Previewing Notre Dame

Eric Atkins and Notre Dame will be looking to knock off NC State tonight in South Bend. Here is a quick preview of the Fighting Irish.

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    PROJECTED STARTERS
    G- 00 Eric Atkins (13.6 ppg, 4.9 apg)
    G- 23 Demetrius Jackson (7.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg)
    G- 24 Pat Connaughton (13.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg)
    F- 30 Zach Auguste (6.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg)
    C- 11 Garrick Sherman (14.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg)

    STAR WATCH
    Eric Atkins -- A point guard capable of impacting the game through facilitating or scoring, Atkins has scored in double-figures in each of the last three games and is averaging 19.6 ppg and shooting 60.6 % (20-33) from the field in those three contests.

    He has been named ACC Player of the Week each of the last two weeks.


    Notre Dame Notables

    FIGHTING IRISH AWAIT WOLFPACK
    Notre Dame (10-4, 1-0) will look to start its inaugural Atlantic Coast Conference campaign 2-0 when the Fighting Irish play host to North Carolina State (10-4, 0-1) Tuesday night at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. Tip-off is slated for 9 p.m. (ET).

  • The game will be broadcast by the ACC Network with Tim Brando (play-by-play) and Mike Gminski (analyst) calling the action.

  • A free audio broadcast will be available on WatchND.tv. Jack Nolan will handle play-by-play duties, while former Irish standout Jordan Cornette will serve as the analyst.

    THE NC STATE SERIES
    Tuesday will be the eighth meeting all-time between Notre Dame and North Carolina State and the first since a 61-48 Wolfpack victory on Nov. 26, 2005, in Indianapolis. The Fighting Irish lead the series 4-3.

  • This will be the first time the two teams have squared off at Notre Dame since Feb. 13, 1982. North Carolina State is 2-1 at Notre Dame.

  • The first meeting between the two programs occurred on Feb. 21, 1978. The Fighting Irish won that contest, 70-59, inside the Joyce Center. The Irish and Wolfpack met every season from 1977-78 to 1982-83.

    NOTRE DAME OPENS ACC ERA WITH WIN OVER DUKE
    Saturday was a historic day for Notre Dame as it opened its Atlantic Coast Conference era with a 79-77 victory over No. 7 Duke. The win snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Blue Devils that began in 1988. It was Notre Dame's first victory over Duke since a 70-66 overtime win on Feb. 15, 1987, at the Joyce Center.

    WHAT A RUN
    Duke's largest lead on Saturday was 10 points (60-50) with 11:35 left in the second half, but Notre Dame responded with a 10-0 run to tie the game with 8:01 remaining.

    In fact, the Irish extended it to a 20-4 run to take their largest lead (70-64) of the game with 4:18 left to play.

    FIGHTING IRISH TAKE DOWN ANOTHER TOP-10 FOE
    Saturday's win over No. 7 Duke gave Notre Dame its fifth straight home victory over a team ranked in the top-10 of the Associated Press poll.

  • Under head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame is 13-6 at home against teams ranked in the top-10 of the AP poll.

  • Overall, Notre Dame is 5-4 in its last nine showdowns with an AP top-10 foe. The Irish are 18-27 against teams ranked in the top-10 of the AP poll under Brey.

    IRISH SWEEP ACC WEEKLY HONORS
    For their efforts in Saturday's win over Duke, senior point guard Eric Atkins and freshman guard Steve Vasturia earned weekly honors from the Atlantic Coast Conference. Atkins was named the league's player of the week for the second straight week, while Vasturia was tapped as the rookie of the week for the first time.

  • Atkins notched a double-double with 19 points and 11 assists. He committed just two turnovers in a team-high 38 minutes against the Blue Devils.

  • Vasturia came off the bench to register career-high marks in points (9) and rebounds (4) versus Duke. The rookie was 3-of-5 from three-point range in a career-high tying 22 minutes on the court.

    ATKINS ON THE ATTACK
    Senior point guard Eric Atkins has scored in double-figures in each of the last three games and is averaging 19.6 ppg. and shooting 60.6 % (20-33) from the field in those three contests.

  • Atkins has been named ACC Player of the Week each of the last two weeks.

  • He recorded his first double-double of the season and the fifth of his career by tallying 19 points and 11 assists in Saturday's win over Duke. He committed just two turnovers in a team-high 38 minutes against the Blue Devils.

  • He scored a career-high 30 points and played all 45 minutes in the overtime victory over Canisius on Dec. 29. He was the first Irish player to score 30 points since Tim Abromaitis and Ben Hansbrough both netted 30 against Villanova on Feb. 28, 2011. Atkins deposited a career-high six three pointers (on eight attempts) and finished 10-of-14 from the field. The six treys were a team-high total this season.

    SHERMAN ON A HOT STREAK
    Senior center Garrick Sherman has scored in double-figures in each of the last 11 games. That is a career-best streak and the longest streak for any Notre Dame player this season. He is averaging career bests in points (14.4) and rebounds (7.6) this season.

  • Sherman has registered three double-doubles in the last six games. His three double-doubles are tied for the team lead this season.

  • Sherman is shooting a team-best 52.7% (79-150) from the field. He also is shooting 73.3% (44-60) from the free throw line. Heading into the season, Sherman was just 31-47 (66.0%) from the line at Notre Dame and was a career 55.7% (49-88) free-throw shooter.

  • He tallied a career-high 29 points at Iowa (Dec. 3) as he was 12-of-18 from the field against the Hawkeyes. Sherman pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds against Bryant (Dec. 9).

  • Sherman also has a team-high 16 blocked shots this season.

    PAT AN ALL-AROUND PERFORMER
    Junior swingman Pat Connaughton produced an all-around performance on Saturday against Duke. He netted 16 points, pulled down eight rebounds and dished out five assists in 37 minutes on the floor. Connaughton was 6-of- 9 from the floor, including 2-of-2 from threepoint range.

  • Connaughton is averaging career-bests of 13.4 points and 7.3 rebounds this season. He has scored in double-figures in 11 games this season, including eight times in the last nine contests.

  • He has topped the 20-point mark twice this season (Delaware 21, North Dakota State 21).

  • Connaughton's three double-doubles this season are tied with Garrick Sherman for the team lead.

    BURGETT HAS A BLOCK PARTY
    Sophomore forward Austin Burgett's career-high five blocked shots against Duke were the most for an Irish player since Jack Cooley had six versus Evansville in the 2012-13 season opener.

    ATKINS ASSISTING THE IRISH
    Senior point guard Eric Atkins' 2.36 career assist-to-turnover ratio ranks third among all active Division I players.

  • Atkins has 502 careers assists and just 213 turnovers. The career assist total currently ranks 13th nationally. This season, Atkins has 69 assists and 25 turnovers for a 2.76 assist-to-turnover ratio, which is the seventh-best in the ACC.

  • On Saturday versus Duke, Atkins dished out a season-high 11 assists and had only two turnovers. Those were the most assists for any Irish player this season and it marked the sixth time of his career that he had 10-plus assists in a game.

    TAKING CARE OF THE BASKETBALL
    Notre Dame ranks fifth nationally and first in the ACC with a 1.74 assist-to-turnover ratio. The Irish have the country's eighth-best assists-per-game mark (17.9), which also is first in the ACC.

  • On Saturday versus Duke, Notre Dame committed just six turnovers and had an assist on 18 of its 30 made field goals.

  • The Irish have dished off 20 or more assists in five contests this season and they have committed fewer than 10 turnovers in seven games.

    CASHING IN FROM THE CHARITY STRIPE
    Notre Dame ranks 30th nationally in free throw percentage (.746). That is the fourth-best percentage in the ACC.

    DRAINING FROM DEEP
    Eric Atkins (142) and Pat Connaughton (133) rank 12th and 14th, respectively, in Notre Dame history in three-point field goals made.

  • Connaughton is 34-of-76 (.447) from three-point range this season, while Atkins is 25-of-63 (.397).

  • As a team, Notre Dame is shooting 39.7% from beyond the arc. That ranks 31st nationally and is the third-best mark in the ACC.

    IRONMEN
    Junior Pat Connaughton has never missed a game during his Fighting Irish career. He has played in all 83 games, including 67 starts. Connaughton has started 64 consecutive contests. He is averaging 34.7 minutes per game this season.

  • Senior point guard Eric Atkins has played in 79 straight games (all starts). He has only missed two contests during his Notre Dame career and has competed in 115 games (87 starts). Atkins is averaging a team-high 36.6 minutes per game this season. That figure ranks 16th nationally and is first in the ACC. He is averaging 34.2 minutes per game during his career.

    PLAYING WELL IN PURCELL
    The Fighting Irish are 126-11 at home since the beginning of the 2006-07 season. That .920 winning percentage over the course of the last eight seasons ranks fifth nationally.

    FIGHTING IRISH FACTS
    Since the beginning of the 2010- 11 season, Notre Dame is 36-2 when shooting 50% or above from the field, 63-5 when outrebounding its opponent and 65-5 when leading at halftime.

    CONFERENCE CAROUSEL With Notre Dame's move to the Atlantic Coast Conference, senior center Garrick Sherman now is playing in the third different conference during his collegiate career. Sherman played his first two seasons (2009-11) in the Big Ten Conference while at Michigan State and then transferred to Notre Dame following the 2010-11 campaign. After sitting out the 2011-12 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Sherman played last year in Notre Dame's final season in the BIG EAST Conference.

    OVERTIME EXCELLENCE
    Last Sunday's 87-81 win over Canisius improved Notre Dame to 7-1 in its last eight overtime contests. The Fighting Irish have won four straight games that have been decided in overtime. Notre Dame is 14-9 in overtime contests under head coach Mike Brey.


    Notre Dame athletics contributed to this report.


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