Notre Dame (4-0) vs. #24/25 Missouri (3-0)
Progressive CBE Classic Semifinal
Nov. 21, 2011 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Sprint Center (18,555)
Kansas City, Mo.
Dan Shulman (play-by-play)
Dick Vitale (analyst) Radio: Broadcast on UND.com
Jack Nolan (play-by-play) Jordan Cornette (analyst) Live Stats:
IRISH HEAD TO KANSAS CITY FOR CBE CLASSIC SEMIFINALS
Notre Dame (4-0) will head to Kansas City, Mo., to face Missouri (3-0) on Monday in the semifinals of the Progressive CBE Classic. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. (ET) inside the Sprint Center. The game will be aired on ESPN2 with Dan Shulman (play-by-play) and Dick Vitale (analyst) calling the action.
This will be the ninth meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Missouri and the first since the 1994-95 season. The Tigers lead the series 6-2 (series breakdown on page 2 of this notes packet). Irish head coach Mike Brey has never faced Missouri.
Missouri is the first Big 12 Conference opponent the Fighting Irish have faced since they defeated Texas, 81-80, in the semifinals of the 2008 EA Sports Maui Invitational (Nov. 25, 2008). Notre Dame is 20-12 all-time against teams currently in the Big 12.
This is the first trip to Kansas City for the Fighting Irish since they were the runner-up at the 2002 CBE Classic, which was then called the Guardians Classic.
The Fighting Irish Digital Media radio crew of Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Jordan Cornette (analyst) will call the action on radio (affiliate listings on Pg. 5) and their broadcast can also be heard on UND.com.
Notre Dame currently has a 23-game home win streak.
Notre Dame is off to a 4-0 start for the fourth straight season and for the seventh time under head coach Mike Brey (12 seasons). The Irish are in pursuit of their third straight 5-0 start.
PROGRESSIVE CBE CLASSIC
Notre Dame went 2-0 in regional-round action of the CBE Classic by capturing home wins over Detroit (59-53) and Sam Houston State (74-41). Missouri defeated Mercer (81-63) and Niagara (83-52) in the regional round.
The Fighting Irish will face either California or Georgia in the championship/consolation game on Tuesday.
Notre Dame was the runner-up in the 2002 event when it was called the Guardians Classic. The Irish topped Belmont (76-48) and IUPUI (89-45) at home before traveling to Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium for the semifinals and final. Notre Dame bested Furman (75-50) in the semifinals before falling to Creighton (80-75) in the title game.
Forward Tim Abromaitis will return to the Fighting Irish lineup on Monday following a four-game suspension. The Notre Dame graduate student missed the first four games of the regular season due to a misunderstanding in the technicality of an NCAA rule governing seasons of competition that dates back to the 2008-09 campaign.
In his sophomore year ('08-'09), Abromaitis played in Notre Dame's first two exhibition games against Briar Cliff (Oct. 31) and Stonehill (Nov. 9) and then was withheld from competition for the remainder of the season in order to preserve an extra year of eligibility. Under NCAA rules, and specifically Bylaw 18.104.22.168.3, freshman student-athletes are allowed to participate in preseason exhibition contests and still preserve the entire year of eligibility. The Bylaw, however, does not provide the same exception for returning student-athletes in their sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Therefore, Abromaitis technically used a season of eligibility when he participated in those two preseason exhibition contests during that year.
Abromaitis' fifth year of eligibility has been preserved for this season due to an NCAA waiver that took into consideration the Notre Dame men's basketball coaching staff's misunderstanding of the rule and on the condition that he be withheld from the first four regular-season games.
Last Saturday's season opener was the first game Abromaitis missed since he sat out the 2008-09 campaign. He had played in 69 straight contests.
Abromaitis averaged 15.4 ppg. and 6.1 rpg. last season.
Five different Irish players - Joey Brooks (Jr./G), Jack Cooley (Jr./F), Jerian Grant (So./G), Alex Dragicevich (So./G) and Pat Connaughton (Fr./G-F) - have made their first career start this season. Notre Dame has used three different starting lineups in its first four games of the season (game-by-game starting lineups are listed on page 7).
Four different Irish players established or tied career-high marks in points in Friday's win over Delaware State. Senior Scott Martin deposited a career-high 23 points, while sophomore Alex Dragicevich and junior Mike Broghammer tallied career-best point totals of 18 and nine, respectively. Sophomore Jerian Grant matched a career-high total with 17 points.
COOLEY COMING TO PLAY
Junior forward Jack Cooley notched his first career double-double by registering 11 points and 17 rebounds in Friday's win over Delaware State. The 17 rebounds, which included 10 offensive boards, were a career-high total for Cooley. He became the first Irish player to haul down that many rebounds in a game since Luke Harangody had 17 against Louisville during the 2008-09 season (Feb. 12, 2009).
Cooley leads the Irish with a 10.3 rpg. average this season.
CRASHING THE BOARDS
Notre Dame out-rebounded Delaware State 46-24 in Friday's victory. The Fighting Irish had 21 offensive rebounds, which resulted in 28 second-chance points. Those were the most offensive boards for the Irish since they had 21 against DePaul during the 2007-08 season (Feb. 2, 2008).
GRANT HITTING THE GROUND RUNNING
Sophomore guard Jerian Grant, who sat out all of last season, is the only Fighting Irish player to score in double-figures in all four games this season. He is the first first-year Notre Dame player to reach double-figures in points in his first four games since Luke Harangody began his career with five straight double-digit games during the 2006-07 season.
Grant is averaging 14.0 ppg., which ranks second among all Irish players.
FRESHMAN ON FIRE
Pat Connaughton's 24 points against Sam Houston State on Wednesday were the most for a Notre Dame freshman since Torin Francis had 25 against Arizona in the Sweet 16 of the 2003 NCAA Tournament (March 27, 2003).
Connaughton's 24 points off the bench in the Sam Houston State game were the most bench points by an Irish player since Chris Quinn netted 25 against Quinnipiac during the 2003-04 campaign (Dec. 23, 2003).
SHARING THE ROCK
Notre Dame has had 41 assists on its 57 made baskets over the course of the past two games. For the season, the Irish have had an assist on 72 of their 100 field goals. Sophomore guard Jerian Grant leads the Irish with 21 assists (5.3 apg.)
DRAINING FROM DEEP
The Irish are 21-42 (.500) from three-point range in their past two games. Notre Dame drained 10 treys (on 19 attempts) against Sam Houston State and followed that up with an 11-for-23 performance versus Delaware State. The Fighting Irish made 10 or more three-pointers in a game seven times last season.
The 41 points scored by Sam Houston State on Wednesday were the fewest for an Irish opponent since Monmouth scored 33 in a 76-33 Irish victory during the 2007-08 season (Nov. 16, 2007).
The Fighting Irish held Sam Houston State to just 16 first-half points. Those were the fewest points by a Notre Dame opponent in a half since California scored five first-half points last season (Nov. 26, 2010).
Notre Dame limited Detroit to just a 30.9% (21-68) shooting clip from the field in Monday's 59-53 victory. The Titans shot just 26.3% (10-38) from the field in the second half.
Notre Dame held Detroit without a field goal from the 14:04 mark of the second half until the 6:23 mark, a span of 7:41.
Irish opponents are shooting just 37.4% (89-238) from the field this season.
The Fighting Irish are in the middle of a stretch that has them playing eight games in an 18-day span. The stretch will end with a road test at Gonzaga on Nov. 30.
ATKINS ON THE ATTACK
Sophomore point guard Eric Atkins has missed the past two games due to illness. Those were the first two missed games of his Irish career.
Atkins registered a team-high point total in the first two games this season. He scored a career-high 27 points in the season-opening victory over Mississippi Valley State and then deposited 13 points against Detroit.
Against Mississippi Valley State, Atkins was 6-of-7 from the field, including 3-of-3 from three-point range, and 12-of-12 from the free-throw line. Both the three-point and free-throw totals were career-high figures.
Atkins' perfect day from the charity stripe against the Delta Devils marked the most makes without a miss for an Irish player in a game since Tim Abromaitis also went 12-of-12 against Seton Hall on Feb. 11, 2010.
ABROMAITIS EARNS PRESEASON ACCOLADES
Notre Dame forward Tim Abromaitis has been selected to the preseason watch lists for both the John R. Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy. Both awards are presented annually to the national player of the year. Fifty student-athletes appear on both watch lists.
Abromaitis was named to the six-man preseason All-BIG EAST First Team.
The Fighting Irish forward also is one of 30 candidates up for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.
412 AND COUNTING
Notre Dame has made at least one three-pointer in 412 straight contests dating back to the 1998-99 campaign. The Fighting Irish have made at least one three pointer during every game of the Mike Brey era. The last time an Irish team failed to hit a three-pointer in a game was in a 101-70 loss to Connecticut at the Hartford Civic Center on Jan. 12, 1999. Notre Dame finished 0-7 from beyond the arc in that contest. In 2008-09, the Irish set a single-season three-point record with 319.
Eight teams on Notre Dame's 2011-12 schedule are ranked in the latest Associated Press top-25 poll. Six of the squads - #4 Connecticut, #5 Syracuse, #8 Louisville, #9 Pittsburgh, #20 Cincinnati and #21 Marquette - are BIG EAST foes, while the Fighting Irish will face #22 Gonzaga and #24 Missouri in non-conference action. The Irish will face fourth-ranked UConn twice during the regular season. Notre Dame could also face #23 California in the CBE Classic.
BACK TO THE BB&T
Notre Dame will meet Maryland on Dec. 4 in the BB&T Classic at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The Fighting Irish will be making their third appearance in the event, which is held annually in the nation's capital. Each of the last two meetings between Notre Dame and Maryland has occurred at the BB&T Classic. Notre Dame topped Maryland, 79-67, in 2002 en route to the event title. The Irish bested the Terrapins, 81-74, in the 2006 BB&T Classic.
Notre Dame will battle instate rival Indiana in the inaugural Crossroads Classic at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. The game between the Irish and the Hoosiers is part of a doubleheader on Saturday, Dec. 17. Purdue and Butler meet in the first game at 2:00 p.m. (ET) followed by Notre Dame and Indiana at 4:30 p.m. (ET).
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION
o Notre Dame will have 17 television appearances during the 2011-12 season. The Irish will appear on ESPN's family of networks 16 times in addition to being on CBS once.
Freshman guard/forward Pat Connaughton also is a pitcher on the Fighting Irish baseball team. Connaughton is the 66th Notre Dame student-athlete to compete in both basketball and baseball and the first to do so since Tom Hansen during the 1973-74 academic year.
Tim Abromaitis and Scott Martin will captain the Fighting Irish during the 2011-12 season. Abromaitis is the 19th player in program history to serve as a two-time team captain.
WHAT A RUN
Notre Dame has posted a 100-42 (.704) record since the beginning of the 2007-08 season. The 100 wins are the most victories in program history over a five-year span.
The past four seasons has produced the most regular-season BIG EAST victories (46) in school history. The Irish have gone 46-26 in BIG EAST regular-season play over the past four seasons.
Last season's 27 wins (27-7) were the most in the modern era of Fighting Irish basketball. Notre Dame's highest win total ever was 33 (33-7) in 1908-09.
The 14 regular-season BIG EAST victories in 2010-11 tied the program standard. The Fighting Irish went 14-4 in BIG EAST play in 2007-08.
Notre Dame's 15 BIG EAST wins (14 regular season, 1 tournament) last season were the most in program history (combined regular season and tournament).
Mike Brey is in his 12th season along the Irish sidelines. He is the third-longest tenured coach in the BIG EAST, behind only Jim Boeheim of Syracuse and Jim Calhoun of Connecticut. Brey stands sixth all-time in career BIG EAST victories (both regular-season and tournament) with his 119-83 (.589) mark. He is one of eight coaches in BIG EAST history to record 100 conference wins.