Notre Dame (20-14) v s. Kentucky (22-13)
March 25, 2009
National Invitation Tournament
Joyce Center (11,418) Notre Dame, Ind.
Brad Nessler (play-by-play analyst)
Jimmy Dykes (color analyst)
Radio: Jack Nolan (play-by-play analyst)
LaPhonso Ellis (color analyst)
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Irish And Wildcats Meet In Quarterfinal Matchup
Notre Dame (20-14) meets Kentucky (22-13) in the quarterfinal round of the 2009 National Invitation Tournament. The Irish advanced to the third round with a 70-68 victory over New Mexico last Thursday night (March 19) at the Joyce Center.
This will be the 59th meeting between the two schools with Kentucky leading the all-time series 41-17. The Wildcats have won 10 straight over the Irish. Notre Dame's last win in the series was an 80-67 victory at the Joyce Center on March 5, 1990.
The last meeting between Notre Dame and Kentucky took place on Jan. 25, 2004 at the Joyce Center as the Wildcats earned a 71-63 victory.
Kentucky will be making its seventh visit to the Joyce Center and is 5-1 in its six previous appearances.
This is the 10th straight year that Notre Dame has played in the postseason (five NCAA, five NIT). It is the longest postseason run in program history.
Notre Dame is 25-10 (.714) all-time in the NIT and 5-3 under head coach Mike Brey.
Notre Dame has an overall record of 10-8 in the postseason under Brey (5-5 in the NCAA). Brey is 10-11 all-time in the postseason in 14 seasons as a head coach.
In The Record Books
The Irish have advanced to the quarterfinal round for the second time in four appearances under head coach Mike Brey and the first time since 2004.
The Irish finished 1-1 in the BIG EAST Tournament with a 61-50 win over Rutgers in the first round before suffering a 74-62 setback to West Virginia in the second round.
Notre Dame finished 8-10 in BIG EAST regular-season play and finished tied for ninth in the final regular-season standings.
Notre Dame is 14-3 at home overall this season and was 6-3 against BIG EAST foes. Over the last 27 BIG EAST home games, the Irish are 24-3 (.889).
Notre Dame has played 12 ranked opponents this season and is 3-9 in those contests. It's the most ranked opponents any Irish team has faced during the regular season in program history.
Notre Dame's seven game losing sreak and six-game BIG EAST skid earlier this season was the longest for a Notre Dame teams since the 1992-93 campaign and most consecutive loss under head coach Mike Brey. The six straight BIG EAST losses also were the most since joining the conference in 1995-96.
The Irish's three wins over ranked teams all were against teams ranked in the top 10.
The most ranked teams an Irish squad has faced during a season is 12 (1977-78 and 2008-09). The 1977-78 team advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament and played during its tournament run.
Notre Dame is 39-54 all-time versus teams from the Southeastern Conference. It's last win over an SEC team was against Alabama (99-85) on Dec. 7, 2006.
The Irish are 0-4 versus Kentucky under Mike Brey.
Tory Jackson scored the game-winning layup against New Mexico last Thursday night with 2.3 seconds remaining in the contest.
The last time the Irish won on a last-second shot was on Feb. 9, 2003 against Pittburgh (66-64) when Torin Francis hit a layup with 0.6 left.
In The Record Books
With its 298 three-pointers this season, Notre Dame has set a new single season mark. The old mark of 288 (in 30 games) was set by the 2005-06 Irish squad.
Irish teams have connected on better than 250 three-pointers in seven of Mike Brey's nine seasons as head coach.
Irish Notch Third Consecutive 20-Win Season
Notre Dame's 70-68 win oveer New Mexico gave the Irish their third consecutive 20-win season and sixth in head coach Mike Brey's nine-year tenure.
The last time Notre Dame posted three straight 20-win campaigns was during in Brey's first three seasons.
Notre Dame teams have registered 33 20-win seasons in school history.
Notre Dame held Louisville and USF to 57 points in back-to-back games in home outings on Feb. 12 and Feb. 15, respectively. It marked the first time since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96 that an Irish team has held BIG EAST opponents to under 60 points in back-to-back league contests.
Notre Dame did that again when it held Rutgers to 50 points in the first round of the BIG EAST Tournament on March 10 after giving up just 55 points in the regular-season finale to St. John's at the Joyce Center on March 6.
In fact, after giving up an average of 91.7 points in consecutive losses at Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and UCLA, the Irish have yielded 66.8 points (801 points) in their last 12 outings.
Notre Dame's 90-57 win over Louisville was the largest margin of victory (33 points) for an Irish team in a BIG EAST game and the largest margin in their nine wins over the Cardinals. The 90 points were the most ever scored by Notre Dame against Louisville.
Prior to the win, Notre Dame's largest margin of victory was 27 points on two occasions -- vs. St. John's (89-62) at Madison Square Garden on March 6, 2004 and vs. Rutgers (90-63) at the Joyce Center on Feb. 8, 2006.
The win was just the second for the Irish in the last 12 meetings against the Cardinals. The 57 points were the fewest scored by a Louisville squad in the last 13 matchups.
The loss was the worst ever for a Cardinal team under head coach Rick Pitino.
Notre Dame faced the toughest stretch that any Irish team has faced during the regular season as Coach Mike Brey's squad played five straight ranked opponents and four consecutive top-10 foes. No Irish team has ever faced five consecutive ranked opponents during the regular season. The 1977-78 Irish squad played five straight ranked foes during the `78 NCAA tournament.
For the eighth time in 10 semesters, the Irish earned a team grade point average of 3.00 and above as Notre Dame finished with a 3.151 GPA following the 2008 fall semester.
Following the `08 fall semester, Notre Dame's cumulative GPA was a 3.093 which marked the ninth consecutive semester that the team had a cumulative 3.00 and above.
Zach Hillesland, a marketing major in the Mendoza College of Business, earned 3.917 for the fall semester and has a 3.532 GPA overall. Luke Zeller, who also is enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business and majors in management entrepreneurship, had a 3.833 GPA in the fall and owns a 3.514 overall grade index following seven semesters. Tim Abromaitis is enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business and had a 3.688 grade point average in the fall.
Notre Dame won the BIG EAST Team Academic Award in 2007-08 with a team grade point average of 3.097 during the school year.
The Streak Ends
Prior to its loss to Connecticut on Jan. 24 at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame had owned the nation's longest home court win streak -- 45 games -- with its victory over Seton Hall on Jan. 10. That win also tied the BIG EAST mark for the most consecutive league victories (20) at home -- a record that the Irish share with Pittsburgh.
Harangody, Jackson See Streaks End
Luke Harangody saw his 50-game double-figure scoring streak come to an end in Notre Dame's loss at UCLA as he finished with five points and one rebound. It was the lowest scoring and rebounding output for the Irish junior since scoring four points and grabbing one rebound in a first-round NCAA Tournament loss to Winthrop in 2007.
Prior to the UCLA game, Tory Jackson had started in 74 consecutive games for the Irish.
Harangody Repeats As First Team All-BIG EAST Selection
Luke Harangody earned first team all-BIG EAST honors for the second straight after averaging 25.2 points and 12.8 rebounds. Pittsburgh's Sam Young joined Harangody as the only two players to repeat as first-team honorees from 2008. He is the third Irish player to earn first-team accolades on multiple occasions. Pat Garrity was a first-team selection in 1997 and 1998, while Troy Murphy garnered first-team honors in 2000 and 2001.
Luke Harangody became the first player in league history to lead the conference in scoring in back-to-back seasons as he averaged 25.2 points and 12.8 rebounds this season after winning the scoring and rebounding titles as a sophomore when he averaged 23.3 points and 11.3 rebounds. In his three-year BIG EAST career, he has scored 1,031 points (19.9 ppg.) in 52 regular-season league contests. Only three other players in the history of the league -- Ray Allen and Richard Hamilton (Connecticut) and Pat Garrity (Notre Dame) -- scored more than 1,000 points in three seasons.
Since the inception of the BIG EAST Conference, there have been only three seasons in which in individual has led the league in both scoring and rebounding -- Troy Murphy in 1999-2000 and Harangody in 2007-09 and 2008-09.
A Different Feeling
Prior to the loss to Marquette on Jan. 26, Notre Dame had not lost consecutive BIG EAST home games since dropping an 85-82 double-overtime decision to Georgetown on Jan. 24, 2006 and a 72-70 setback to Villanova on Jan. 28, 2006.
In fact, Notre Dame did not lose back-to-back conference outings at all during the 2007-08 campaign.
Notre Dame's 93-61 victory against Furman on Nov. 30 marked the 39th straight home victory at the Joyce Center as the Irish eclipsed the all-time school record -- a 60-year old mark -- of 38 consecutive wins at the old Notre Dame Fieldhouse set from 1943-48.
All In The Family
In Notre Dame's win over DePaul on Dec. 31, all five starters scored in double figures for the only time so far this season and the first time since March 13, 2008 when the Irish lost to Marquette in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship. Luke Harangody led the way with 26 points and 16 rebounds, while Zach Hillesland finished with a career-high 17 points. Ryan Ayers added 14 points and Kyle McAlarney and Tory Jackson netted 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Luke Harangody's 26 points and 11 rebounds against New Mexico was his 23rd double-double of the season (he had 15 in BIG EAST play) and 48th overall during his career. He has scored 20-plus points in 24 games overall this season (and in 16 of 20 regular season and BIG EAST tournament games) and topped the 30-plus point mark five times. His 19 points versus South Florida, 18 against Providence and Villanova and 14 against Connecticut have been the only times this season in BIG EAST play that he has not topped the 20-point mark. He has failed to register a double-double in all but five BIG EAST games (Providence, Connecticut, Villanova Rutgers and West Virginia). Harangody was held to season-lows of five points and one rebound against UCLA. Prior to that game, Harangody had registered 11 straight double-doubles and scored 20-plus points in 14 consecutive contests. The streak was the first of his career in which he scored 20-plus points in 14 consecutive games and registered 11 consecutive double-doubles.
Currently, he is the only player in the country who ranks in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding
The last player with better than eight consecutive games with 20-plus points was Adrian Dantley. He scored 20-plus points in nine consecutive games during the 1975-76 campaign. His longest streak of 20-plus games was 11 straight that spanned the final four games of his sophomore season in 1974-75 and the first seven games of his junior campaign in `75-'76. He also had a string of 10 games with 20-plus points in `74-'75.
Notre Dame's all-time leading scorer, Austin Carr, had 58 straight games with 20-plus points (every single game his last two seasons in 1969-70 and 1970-71) and finished his career with 20-plus points in 70 of 74 career outings.
The last Notre Dame player with at least 11 straight double-doubles was Ryan Humphrey when he recorded 11 consecutive double-doubles in the final 11 games of the 2001-02 season.
An Elite Club
With 1,776 points and 928 rebounds in 97 career outings, Luke Harangody is one of just four players in the 104-history of the Notre Dame basketball program to score 1,700 points and grab 800 rebounds. The others to reach this milestone have been:
Adrian Dantley (1973-76): 2,223 points, 843 rebounds Troy Murphy (1998-01): 2,011 points, 924 rebounds
Tom Hawkins (1956-59): 1,820 points, 1,318 rebounds
McAlarney Becomes 49th 1,000-Point Scorer
In Notre Dame's win over Savannah State on Dec. 20, senior Kyle McAlarney became the 49th player in the 104-year history of the program to score 1,000 points. He has scored 1,328 points in 108 career outings for a 12.3 average. His 15.1 average matches his career-best scoring average of a year ago.
He had his career-best nine-game double-figure scoring streak snapped against Villanova on Mar. 2.
McAlarney Reaches Three-Point Century Mark Again
As a junior in 2007-08, Kyle McAlarney set the Notre Dame single-season three-point record with 108 three pointers becoming just the second player in school history with 100-plus treys in a season. McAlarney eclipsed that record this season with 120 three pointers to date. He is the only player in school history with better than 100 three-pointers in multiple seasons. As a junior in 2005-06, Colin Falls established the previous single-season mark with 102.
Points A Plenty
Notre Dame is averaging 76.2 points per game this season and has topped the 80-point mark in 14 contests and scored 90-plus points in six games.
The Irish's 103-point outburst against Providence marked the 10th time during Mike Brey's tenure that Notre Dame topped the 100-point plateau.
Notre Dame's 61 points against Connecticut on Jan. 24 marked its lowest output of the season to that point and matched the lowest during the 45-game home court win streak. The Irish scored 61 points in a 61-58 win over West Virginia on Jan. 9, 2007.
In The Polls
Notre Dame is unranked in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today rankings this week. The Irish began the year ranked ninth in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today rankings and climbed to as high as seventh in both polls on two separate occasions during the month of December. That marked the highest ranking for Notre Dame since the 2002-03 campaign when the Irish climbed to fifth in the AP poll and sixth in the ESPN/USA Today ranking in the second week of January 2003.
The 45-Game Joyce Center Win Streak
Notre Dame ran its Joyce Center home court win streak to 45 games (then the longest in the nation and longest in the 40-plus year history of the Joyce Center) following its win over Seton Hall on Jan. 10. Prior to the loss to Connecticut, the Irish had recorded back-to-back undefeated seasons at the Joyce Center during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 campaigns. Notre Dame is the only school in BIG EAST history to finish undefeated at home in consecutive seasons. The previous all-time home win streak was 38 and was set at the Notre Dame Fieldhouse and began with a 41-31 win over Wisconsin on December 11, 1943 and ended with a 68-51 loss to St. Louis on February 9, 1948.
Irish Set Records With Three-Point Barrage
With its 19 three-pointers against South Dakota (Dec. 2), Notre Dame set the school and Joyce Center records for three-point field goals in a game. The single-game record previously was 17 set against St. John's in Madison Square Garden on March 6, 2006.
Previously, the most ever treys for a Notre Dame team at the Joyce Center was 16 versus Loyola (Ill.) on Nov. 20, 2000. The most three-pointers by an opponent at the Joyce Center is held by Villanova as they connected on 16 on Jan. 7, 1999.
Notre Dame is averaging 8.9 three-pointers per game this season and is shooting 40.2 percent from beyond the three-point stripe (293-729).
The Irish have made 80 more three-pointers (293-213) and are averaging 2.4 more three-pointers than their opponents.
Irish In The National Statistics
Luke Harangody ranks eighth in scoring (23.3) and fifth in rebounding (11.9). He is the only player in the country to rank in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding.
Kyle McAlarney stands seventh in three-point field goals made (3.5) and is 18th in three-point field goal percentage (.429).
Ryan Ayers is 10th in three-point field goal percentage (.434).
As a team, Notre Dame ranks first in turnovers (9.7), eighth in assists (16.9) and ninth in three-point field goal percentage (.396).
Rare 30-30 Outings
Kyle McAlarney became the first Irish player since Troy Murphy in 2000 to record back-to-back 30-point outings. McAlarney's 32-point outing against Furman (Nov. 30) came just four days after he scored a career-high 39 points against North Carolina (Nov. 26).
Luke Harangody recorded back-to-back 30-point outings in Notre Dame's wins over Georgetown (Jan. 5) and Seton Hall (Jan. 10) as he finished with 31 and 30, respectively.
Prior to McAlarney's back-to-back 30-point outings, the last Notre Dame player to score 30-plus in consecutive games was Troy Murphy when he netted 31 at the Joyce Center versus Loyola Marymount (1-2-00) and 33 against Connecticut (1-5-00) at the Hartford Civic Center.
The last Notre Dame player to score 30-plus points in three consecutive outings was Adrian Dantley (inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2008) as he scored 30-plus points in six straight games in 1976 -- 34 vs. Pittsburgh (1-13-76), 33 vs. Ball State (1-14-76), 35 vs. Xavier (1-17-76), 30 vs. St. Joseph's (1-21-76), 30 vs. UCLA (1-24-76) and 31 vs. DePaul (1-28-76).
Thirty Something Guys
Ryan Ayers became the third different Irish player to score 30-plus points in a game this season when he registered a career-high 35-point performance in the win over South Dakota. It also marked the first 30-plus point game of his career. Ayers' nine three-pointers tied the Joyce Center single-game three-point record by an Irish player (he now shares with Kyle McAlarney).
Luke Harangody topped the 30-point mark for the fourth time in his career in the season opener against USC Upstate as he scored 30 points. He registered his second 30-plus point outing of the season with his 31-point effort against Georgetown and then netted his third of the season with a 30-point performance against Seton Hall. His fourth 30-plus point outing of the 2008-09 campaign and seventh in his career came against Louisville as he scored 32 points and grabbed 17 boards. In the season finale against St. John's, he recorded his fifth 30-point outing of the season when he finished with 31 points and 12 rebounds.
Kyle McAlarney recorded back-to-back 30-plus point outings when he scored 39 against North Carolina and followed that up with a 32-point effort versus Furman. He has five 30-point performances during his career.
The last time Notre Dame had three different 30-point scorers in the same season was in 1991-92:
Elmer Bennett: 32 pts. vs. DePaul (1-29-92), 38 pts. vs. Detroit (2-4-92) and 39 pts. vs. Virginia in overtime of NIT final (4-1-92)
LaPhonso Ellis: 31 pts. vs. North Carolina (1-11-92) and 30 pts. vs. St. John's (2-29-92)
Daimon Sweet: 30 pts. vs. North Carolina (1-11-92)
Irish Earn Runner-Up Finish In Maui
Notre Dame finished second at the EA Sports Maui Invitational in its second-ever appearance in the tournament. The Irish advanced to the championship game against top-ranked North Carolina by virtue of its wins over Indiana (88-50) and sixth-ranked Texas (81-80). Notre Dame lost to the Tar Heels 102-87 in the title game.
In the win over Indiana, five Irish players recorded double figures with Tory Jackson matching his career-high as he finished with 21 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals. Kyle McAlarney canned six three-pointers as he netted 18 points, while Luke Harangody finished with 14 points, five rebounds and a career-high five steals. Ryan Ayers netted double figures for the first time this season and Luke Zeller posted his first career double-double as he tallied 10 points and grabbed a personal best 11 boards.
In the first game of the 2008-09 college basketball season matching two top-10 teams, the eighth-ranked Irish prevailed by one point over the sixth-ranked Longhorns. Luke Harangody led all scorers and rebounders with 29 points and 13 rebounds as one of three Irish players in double figures. Kyle McAlarney finished with 19 points and he nailed five three-pointers while playing all 40 mintues of the contest. Tory Jackson turned in another key effort as he tallied 16 points, grabbed five rebounds, dished off seven assists and made three steals.
Kyle McAlarney made a school record 10 three pointers (eclipsing the record he set last season against Syracuse in February 2008) en route to a career-high 39-point performance against the Tar Heels as the Irish fell in the championship game. McAlarney, who played 39 minutes in the contest, also finished with six assists. Luke Harangody finished with 13 points and seven boards in the loss, while Tory Jackson notched double figures for the fourth consecutive game as he added 10 points.
More Maui Tidbits
Luke Harangody and Kyle McAlarney were named to the all-tournament team at the EA Sports Maui Invitational, joining North Carolina's Danny Green, Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson. Lawson was the tournament's most valuable player.
Kyle McAlarney averaged 25.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists as he shot 51.0 percent from the field (25-49) and 55.3 percent (21-38) from three-point range.
Luke Harangody ended the tournament averaging 18.7 points and 8.3 rebounds, while Tory Jackson averaged 15.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.3 steals.
Notre Dame earned its best-ever finish in its second-ever appearance in the Maui Invitational. In its only other appearance in 1993, the Irish were 1-2.
The Book On K-Mac
Kyle McAlarney set a Notre Dame school record against North Carolina on Nov. 26, 2008 with his 10 three-pointers and then followed that up with nine treys versus Furman on Nov. 30, 2008. Both were the most three-pointers made by an opposing player in a single game against the Tar Heels and Paladins.
Tory Jackson's 21 points against Indiana matched the junior guard's career high and was the third time in his career that he scored 20-plus points in a game. Both of Jackson's other two 20-point efforts occurred during his freshman season (2006-07 campaign) when he scored 21 points versus Marquette and 20 against Georgetown in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship.
Jackson has scored in double figures in 19 of 34 games this season.
Ryan Ayers had one of his best outings of his career against Providence as he scored 28 points (second-highest point total of his career and most ever scored in a BIG EAST game) as he connected on 7-11 from three-point range. He has reached double figures in a career-best 18 games this season. Last season, the Irish senior netted double figures in 10 contests.
Earlier in the season, he had back-to-back career-high scoring efforts in Notre Dame's wins over Furman and South Dakota.
He recorded a then-career-high 19 points against Furman as he connected on 8-13 field goals and was 3-6 from the three-point stripe.
Ayers followed that up with a 35-point effort against South Dakota as he was 12-20 from the field and 9-14 from three-point range.
He has topped the 20-plus point mark for the third time this season with his 25-point effort against Villanova.
He had a career-best five-game double-figure scoring streak recently -- Villanova (28), St. John's (25), Rutgers (15), West Virgnia (10) and UAB (11).
He has scored in double figures in 10 of the last 15 games.
Nash Getting Noticed
Tyrone Nash has been a spark for the Irish over the last 12 games as he has averaged 4.2 ponts and 5.0 rebounds.
He grabbed nine rebounds against Connecticut and in making his first career start against Villanova (March 2) finished with four points and a personal-best 11 boards.
Double The Pleasure
Luke Zeller's 10 points and 11 rebounds against Indiana was the first career double-double for the Irish senior. The 11 boards also marked a personal high and the second time this season that he achieved a personal best. In the season opener against USC Upstate, he finished with a career-high 18 points.
Three Top-10 Wins
Notre Dame's win over #6 Texas in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational was the first for the Irish over a top-1o foe since Dec. 7, 2006 when the Irish beat #4/5 Alabama at the Joyce Center (99-85). The second came on Jan. 5 in the win over #9/10 Georgetown and its third was against #5/#7 Louisville on Feb. 12. Notre Dame is 14-17 versus top-10 foes under Mike Brey.
Zach Hillesland had back-to-back double-figure scoring outings for the first time this season and the third time during his career when he scored 12 points against Pittsburgh and 11 versus Cincinnati and has scored in double figures 17 times during his career.
Hillesland scored a career-high 17 points against DePaul on Dec. 31 and grabbed six rebounds. Hillesland, who battled plantar fasciitis during the preseason and missed the first exhibition game against Briar Cliff, started the season opener against USC Upstate and scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds while also dishing off four assists.
Hillesland had his second double-figure scoring effort of the season in the win over Boston University as he finished with 11 points.
He missed the Villanova game after suffering a severely bruised sternum in the loss at Connecticut.
The Peoples Choice
Jonathan Peoples had the best day of his career as he came off the bench against Providence (Feb. 21) and played a career-high 28 minutes while registering personal bests of 14 points and nine assists, in addition to grabbing three rebounds and only turning the ball over once. It marked the second time in his career that he registered 10-plus points in a game. Peoples was 5-8 from the field and 2-3 from three-point range.
Luke Zeller had a career outing against USC Upstate in the season opener as he came off the bench in 19 minutes of action to score a personal best 18 points as he connected on 6-7 shots from the the field and was 4-6 from the three-point stripe. In addition to the 18 points, he grabbed five rebounds. Just one day prior to Luke's performance, his brother Tyler scored 18 points as a starter for the North Carolina Tar Heels in his collegiate debut.
After leading the nation in assists in 2007-o8 (18.4 per game), Notre Dame dished off 25 assists in the season opener against USC Upstate. Last season, the Irish dished off 20-plus assists in 13 games, including a season-high 28 in the season opener against Long Island. Notre Dame has dished off 20-plus assists in eight games this season, including a season-high 28 in the win over South Dakota. The Irish are averaging 16.9 assists per game this season and own a 1.74 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Taking Care Of The Basketball
Notre Dame ranks first nationally with just 9.7 turnovers per game. The Irish had a season-low four turnovers against Delaware State which matched the fewest for a Notre Dame team under Mike Brey.
It's All In The Experience
Zach Hillesland (110 games played/51 starts), Luke Harangody (97 games played/81 starts), Ryan Ayers (115 games played/49 starts), Tory Jackson (99 games played/85 starts) and Kyle McAlarney (108 games played/89 starts) boast a combined 355 starts in the 529 games the five have combined to play in during their careers. Luke Zeller has started 32 games in the 126 that he has appeared in during his career.
Top 10 Debut
Notre Dame was ranked ninth in the ESPN/USA Today Preseason Coaches' Poll that was released on October 30. It was the highest preseason ranking ever for the Irish in the preseason coaches' poll. The Irish also were ranked ninth in the Preseason Associated Press Poll. It marked the fifth time in program history that Notre Dame has debuted in the top-10 of the AP poll.
The Irish had not begun a season ranked in the top 10 of the AP rankings since 1980-81 when they were 10th. Notre Dame's highest-ever AP preseason mark was third in 1978-79. The Irish were ranked fourth in 1977-78 and fifth in 1979-80. The last time Notre Dame was ranked in the preseason AP poll was in 2004-05 when the Irish were 20th.
10 Straight Postseason Appearances
Notre Dame's appearance in this year's National Invitation Tournament marks the fifth for the Irish in the last 10 years. Since 2000, Notre Dame has appeared in either the NCAA or NIT tournaments -- the longest postseason stretch in school history.
Five 20-Win Seasons Under His Belt
With its 25-8 record last season, Notre Dame reached the 20-win mark for the fifth time in eight seasons and second consecutive year under head coach Mike Brey. Notre Dame's other 20-win campaigns under Brey have been in 2000-01 (20-10), 2001-02 (22-11), 2002-03 (24-10) and 24-8 (2006-07). In the 104-year history of the program, Notre Dame teams have won 20 or more games on 32 occasions.
BIG EAST Turnaround
During head coach Mike Brey's tenure, Notre Dame has had only two losing seasons in BIG EAST play. That season was in 2005-06 when the Irish finished 6-10 after beginning the BIG EAST campaign with a 1-8 record. Since that 1-8 start, Notre Dame has gone 38-21 (.644) over the last 59 regular-season league games.
Notre Dame's 17-0 record at home in 2007-08 marked just the fourth time since the opening of the Joyce Center in 1968-69 that an Irish team finished undefeated at home during the regular season. In 2006-07, the Irish were 18-0, which marked the most wins ever for a Notre Dame team in a single season. In addition to last year's team and the 2006-07 squad, only two other Notre Dame squads ever completed a season undefeated at home -- the 1973-74 and 1985-86 squads both finished their campaigns with identical 15-0 records. The Irish have been the only BIG EAST team in conference history to finish undefeated in back-to-back seasons.
The Irish All-Time
The 2008-09 campaign marks the 104th season of basketball and the 14th as a member of the BIG EAST Conference. Notre Dame teams have posted a 1649-907 record for a .645 winning percentage. In BIG EAST play, the Irish own a 123-113 (.521) record all-time in conference regular-season play.
Always In It
Since the 2005-06 campaign, Notre Dame's 44 losses have been by a combined 397 points for an average of 9.0 points per game. In the 100 losses suffered by Irish teams in Mike Brey's nine seasons, only 32 have been by 10 or more points and they have been by a combined 769 points for an average of 7.7 points per game. Notre Dame's 26-point loss (92-66) to Marquette on Jan. 12, 2008 and its loss to UCLA (89-63) on Feb. 7 of this year were the largest ever for an Irish team under Brey.
Now That's Something To Talk About
Notre Dame has won 51 of its last 54 home games. Here's a look at the dominance of the Irish over the course of the last 54 contests at the Joyce Center:
4,423 (81.9 ppg.)
3,503 (64.9 ppg.)
Margin of Victory
+944 points (+17.5)
Notes: Notre Dame has shot .500 or better in 20 of 54 games
Notre Dame opponents have shot .500 or better in 4 of 54 games.
34 wins by 10-plus points
19 wins by 20-plus points
14 wins by 30-plus points
5 wins by 40-plus points
1 win by 50-plus points
BIG EAST Win Streak
Prior to its loss to Connecticut on Jan. 24, Notre Dame's 20-game BIG EAST homecourt win streak matched the longest in conference history.
20 - Notre Dame (1 game in 2005-06, 8 games in 2006-07, 9 games in 2007-08 and two games in 2008-09)
20 - Pittsburgh (6 games in 2003-04, 8 games in 2002-03 and 6 games in 2001-02)
BIG EAST Formula For Success
Since his arrival at Notre Dame, Mike Brey has led the Irish to an 88-60 (.594) record in BIG EAST regular-season games and a 4-9 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 92-69 (.571) against league foes. In Brey's first season, the Irish posted their first-ever winning record in BIG EAST play and won the league's West Division title with an 11-5 mark. Prior to Brey's arrival at Notre Dame, Irish teams had a 35-53 (.398) regular-season record after joining the league in 1995-96.
337 And Counting
Heading into tonight's game against Kentucky, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 335 straight games, a mark that dates back to the 1998-99 campaign. 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 as Notre Dame finished 0-7 from beyond the arc. The 2005-06 Irish squad set the single-season record with 288 three-pointers and fell just one field goal short of that mark (287) in 2006-07.
Home Sweet Home
Since the inaugural season in 1968-69 at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame owns a 504-144 (.778) winning percentage. The Irish are 117-30 (.796) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey's nine seasons.
Irish Sign Four
Irish head coach Mike Brey announced the signing of four players to national letters of intent on November 12. Mike Broghammer (Orono, Minn./Hopkins), Joey Brooks (Houston, Texas), Jack Cooley (Glenview, Ill.) and Tom Knight (Dixfield, Maine).
Broghammer, a 6-9, 235-pound forward, averaged 11.9 points and 10.9 rebounds as a junior in leading his prep team to a final 27-2 record in 2007-08. A two-time all-conference honoree, he scored in double figures in 16 of 29 contests as a junior. He is the nephew of former Duke standout Christian Laettner.
Brooks, a 6-5, 200-pound guard, led Strake Jesuit College Preparatory to the District 18-5A crown as a junior while averaging 22.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals. He garnered first-team all-district honors and earned all-state recognition.
Cooley, a 6-9, 235-pound forward, averaged a double-double in his junior season at Glenbrook, netting 20.7 points and 11.2 rebounds, in addition to 3.4 blocked shots and 3.1 assists. A second team all-state honoree by the Chicago Tribune and Associated Press, he also garnered all-conference recognition.
Knight, a 6-9, 265-pound forward, averaged 16.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.3 steals and 3.1 blocked shots as a junior while being tabbed as an all-Mountain Valley Conference first-team selection. He led Dirigo to back-to-back Mountain Valley Conference crowns in 2007 and 2008 and runner-up finishes in those two seasons in the Class C Western Maine regional finals.