Dec. 13, 2012
#22/24 NOTRE DAME (8-1)
Close the Gap Crossroads Classic
#22/24 IRISH TO FACE BOILERMAKERS IN CROSSROADS CLASSIC
- #22/24 Notre Dame (8-1) will battle Big Ten rival Purdue (4-5) on Saturday in the second annual Close the Gap Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. The showdown is the second game of a doubleheader. Indiana and Butler meet in the first contest at 2 p.m. (ET) followed by Notre Dame and Purdue at 4:30 p.m. (ET).
- The Fighting Irish will bring a six-game win streak into Saturday's contest. Notre Dame is coming off an 84-57 victory over Brown on Dec. 8.
- Saturday's game can be seen on ESPN2/WatchESPN. Dave O'Brien (play-by-play) and Dan Dakich (analyst) will be on the call.
- Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Jordan Cornette (analyst) will call the action on radio. The broadcast is available on Sirius/XM channel 91 and can also be heard for free on UND.com (full affiliate listings on Pg. 2).
- This will be the 41st meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Purdue and the first since a 71-59 Irish home victory in the first round of the 2004 Postseason NIT. The series is tied at 20 wins apiece.
- Saturday is the 96th anniversary of the first-ever meeting between Notre Dame and Purdue, a 21-18 Boilermaker victory in West Lafayette, Ind. In fact, the Fighting Irish and Boilermakers have met six previous times on Dec. 15.
- Prior to the 2004 meeting, the Irish and Boilermakers had not squared off since the 1965-66 season. Notre Dame and Purdue met 28 times from 1942-66 (24 seasons).
- The Fighting Irish and Boilermakers have met nine previous times in Indianapolis. Notre Dame is 7-2 in those contests, which all took place inside Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse. The last showdown in Indianapolis was a 70-58 Purdue victory on Dec. 27, 1960.
- Saturday will be the first-ever meeting between Mike Brey and Matt Painter as head coaches. Brey is 1-1 all-time against Purdue (1-0 at Notre Dame). His first NCAA tournament game as a head coach was against the Boilermakers. Brey's Delaware squad fell to a Gene Keady-led Purdue team, 95-56, in the first round of the 1998 tournament in Chicago, Ill.
FIGHTING IRISH IN INDY
- Under head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame is 4-4 in Indianapolis, including a 2-3 mark in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
- The Fighting Irish fell to Indiana, 69-58, during last season's Crossroads Classic inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Notre Dame's last victory inside the venue was a 92-60 win over Lafayette on Nov. 14, 2006. Brey's third victory at Notre Dame was a 69-51 triumph over No. 14/15 Cincinnati on Nov. 25, 2000, inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
- The Fighting Irish advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 2003 NCAA Championship under Brey by notching wins over Wisconsin-Milwaukee (70-69) and Illinois (68-60) inside the RCA Dome. Those were the only two times a Brey-coached Notre Dame team played inside the RCA Dome.
- The Irish fell to Ohio State (67-62) on Dec. 6, 2008, in their only game played inside Lucas Oil Stadium.
BATTLING THE BIG TEN
- Notre Dame is 231-207 all-time against teams currently in the Big Ten Conference. That includes a 5-10 mark under head coach Mike Brey.
- Purdue is the first Big Ten foe the Irish have faced since a 69-58 setback to Indiana during last season's Crossroads Classic.
BREY HAS BOILERMAKER CONNECTION IN FAMILY
- Mike Brey's mother, the former Betty Mullen, graduated from Purdue University and swam for the AAU team in West Lafayette while attending school. For a time, she held the world record in the 50-meter butterfly and competed with the U.S. team at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. She was inducted into the Indiana Swimming Hall of Fame in Indianapolis. Brey's mother also was a Purdue majorette and was present at Notre Dame Stadium on October 2, 1954, when the 19th-ranked Boilermakers upset the top-ranked Irish 27-14 on the gridiron. She also was head coach of the women's swim team at George Washington University, Brey's alma mater.
BUSY STRETCH TO END SEMESTER
- Saturday's contest will be the first of four games in a seven-day stretch for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame will play Monday (IPFW), Wednesday (Kennesaw State) and Friday (Niagara). All three games will take place inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. Following the Niagara contest, the Irish will return to the floor Jan. 5 against Seton Hall in the BIG EAST opener.
PLAYING WELL IN PURCELL
- The Fighting Irish are 107-7 in their last 114 games played at home. That .939 home winning percentage over the course of the last seven seasons ranks second nationally. Kansas is first with a .965 mark.
- The Irish are 42-1 (.977) in their last 43 home games. Notre Dame has a current 13-game home win streak.
- Notre Dame has won 25 straight non-conference home games and the Irish are 66-1 in their last 67 non-league home contests. Notre Dame's last non-conference home loss was an 87-85 setback to Loyola Marymount on Dec. 12, 2009.
- The Fighting Irish are allowing just 58.3 points per game this season. That is the best mark for the Irish through the first nine contests of a season since 2004-05 when they allowed 57.6 points per game.
- Notre Dame opponents are shooting just 37.5% (196-522) from the floor this season. That includes a 31.8% (48-151) mark from three-point range.
PROTECTING THE ROCK
- Notre Dame is third nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.73) and fourth in assists per game (18.7).
- The Irish had a season-low three turnovers in Saturday's win over Brown. Notre Dame ranks 17th nationally in fewest turnovers per game (10.8).
- Notre Dame ranks 14th nationally in shooting percentage with a .490 (251-512) mark.
- Senior forward Jack Cooley is 16th nationally with a .608 (48-79) shooting percentage. Senior center Garrick Sherman is shooting .615 (32-52) from the field although he doesn't have enough attempts to qualify for the NCAA rankings.
- The Fighting Irish are second nationally in fewest personal fouls per game (11.9). Notre Dame committed a season-low seven fouls against Brown on Saturday.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE DOMINANCE FROM COOLEY
- Senior forward Jack Cooley is tied for second nationally with seven double-doubles this season. He has posted four straight double-doubles and has 20 over the last two seasons. The four consecutive double-doubles matches a career-best streak that he also achieved last season.
- Cooley is averaging team-best totals in points (14.2) and rebounds (11.3). The rebound mark is tied for ninth nationally.
ATKINS ASSISTING THE IRISH EFFORT
- Junior point guard Eric Atkins is tied for eighth nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (5.25) and is tied for ninth nationally in assists per game (7.0). Atkins has 33 assists and one turnover in the last four games.
- Atkins has three double-doubles this season (points & assists). He had 10 points and a career-high 12 assists in Saturday's win over Brown.
GRANT IN A GROOVE
- Junior guard Jerian Grant has a team-best seven-game double-figure scoring streak. That is the longest such streak for any Irish player this season. He is averaging 12.9 points and 5.1 assists per game this season. Both marks rank second on the Irish squad.
- He produced 22 points and a career-high 10 assists against Chicago State on Nov. 26. The point total matched a career-high output. It was the second double-double of his career.
MARTIN NEARING 1,000 CAREER POINTS
- Scott Martin enters Saturday's game with 976 career points (9.2 ppg). Martin has tallied 704 points in his three-plus seasons at Notre Dame. He scored 272 points during his freshman season at Purdue.
- Martin is 9-17 (.529) from three-point range in the last three games.
BIEDSCHEID A LIFT OFF THE BENCH
- Freshman forward Cameron Biedscheid scored a career-high 17 points in Saturday's win over Brown. That was his second straight double-figure effort and his third of the season.
- Biedscheid is 11-18 (.611) from three-point range in the last four games.
TAMING THE CATS
- Kentucky's 50 points in Notre Dame's 64-50 triumph on Nov. 29 were the fewest allowed by the Irish against a top-10 team since a 52-47 home win over No. 5 Maryland on Jan. 28, 1984. They were the fewest points for the Wildcats since a 73-46 loss at Kansas on Jan. 7, 2006.
- Kentucky entered the contest averaging 85.2 points per game and shooting 55.8% from the field. The Wildcats managed just 50 points and shot 40.4% (19-47) from the floor
BREY VS. TOP 10
- The 64-50 win over #8 Kentucky on Nov. 29 improved Notre Dame to 17-23 (.425) against teams ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll under head coach Mike Brey. That includes a 12-6 mark at home.
- Notre Dame has won four straight against top-10 opponents are 5-1 in the last six games against top-10 teams.
- The Irish are 5-4 versus non-conference top-10 opponents under Brey.
- Under Brey, unranked Notre Dame squads are 10-16 against top-10 teams.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE TIMES THREE
- Notre Dame had three players record double-doubles in the win over Chicago State on Nov. 26 (Jerian Grant 22 points, 10 assists; Eric Atkins 13 points, 11 assists; Jack Cooley 11 points, 11 rebounds). It's the first time the Irish had three double-double performers since Nov. 17, 2010. That game also was against Chicago State.
- Atkins and Grant joined elite company with their efforts. In the last 15 years, only one other pair of teammates had points and assists double-doubles in the same game. That was Connecticut's Jerome Dyson and Kemba Walker in 2010 against Notre Dame.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
- Notre Dame has had at least five double-figure scorers in four games this season. The Irish had a season-high six double-digit scorers in the victory against Chicago State on Nov. 26 (Jerian Grant 22, Eric Atkins 13, Garrick Sherman 12, Jack Cooley 11, Scott Martin 11, Pat Connaughton 10).
SHERMAN IS SHINING
- Senior center Garrick Sherman missed Saturday's game versus Brown, but he has scored in double-figures in three of the last four games in which he's played. He is leading the team with a .615 (32-52) shooting percentage this season (minimum 20 attempts).
- During his two seasons at Michigan State, Sherman had one double-digit scoring effort and he already has notched four this season. He tallied a career-high 22 points against Monmouth (Nov. 12). He also hauled down a career-best nine rebounds in that contest.
A VETERAN PRESENCE
- The quintet of Eric Atkins (Jr./G), Pat Connaughton (So./G-F), Jack Cooley (Sr./F), Jerian Grant (Jr./G) and Scott Martin (GS/G) has started 23 of the last 24 games for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame has gone 18-5 in those contests, including a 7-1 mark this season.
- The Irish returned 2,003 of their 2,257 total points (88.7%) and 1,068 of their 1,144 rebounds (93.4%) from one season ago. The team also brought back 88.7% of its minutes played from last season.
BREY SIGNS HERALDED QUARTET IN NOVEMBER EARLY SIGNING PERIOD
- Irish head coach Mike Brey signed four players - V.J. Beachem (Fort Wayne, Ind./New Haven), Demetrius Jackson (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian), Austin Torres (Mishawaka, Ind./Penn) and Steve Vasturia (Medford, N.J./St. Joseph's Prep) - to national letters of intent during the November 2012 early signing period.
- Beachem (6-6, 180-pound small forward) averaged 19.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 2011-12. An all-state selection he played on the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Junior All-Star Team.
- Jackson averaged 22.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.0 steals as a junior while leading Marian to the Class 3A sectional title. An honorable mention All-American by MaxPreps.com, he is an all-state honoree and two-time Northern Indiana Conference Player of the Year.
- Torres (6-6, 200-pound power forward) was an all-Northern Indiana Conference honorable mention selection after averaging 10.0 points and 7.2 rebounds. He plays on the same MBA Select AAU Team as Jackson.
- Vasturia (6-5, 190-pound shooting guard) was named MVP of the Philadelphia Catholic League after leading his team to the Philadelphia 4A state championship while averaging 21.0 points and 9.3 rebounds.
COOLEY ON WOODEN AWARD PRESEASON TOP 50 LIST
- Senior forward Jack Cooley has been named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 by the Los Angeles Athletic Club. Chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball media members, the list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are the early front-runners for college basketball's most prestigious honor.
108 SEASONS AND GOING STRONG
- The 2012-13 campaign marks the 108th season of basketball at Notre Dame and the 18th season as a member of the BIG EAST Conference. Notre Dame teams have posted an all-time record of 1731-940 for a .648 winning percentage. In 17 seasons as a member of the BIG EAST, the Irish own a 160-130 (.552) record in conference regular-season play.
FIGHTING IRISH PICKED THIRD IN BIG EAST PREASEASON COACHES' POLL
- Notre Dame was picked to finish third in the BIG EAST's Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Irish received one first-place vote. Defending BIG EAST tournament champion and 2012 NCAA Final Four participant, Louisville, was the choice to win this year's regular-season crown as the Cardinals garnered 14 votes (coaches are not permitted to vote for their own team). Louisville finished the '11-'12 campaign with a final 31-6 record. Syracuse was tabbed for second place as the Orange are coming off a program-best 34-3 season.
COOLEY AND GRANT GARNER PRESEASON BIG EAST ACCOLADES
- Senior forward Jack Cooley earned a spot on the preseason all-BIG EAST first team. Cooley was a second team all-conference selection as a junior after averaging 14.6 points and 10.2 rebounds in league play.
- Junior guard Jerian Grant was named to the league's preseason honorable mention team. Grant averaged 12.3 points and 5.3 assists per game in BIG EAST play last season en route to being named to the conference's all-rookie team.
- Scott Martin (GS/G), Jack Cooley (Sr./F) and Eric Atkins (Jr./G) will captain the Fighting Irish during the 2012-13 season. Martin and Atkins are the 20th and 21st players in program history to serve as two-time team captains.
- Every Fighting Irish game during the 2012-13 season can be seen either on television or the internet. Notre Dame will have 21 of its games covered on the ESPN family of networks. The Irish also will have two games each on CBS and TruTV.
IRISH AIM FOR SEVENTH STRAIGHT 20-WIN CAMPAIGN
- Notre Dame has reached the 20-win mark in each of the last six seasons and nine times in the last 12 seasons under head coach Mike Brey. The last time Irish teams reached the 20-win plateau in six straight campaigns was from 1983-89 under head coach Digger Phelps.
- Mike 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. Brey stands fifth all-time in career BIG EAST victories (both regular-season and tournament) with his 133-89 (.599) mark. He is one of nine coaches in BIG EAST history to record 100 conference wins.
- 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.
- 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.
BIG EAST BEASTS
- Notre Dame is 31-9 (.775) over its last 40 BIG EAST regular-season contests, including a 24-6 (.800) mark in the last 30 league games.
- The Irish have gone 70-36 (.660) in BIG EAST regular-season play over the past six seasons. That is tied with Pittsburgh for the third-best mark in the league over that time span.
- Notre Dame has gone 47-6 (.887) at home in BIG EAST play over the last six seasons. That is the best home winning percentage for any BIG EAST school in league play over that time period.
NOTRE DAME LISTED AS POTENTIAL HOST FOR ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY
- The ESPN College Basketball GameDay cameras could be returning to Notre Dame during the 2012-13 campaign. ESPN released its College GameDay schedule and Notre Dame's matchup with defending BIG EAST tournament champion and 2012 NCAA Final Four participant Louisville on February 9, 2013, at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center is listed as one of two potential sites for the game. The other game that day which could be part of the Saturday Primetime broadcast is Pittsburgh at Cincinnati.
- The site of the Feb. 9 contest will be chosen closer to the date of the game. The GameDay matchup will be played at 9 p.m. (ET) on ESPN and the game not chosen will be televised by either ESPN or ESPN2 at 6 p.m. that evening.
- Notre Dame has hosted the Saturday morning show and primetime basketball contest on one other time -- Jan. 24, 2009, when the Irish played Connecticut.
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.