NORTHWESTERN STATE'S "FAB 50" PLAYERS OF THE MODERN ERA
    o 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
    o 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
    o 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.
    o 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.

    MARTIN OUT FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON
    o 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 14 contests. The Irish have gone 10-4 in those games.
    o 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.
    o 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
    o Notre Dame is 42-16 (.724) over its last 58 BIG EAST regular-season contests.
    o 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.
    o 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.

    POSTSEASON STRETCH
    o 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.

    DOUBLE-DUTY
    o 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.
    o 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
    o 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.
    o 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.
    o 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
    o 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.
    o 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).
    o 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.
    o The four-year GSR data is based upon the entering classes from 2002 to 2005.

     

     

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