IRISH OPEN NCAA PLAY FRIDAY VERSUS IOWA STATE IN DAYTON
No. 7 seed Notre Dame (25-9) will open NCAA Championship play Friday against No. 10 seed Iowa State (22-11) in Dayton, Ohio. The West Region showdown is slated for approximately 9:45 p.m. (ET) inside the University of Dayton Arena.
The winner of the Notre Dame-Iowa State contest will face the winner of the Ohio State-Iona tilt on Sunday in the third round. The West Regional will be held March 28 & 30 in Los Angeles, Calif.
This will be just the second meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Iowa State. The Fighting Irish topped the Cyclones, 87-77, on Dec. 3, 1979, in South Bend.
Friday's game can be seen on CBS with Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Clark Kellogg (analyst) and Tracy Wolfson (sideline reporter) calling the action.
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).
NOTRE DAME IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
The Fighting Irish are making their 33rd appearance in the NCAA Championship. Notre Dame boasts an all-time record of 31-36 in the tournament. This is the fourth straight trip for the Irish and the ninth in 13 seasons under head coach Mike Brey. Brey has a 6-8 NCAA Championship record during his Notre Dame tenure.
This is the first time Notre Dame has qualified for four consecutive NCAA Championships since the Irish went to six straight tournaments from 1985-90. The Fighting Irish have been to the tournament in six of the past seven seasons.
This is just the second time that Notre Dame has been placed in the West Region for the NCAA Championship. The first time was in 2003 when the Irish advanced to the Sweet 16 by claiming wins over Wisconsin-Milwaukee (70-69) and Illinois (68-60) in Indianapolis, Ind. Notre Dame fell to Arizona (88-71) in that season's West Regional semifinal in Anaheim, Calif.
IRISH SEEDED SEVENTH FOR SECOND STRAIGHT SEASON
This marks the second straight season and the third time overall that Notre Dame has earned a No. 7 seed for the NCAA Championship. The Irish also were a No. 7 seed for the 1985 tournament. Notre Dame is 1-2 all-time in that seed slot.
Notre Dame has earned appearances in the postseason in each of the last 14 seasons, which marks the longest stretch in school history. The Irish have been to the NCAA Championship on nine occasions and the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) five times during this current stretch. Under head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame has played in the NCAAs nine times and NIT four times.
BREY BOASTS NCAA TOURNAMENT EXPERIENCE
Mike Brey has plenty of NCAA Championship experience both as a head coach and as an assistant coach. He has a 6-10 record in the NCAA Championship as a head coach (6-8 at Notre Dame) and is 5-3 in opening-round games with the Irish (5-5 all-time).
In Friday's matchup with Iowa State, he will be coaching in his 53rd NCAA Championship contest. In 17 coaching appearances (as either a head coach or assistant coach), he is 37-15 (.712) 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 AGAINST THE NCAA FIELD
Notre Dame faced seven teams that earned a berth to the 2013 NCAA Championship field. The Irish went 6-5 against those squads. Here is how the Fighting Irish faired against those teams based on seeds: #1-4 (2-5); #5-8 (1-0); #9-12 (3-0); #13-16 (0-0).
BATTLING THE BIG TWELVE
Iowa State is the first Big Twelve Conference opponent for the Irish since they fell to Missouri, 87-58, last season (Missouri has since moved to the SEC).
Notre Dame is 50-18 (.735) all-time against current members of the Big Twelve.
Notre Dame and Iowa State have two common opponents this season (Cincinnati & BYU). The Fighting Irish swept the season series with the Bearcats (66-60, 62-41), while Iowa State fell to Cincinnati, 78-70. Both the Fighting Irish (78-68) and Cyclones (83-62) defeated BYU.
Notre Dame senior center Garrick Sherman and Iowa State guard Korie Lucious were teammates at Michigan State during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.
COOLEY NETS 1,000TH CAREER POINT
With his 11th point in Friday's game against Louisville in the BIG EAST Championship, senior forward Jack Cooley became the 53rd player in Notre Dame history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Cooley has 1,003 points and an 8.2 points-per-game average during his Fighting Irish career.
CONNAUGHTON ON ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Sophomore Pat Connaughton was named to the BIG EAST Championship All-Tournament Team. Connaughton was 15-of-24 (.625) from three-point range and averaged a team-best 16.0 points-per-game during the three games of the tournament. He also averaged 4.3 rebounds per game.
The 15 three-pointers are the fourth-most for a single BIG EAST Championship.
Connaughton was 6-of-8 from beyond the arc en route to a season-high 21 points in the second-round victory over Rutgers. He was 6-of-9 from distance in the quarterfinal win over Marquette. He finished with a game-high 18 points against the Golden Eagles. He was 3-of-6 from distance versus Louisville in the semifinals.
The six treys tied the most for any Notre Dame player in a game this season.
The performance against Rutgers was the fourth 20-plus point effort of Connaughton's career (first this season).
DRAINING FROM DEEP
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.
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.
The Irish lead the BIG EAST in three-point shooting percentage (.373).
WINNING WAYS UNDER BREY
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.
QUITE A CLASS
With Thursday's win over Marquette, Notre Dame's senior class became the all-time winningest class in program history. The Irish have compiled a 97-40 (.708) record over the last four seasons.
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.
GRANT GETTING IT DONE
Junior guard Jerian Grant averaged 14.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists in the three games of the BIG EAST Championship. He was the only Notre Dame player to score in double-figures in all three contests. Grant also had team-high figures in blocks (4) and steals (7).
Grant was 15-of-18 (.833) from the free throw line in the tournament.
He has scored in double-figures in 28 of 34 games this season.
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.
Grant's 5.9 assist-per-game average in BIG EAST contests ranked second in the league.
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) and 12th in rebounds per game (10.3).
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).
Cooley has scored in double-figures in 28 of 34 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.
Cooley is ninth in the BIG EAST in blocked shots per game (1.2).
Cooley has made his last nine free throw attempts.
He was 8-of-8 from the field in last season's NCAA second-round loss to Xavier.
Over the last three seasons, Notre Dame is 31-1 (11-0 this season) when shooting 50% or above from the field, 55-4 (18-2 this season) when outrebounding its opponent and 57-5 (20-1 this season) when leading at halftime.
The Fighting Irish are 5-4 against ranked teams this season. Over the last four seasons, Notre Dame is 22-16 (.579) against teams ranked in the Associated Press top-25 poll, including a 12-2 mark at home.
Notre Dame is 4-3 in its last seven showdowns with a team ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll. The Irish are 17-26 against teams ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll under head coach Mike Brey.
Notre Dame ranks second nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.54) and the Irish are sixth nationally in assists per game (17.0).
The Fighting Irish rank tied for 24th nationally in fewest turnovers per game (11.1). 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.
Notre Dame has had an assist on 66.4% of its made field goals this season.
The Irish have dished out 20 or more assists in 11 games this season.
CAREER-BEST EVENING FOR KNIGHT
Senior forward Tom Knight scored a career-high 18 points and hauled down a career-best nine rebounds in the BIG EAST Championship second-round win over Rutgers.
Knight has reached double-figures in points five times this season (all in BIG EAST play).
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.
Junior point guard Eric Atkins is second in the BIG EAST in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.7), while fellow junior guard Jerian Grant is seventh (2.0).
Both Grant (13.4) and Atkins (11.4) are averaging double-figure in points. Grant has a team-best 192 assists, while Atkins is right behind him with 191.
Atkins led the BIG EAST in three-point shooting percentage (.449) during the league's regular season.
Atkins needs 30 more points to reach 1,000 for his career.
AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT
Junior point guard Eric Atkins had 130 assists and a 1.83 assist-to-turnover ratio last season. He currently has 191 assists and a 2.65 assist-to-turnover ratio this season.
Atkins shot 39.4% from the field last season and is currently shooting at a 44.7% clip. He has improved his three-point shooting from 37.5% last year to a current mark of 42.9%, which ranks second in the BIG EAST.
Sophomore Pat Connaughton (G/F) had 30 assists as a freshman and has dished out 74 assists this season. He had a 1.25 assist-to-turnover ratio last season, but has improved that to 2.39 this year.
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.
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).
IRISH ON UNPRECEDENTED RUN IN BIG EAST PLAY
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.
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.
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 146-97 (.601) 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 eight BIG EAST games this season (including tournament).
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.
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.
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 15 contests. The Irish have gone 10-5 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 advanced to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship in each of the last four seasons. The Irish are the first team to accomplish that feat since Connecticut did so from 2002-05.
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.
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.