Notre Dame (1-0, 0-0 BIG EAST)
Monmouth (0-2, 0-0 Northeast)
Friday, November 16, 2007 * 8:30 p.m. (EST)
University of the Virgin Islands Sports & Fitness Center * St. Thomas, USVI
MEDIA INFORMATION Television: None
Radio: Jack Nolan (play-by-play analyst), LaPhonso Ellis (color analyst), Notre Dame Sports Properties originates the Notre Dame Radio Network
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WAMW 107.9 FM and 1580 AM in Washington, Ind., and www.und.com.
Real-Time Stats: Live in-game statistics are available for all home
games, via the Notre Dame athletic website (www.und.com).
Notre Dame vs. Monmouth
Notre Dame plays its second foe from the Northeast
Conference when it faces the Hawks in the opening round of the
Paradise Jam. The Irish are making their first-ever appearance in
the Paradise Jam playing in an in-season tournament for the second
time in as many years. Last season, Notre Dame played in the
Preseason National Invitation Tournament and fell to Butler (71-69)
in opening round action and then came back to defeat Lafayette
(92-60) in the consolation game.
The Irish and the Hawks will be meeting for the fourth time
and first since November 25, 2001 in the title game of the
Hawaii-Pacific Thanksgiving Classic with Notre Dame earning the
championship trophy 85-48.
Opening In Style
Notre Dame opened up the season in resounding fashion at
the Joyce Center last Monday evening (Nov. 12) as the Irish defeated
Long Island 82-50. Notre Dame was led by Rob Kurz' 19 points and 10
rebounds, while Luke Harangody finished with 15 points and six
boards. Zach Hillesland was the other Irish player in double figures
as he finished with 12 points. Tory Jackson (eight assists) and Kyle
McAlarney (seven assists) combined to dish out 15 of Notre Dame's 28
assists on 35 baskets (0.8 assist-to-basket ratio).
After opening up against Long Island on Monday and with the
three games scheduled at the Paradise Jam, Notre Dame will begin its
season with four games in one week. It's a busy start for the Irish
who will have an uncharacteristic two-week layoff from Dec. 8-22. In
fact, Notre Dame will play six games during the month of November and
only five in the month of December.
Bringing Out The Best In The Irish
Notre Dame is playing in its fifth in-season tournament
under head coach Mike Brey. The Irish have won two of the four
tournaments that they have participated in. They were victorious in
the 2002 Hawaii Pacific Tournament and won the tournament by posting
wins over Hawaii-Pacific (98-58), Tennessee-Chattanooga (92-84) and
Monmouth (85-48). Notre Dame's other tournament victory came a year
later at the prestigious BB&T Classic Washington, D.C. in December of
2002 as it picked up wins over Maryland (76-67) and Texas (98-92) in
the championship game. That same year, Notre Dame also finished
second at the Guardians Classic as the Irish posted wins over Belmont
(76-48), IUPUI (89-45) and Furman (75-50) before losing to Creighton
80-75 in the championship game.
Notre Dame is coming off of a 24-8 campaign in which the
Irish returned to the NCAA for the first time since the 2003 season
and fourth time under Irish head Mike Brey. The Irish also finished
11-5 in BIG EAST play and fourth in the final BIG EAST regular-season
standings. The 11-5 record matched the best by a Notre Dame team
since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96. After receiving a first-round
bye in the BIG EAST Championship, the Irish advanced to the
semifinals before losing to eventual tournament and regular-season
champion Georgetown (the Hoyas also would go on to reach the Final
Four of the NCAA Tournament). The Irish lost in the first round of
the NCAA Tournament, marking the first time under Brey that Notre
Dame was beaten in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The 24
wins by the Irish marked the most during the Brey era, while the
eight losses were the fewest since the 1986-87 campaign when that
squad finished with an identical 24-8 record. It also was the first
since 1988-89 that an Irish team recorded single-digit losses (21-9).
Notre Dame lost its top two scorers from a year ago Russell
Carter (17.1 ppg.) and Colin Falls (15.3 ppg.) as both were first
team all-BIG EAST selections. The Irish do return three starters in
senior forward Rob Kurz, and sophomores Luke Harangody and Tory
Jackson. Kurz is the top returning scorer (12.6 ppg.) and led Notre
Dame in rebounding a year ago with 8.0 rpg. Harangody and Jackson
were named to the BIG EAST all-rookie team after earning a combined
36 starts a year ago. Harangody, a forward, averaged 11.2 ppg. and
was the team's second-leading rebounder with 6.2 rpg. Jackson started
the final 20 games of the season at point guard and finished with a
7.8 scoring average while leading the team in assists (4.3) and
steals (1.8). He also led the BIG EAST with 6.0 assists per game in
conference play. Junior guard Kyle McAlarney also returns after
starting the first 12 games of the 2006-07 campaign and averaging
10.3 points and 5.4 assists. Junior forward Zach Hillesland is coming
off of his best season as he averaged 5.8 points and 4.8 rebounds,
while teammate Luke Zeller finished the year averaging 3.8 points and
2.2 rebounds. Junior guard Ryan Ayers will be heavily in the mix
after averaging 2.9 points, while sophomore Jonathan Peoples will
look for more minutes off the bench after averaging 1.8 points per
The Irish averaged 81.0 points per game, the most ever for
an Irish team under head coach Mike Brey, while allowing just 68.0
points per game. It also marked the first time since the 1977-78
campaign that Notre Dame averaged better than 80 points per game.
During that campaign, Notre Dame averaged 80.7 points after netting
85.4 points per game the previous season (1976-77).
Another Early Start
The season opener against Long Island will mark the second
earliest start for a Notre Dame basketball team in the 103-year
history of its program. Last season, the Irish opened up the year
with a 92-49 victory over IPFW on November 10. Prior to last year's
contest, the earliest start date for a Notre Dame team was November
13, 1998 when the Irish opened the 1998-99 campaign with a 76-65 loss
to Miami of Ohio.
Series Record vs. Monmouth
Notre Dame and Monmouth will be meeting for the fourth time
with the Irish holding a 3-0 advantage in the series. The first two
games played were at Notre Dame - the first matchup between the two
schools was in 1940 as the Irish earned an 81-34 victory and the
second-ever meeting took place in 1996 (a 73-67 win). The last time
the two teams played was in 2001 at the Hawaii-Pacific Thanksgiving
Classic in the championship as the Irish claimed the trophy with an
Irish vs. The Northeast Conference
Ironically, Notre Dame is playing a team from the Northeast
Conference for the second time in as many games. With its win over
Long Island on Monday night, the Irish improved to 21-0 all-time
versus teams for the Northeast Conference.
One Is A Lonely Number
Rob Kurz is the lone senior among the 14 players on this
year's Irish roster. The last time Notre Dame had only one senior on
the roster was during the 1983-84 season when Cecil Rucker was the
only senior member of that team that consisted of four juniors, five
sophomores and three freshmen. The 1988-89 Irish squad featured no
seniors on that team and was comprised of five juniors, two
sophomores and five freshmen.
Notre Dame joined an elite group last year when it
registered its 1,600th win against Providence on February 15, 2007.
Entering its 103rd season, Notre Dame has 1,605 victories. Only 12
other schools have reached the mark: Kentucky, North Carolina,
Kansas, Duke, Syracuse, Temple, St. John's, Pennsylvania, Indiana,
Utah and UCLA.
Eight Straight Postseason Appearances
Notre Dame's appearance in last year's NCAA tournament
field marks the fourth NCAA berth for the Irish in seven years.
Since 2000, Notre Dame has appeared in either the NCAA or NIT
tournaments each of the last eight years. The Irish played in the
2000 NIT and then earned consecutive NCAA tournament berths - 2001,
'02, '03 - followed by NIT appearances in '04, '05 and '06. This
current postseason streak matches the longest stretch since making
eight straight from 1983-90 (NIT in 1983 and '84 and NCAA from
Four 20-Win Seasons Under His Belt
Notre Dame's 24-8 campaign a year ago marked the fourth
time in seven seasons under head coach Mike Brey that the Irish won
20-plus games. The 24 wins also equaled the most for Notre Dame
during the Brey era. Notre Dame's 20-win campaigns under Brey have
been in 2000-01 (20-10), 2001-02 (22-11) and 2002-03 (24-10). In the
102-year history of the program, Notre Dame teams have won 20 or more
games on 31 occasions.
Notre Dame's 18-0 record at home last season marked just
the third time since the opening of the Joyce Center in 1968-69 that
an Irish team finished undefeated at home during the regular season
and the most wins ever in a single season. 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 were the only BIG EAST team to finish the season
undefeated at home. Dating back to 2005-06 campaign, Notre Dame has
won 21 consecutive games at home following the win over Long Island -
a streak which is tied for seventh among all Division I teams and is
the third longest in school history as well as the longest during
Mike Brey's tenure. The record for consecutive wins at the Joyce
Center is 24 (1973-74).
Notre Dame began its pursuit of breaking the Joyce Center
home win streak on Monday and extended its current win streak to 21
games after the home opener against Long Island. Currently at 21
games, it's the longest win streak at the Joyce Center and longest
during the Mike Brey era. Here's a look at the Joyce Center streaks
24 - Began with a 94-68 win over Xavier on 2/3/73 and ended
with a 94-84 loss to Indiana on 12/11/74
22 - Began with an 88-68 win over Pittsburgh on 1/26/77 and
ended with a 69-68 overtime loss to DePaul on 2/12/78
21 - Began with a 66-61 win over DePaul on 3/4/06
16 - Began with a 92-70 win over Fairfield on 12/9/82 and
ended with a 51-47 loss to UCLA on 12/3/83
16 - Began with an 89-76 win over West Virginia on 2/20/02
and ended with an 87-79 loss to Connecticut on 2/24/03
What A Difference A Year Makes
With its 11-5 record in BIG EAST play last season, Notre
Dame's win total was five more than the 2005-06 team which finished
with a 6-10 conference mark after beginning league play 1-8. Notre
Dame's 24 wins also were eight more than its total of 16 the previous
Irish Roll Under Brey In November
Irish teams have traditionally played well under Irish head
coach Mike Brey during the month of November and are 26-3 (.897)
all-time in games played during the month of November. The three
November losses have been to Creighton 80-75 in the championship game
of the Guardians Classic on Nov. 26, 2002; to North Carolina State
(61-48) at the John R. Wooden Tradition at Conseco Fieldhouse in
Indianapolis on Nov. 26, 2005; and to Butler (71-69) on Nov. 13, 2006
in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
The Irish All-Time
The 2007-08 men's basketball campaign marks the 103rd
season of basketball and 12th as a member of the BIG EAST Conference.
In 102-plus seasons, Irish teams have posted a 1606-885 record for a
.645 winning percentage. In BIG EAST play, Notre Dame owns a 101-99
(.505) record all-time in conference regular-season play.
Always In It
Since the 2005-06 campaign, Notre Dame's 22 losses have
been by a combined 116 points for an average of 5.3 points per game.
The 14 setbacks in '05-'06 were by a total of 59 points (4.2
points). The only double-digit loss was to North Carolina State
(61-47). The Irish suffered 10 BIG EAST losses during the regular
season and those were by a combined 35 points (3.5).
Putting Up The Points And Winning Impressively
Notre Dame averaged 81.0 points per game last season, the
best points per game average ever under Mike Brey. With its 82
points against Long Island in the season opener, the Irish proved
once again that they can score points. Ten of the 24 victories a
year ago were by 24 or more points, while six of those games were by
30 points or better.
Keeping It Close
In the 78 losses suffered by Irish teams in Mike Brey's
seven seasons, only 19 have been by 10 or more points and have been
by a combined 515 for an average of 6.6 points per game. Notre
Dame's 18-point loss (66-48) to Georgetown in 2006-07 was the largest
ever for an Irish team under Brey.
18-Game BIG EAST Slate
Notre Dame will play Connecticut, DePaul and Marquette
twice as part of its 2007-08 18-game BIG EAST men's basketball
conference slate. The league is employing an 18-game schedule this
year with all teams playing each other at least once and three
opponents twice (home and away). The BIG EAST utilized the 16-game
slate since the 1999-00 campaign and has not played an 180-game
conference schedule since 1998-99 when the league had 13 members.
The format was used for eight years from 1991-99.
BIG EAST Formula For Success Under Brey
Since his arrival at Notre Dame, Mike Brey has led Notre
Dame to a 66-46 (.589) record in BIG EAST regular-season games and a
3-7 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 69-53 (.566)
against league foes. In Brey's first season, the Irish posted their
first-ever winning record in BIG EAST play and won the BIG EAST 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 since
joining the league in 1995-96.
271 And Counting
Heading into the Monmouth game, Notre Dame has hit at least
one three-pointer in 271 straight games, a mark that dates back to
the 1998-99 campaign. The last time an Irish team failed to hit a
three-pointer was 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 in the game. 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 474-141 record all-time for a .770 winning
percentage. The Irish are 88-27 (.765) at the Joyce Center during
Mike Brey's six-plus seasons, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they
own a 136-43 mark for a .760 winning percentage. Notre Dame's 17 wins
at home this season marks the ninth time in 10 years that the Irish
won 10 or more home games. The Irish played their 600th game at the
Joyce Center on Nov. 27, 2006 versus Lehigh.
Over The Century Mark
Notre Dame topped the 100-point mark twice during the
2006-07 campaign and eight times under Irish head coach Mike Brey.
In Mike Brey's seven seasons, his Irish teams have compiled
a road record of 53-51 (.510) that includes a 35-36 (.492) in true
road games and a 18-15 mark (.545) in neutral site contests.
Double The Pleasure
Rob Kurz led the Irish with nine double-doubles last season
and registered his 12th career one on Monday night against Long
Island with his 19 points and 10 rebounds against the Blackbirds in
just 28 minutes. He connected on 8-12 shots from the field (1-3 from
three-point range). Eight of his 10 rebounds in the contest were on
the defensive end of the floor.
Junior Kyle McAlarney and sophomore Tory Jackson started in
the backcourt in a regular season game for the first time ever . The
duo combined for 11 points and 15 assists (eight by Jackson and seven
by McAlarney) of Notre Dame's 28 assists.
Under Irish head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame always has
done a good job of distributing the basketball and shown great
unselfishness as a team. That was again evident on Monday night when
the Irish dished off 28 assists on 35 baskets (an 0.8
Zeller Down Under
For the second straight summer in 2007, forward Luke Zeller
played with Athletes In Action, joining them this year for an
eight-game Australian tour. During the exhibition tour, he averaged
11.3 points and 6.6 rebounds and scored in double figures in five of
those contests. The previous year, he traveled to Taipei City,
Taiwan and was a member of the AIA squad that captured the gold medal
at the 2006 William Jones Cup.