2007–08 Notre Dame Fighting Irish men's basketball team

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2007-08 Notre Dame Fighting Irish men's basketball
NotreDameFightingIrish.svg
NCAA Tournament, Second Round
Conference Big East Conference (1979–2013)
Ranking
Coaches #15[1]
AP #14[2]
2007-08 record 24–7 (14–4 Big East)
Head coach Mike Brey
Assistant coach Sean Kearney
Assistant coach Gene Cross
Assistant coach Rod Balanis
Home arena Edmund P. Joyce Center
Seasons
« 2006-07 2008-09 »
2007–08 Big East men's basketball standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   PCT     W   L   PCT
#8 Georgetown 15 3   .833     28 6   .824
#13 Louisville 14 4   .778     27 9   .750
#15 Notre Dame 14 4   .778     25 8   .758
#16 Connecticut 13 5   .722     24 9   .727
West Virginia 11 7   .611     26 11   .703
#25 Marquette 11 7   .611     25 10   .714
#17 Pittsburgh 10 8   .556     27 10   .730
Villanova 9 9   .500     22 13   .629
Syracuse 9 9   .500     21 14   .600
Cincinnati 8 10   .444     13 19   .406
Seton Hall 7 11   .389     17 15   .531
Providence 6 12   .333     15 16   .484
DePaul 6 12   .333     11 19   .367
St. John's 5 13   .278     11 19   .367
South Florida 3 15   .167     12 19   .387
Rutgers 3 15   .167     11 20   .355
2008 Big East Tournament winner
As of April 7, 2008[3]; Rankings from AP Poll


The 2007–08 Notre Dame Fighting Irish men's basketball team represent the University of Notre Dame in the college basketball season of 2007-08, competing in the Big East Conference. The team is led by eighth-year head coach, Mike Brey, and play their home games in the Edmund P. Joyce Center in Notre Dame, Indiana.

The previous year's team finished with a 24–8 record and 11–5 record in Big East games. They competed in the 2007 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament and received an at-large bid in the 2007 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I men's basketball tournament, where they lost their first game. The team graduated its two top-scorers between the seasons, but returned three starters and added four recruits for 2007-08. They were picked to finish ninth in the Big East.

Notre Dame began the season playing an out of conference schedule that included the Paradise Jam Tournament and reached their conference games with a 10–2 record. Currently the team is ranked 14th in the Associated Press (AP) Poll and 15th in the Coaches Poll, and has a 24–7 record overall. The 14–4 record in conference places the team tied in second in the conference, and is the most conference wins in the history of the school. Dating to 2006, the team won 37 consecutive home games, the second longest active winning streak in the nation.

Preseason[edit]

The 2006-07 Notre Dame team finished their season with a 24–8 record that included a loss in the first round of the NCAA tournament.[4] The Irish made the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003 and the 24 wins tied the 1973-74 team for the most ever wins at Notre Dame.[5] Because of the team's accomplishments, Mike Brey was named Big East Coach of the Year.[6]

Roster changes and recruiting[edit]

Notre Dame lost its two top scorers, Russell Carter and Colin Falls, to graduation in 2007.[7] In addition to Carter and Falls, freshman, Joe Harden, who played in only 14 games throughout the season, decided to transfer from Notre Dame.[8] Kyle McAlarney, a junior, who was suspended for most of the 2006-07 season because of an arrest,[9] was re-instated onto the team.[10] With McAlarney's return, the team returned four former starters.[11]

In addition to the returning players, the Irish signed four recruits for their new class. Although the class was not highly ranked, it included two three–star athletes.

Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight Commit date
Tim Abromaitis
SF
Farmington, CT Farmington High School 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 210 lb (95 kg) Oct 27, 2006 
Scout:2/5 stars   Rivals:2/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 81
Tyrone Nash
F
Northfield, MA Northfield Mount Hermon School 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Oct 23, 2006 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 80
Ty Proffitt
PG
London, KY South Laurel High School 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Oct 25, 2006 
Scout:2/5 stars   Rivals:2/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 80
Carleton Scott
PF
San Antonio, TX Madison High School 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 200 lb (91 kg) Aug 12, 2006 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 85
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: NR   Rivals: NR
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height and weight.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.

Sources:

Pre-season outlook[edit]

With three former starters that had experience in the NCAA Tournament, the Irish hoped to have another run to the tournament.[12] However, with only five returning upperclassmen, including only one senior, the Big East's coaches picked the team to finish ninth in the conference.[13] Even so, the team entered the season with a 20 home game winning streak, dating to the end of the 2005-06 season.[11]

Regular season[edit]

Roster[edit]

Notre Dame began the season with 12 scholarship players and two walk-ons.[14] Rob Kurz, the only senior on the team, was named team captain prior to the season.[15] In the 2006-07 season, Tory Jackson took over the point guard position after Kyle McAlarney was suspended. With McAlarney's return, Brey dissolved the position and both are listed as guards.[16]

Name Number Position Year Hometown
Tim Abromaitis 21 F Freshman Farmington, CT
Tim Andree 41 F Sophomore Colts Neck, NJ
Ryan Ayers 42 F/G Junior Blue Bell, PA
Luke Harangody 44 F Sophomore Schererville, IN
Zach Hillesland 33 F Junior Toledo, OH
Tory Jackson 2 G Sophomore Saginaw, MI
Tom Kopko 5 G Freshman Chicago, IL
Rob Kurz 31 F Senior Lower Gwynedd Township, PA
Kyle McAlarney 23 G Junior Staten Island, NY
Tyrone Nash 1 G Freshman Queens, NY
Jonathan Peoples 20 G Sophomore Bellwood, IL
Ty Proffitt 13 G Freshman London, KY
Carleton Scott 34 F Freshman San Antonio, TX
Luke Zeller 40 F/C Junior Washington, IN

Coaches[edit]

Notre Dame was coached by Mike Brey and his staff. In his eighth-year at the position, Brey accumulated a 142–78 (.646) record at Notre Dame before the season.[17]

Name Type College Year
Mike Brey Head coach George Washington 1982
Sean Kearney Associate head coach Scranton 1981
Rod Balanis Assistant coach Georgia Tech 1993
Gene Cross Assistant coach Illinois 1994
Martin Ingelsby Coordinator of basketball operations Notre Dame 2001

Schedule[edit]

Notre Dame's schedule was announced on September 5, 2007. The Big East expanded all of its teams' schedules from 16 games to 18 games in conference so that all of the teams would play each other. Notre Dame added 12 games out of conference to precede them. Notre Dame plays 17 home games, eight away games, and four games on a neutral court, prior to the Big East Tournament.[18]

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance Record
November 12, 2007* 7:30 p.m. Long Island Edmund P. Joyce CenterNotre Dame, IN W 82–50  8,873 1–0
November 16, 2007* 8:30 p.m. vs. Monmouth Sports and Fitness CenterSt. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
(Paradise Jam Tournament)
W 76–33  2,132 2–0
November 18, 2007* 8:30 p.m. vs. Baylor Sports and Fitness Center • St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
(Paradise Jam Tournament)
L 68–64  2,339 2–1
November 19, 2007* 6:00 p.m. vs. Georgia Tech Sports and Fitness Center • St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
(Paradise Jam Tournament)
L 70–69  3,325 2–2
November 24, 2007* 7:30 p.m. Youngstown State Edmund P. Joyce Center • Notre Dame, IN W 87–75  7,461 3–2
November 26, 2007* 7:30 p.m. Colgate Edmund P. Joyce Center • Notre Dame, IN W 94–63  8,977 4–2
December 1, 2007* 7:00 p.m. Eastern Michigan Edmund P. Joyce Center • Notre Dame, IN W 76–65  9,277 5–2
December 4, 2007* 7:00 p.m. vs. Kansas State Madison Square GardenNew York, NY
(Jimmy V. Classic)
ESPN W 68–59  8,300 6–2
December 8, 2007* 7:00 p.m. Northern Illinois Edmund P. Joyce Center • Notre Dame, IN W 108–62  10,142 7–2
December 22, 2007* 4:00 p.m. San Francisco Edmund P. Joyce Center • Notre Dame, IN W 84–76  8,048 8–2
December 29, 2007* 7:00 p.m. Brown Edmund P. Joyce Center • Notre Dame, IN W 87–54  8,386 9–2
December 31, 2007* 1:00 p.m. North Florida Edmund P. Joyce Center • Notre Dame, IN W 77–58  7,841 10–2
January 3, 2008 7:00 p.m. West Virginia Edmund P. Joyce Center • Notre Dame, IN ESPN2 W 69–56  8,327 11–2 (1–0)
January 5, 2008 9:00 p.m. Connecticut Edmund P. Joyce Center • Notre Dame, IN ESPN W 73–67  10,505 12–2 (2–0)
January 12, 2008 2:00 p.m. at #16 Marquette Bradley CenterMilwaukee, WI L 92–66  18,906 12–3 (2–1)
January 15, 2008 7:00 p.m. Cincinnati Edmund P. Joyce Center • Notre Dame, IN ESPNU W 91–74  10,231 13–3 (3–1)
January 19, 2008 12:00 p.m. at #6 Georgetown Verizon CenterWashington, D.C. L 84–65  19,286 13–4 (3–2)
January 26, 2008 12:00 p.m. at #18 Villanova Wachovia CenterPhiladelphia, PA W 90–80  19,989 14–4 (4–2)
January 31, 2008 7:00 p.m. Providence Edmund P. Joyce Center • Notre Dame, IN ESPN W 81–74 OT 10,179 15–4 (5–2)
February 2, 2008 6:00 p.m. DePaul Edmund P. Joyce Center • Notre Dame, IN ESPN Classic W 89–80  11,418 16–4 (6–2)
February 6, 2008 7:30 p.m. at Seton Hall #21 Prudential CenterNewark, NJ W 95–69  9,800 17–4 (7–2)
February 9, 2008 12:00 p.m. #16 Marquette #21 Edmund P. Joyce Center • Notre Dame, IN ESPN W 86–83  11,418 18–4 (8–2)
February 13, 2008 7:00 p.m. at #17 Connecticut #18 Harry A. Gampel PavilionStorrs, CT L 84–78  10,167 18–5 (8–3)
February 17, 2008 12:00 p.m. at Rutgers #18 Louis Brown Athletic CenterPiscataway, NJ W 71–68  7,431 19–5 (9–3)
February 21, 2008 7:00 p.m. Pittsburgh #21 Edmund P. Joyce Center • Notre Dame, IN ESPN W 82–70  11,418 20–5 (10–3)
February 24, 2008 2:00 p.m. Syracuse #21 Edmund P. Joyce Center • Notre Dame, IN CBS W 94–87  11,418 21–5 (11–3)
February 28, 2008 7:00 p.m. at #18 Louisville #17 Freedom HallLouisville, KY ESPN L 90–85  19,881 21–6 (11–4)
March 2, 2008 1:00 p.m. at DePaul #17 Allstate ArenaRosemont, IL W 98–91  16,934 22–6 (12–4)
March 5, 2008 7:30 p.m. St. John's #19 Edmund P. Joyce Center • Notre Dame, IN W 68–55  11,418 23–6 (13–4)
March 8, 2008 7:00 p.m. at South Florida #19 USF Sun DomeTampa, FL ESPN+ W 67–60  7,875 24–6 (14–4)
Big East Tournament
March 13, 2008 9:00 p.m. vs. #24 Marquette #14 Madison Square Garden • New York, NY
(Second round)
ESPN L 79–89  19,562 24–7
NCAA Tournament
March 20, 2008* 9:40 p.m. vs. George Mason #15 Pepsi CenterDenver, CO
(First Round)
CBS W 68–50  19,282 25–7
March 22, 2008* 6:40 p.m. vs. #21 Washington State #15 Pepsi Center • Denver, CO
(Second Round)
CBS L 41–61  19,299 25–8
*Non-conference game. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll.

Out of conference games[edit]

Notre Dame opened the season with a win at home against the Long Island Blackbirds.[19] They next traveled to the U.S. Virgin Islands to face the Monmouth Hawks in the first round of the Paradise Jam Tournament. After beating the Hawks,[20] they went on to lose in the semifinals to the Baylor Bears,[21] and lose in the third place game to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to leave the tournament with a 2–2 record.[22] The Irish returned home for three games and went on to win against the Youngstown State Penguins,[23] the Colgate Raiders,[24] and the Eastern Michigan Eagles,[25] to move to 5–2 on the season.

They next traveled to New York to face the Kansas State Wildcats in the Jimmy V. Classic, their first televised game of the season. After a close first half, Notre Dame pulled away to get the win.[26] Returning home once again, they beat the Northern Illinois Huskies before taking two weeks off for final exams.[27] After finals, they played three more home games, beating the San Francisco Dons,[28] the Brown Bears,[29] and the North Florida Ospreys,[30] to finish their non-conference schedule with a 10–2 record.

Big East games[edit]

Notre Dame began their conference play with two home games before the students returned from Christmas break. With wins over the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Connecticut Huskies,[31][32] they began conference play with a 2–0 record. They next traveled to face the 16th-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles for their first true road game of the season, however they lost by 26 points to give Mike Brey his worst loss as Notre Dame coach.[33] The team returned home to beat the Cincinnati Bearcats,[34] before once again losing on the road against the sixth-ranked Georgetown Hoyas.[35] They finally got their first road win a week later against the 18th-ranked Villanova Wildcats to move to 4–2 in the Big East with a 14–4 overall record.[36]

Notre Dame next returned home to face the Providence Friars, and, although the Friars were 3–4 in conference play, the game stayed close and the Irish only won after an overtime period.[37] They continued at home and beat DePaul in the first of two games against the Blue Demons,[38] to move into the rankings for the first time in the season. As the 21st-ranked team in the country, the team traveled to Seton Hall to face the Pirates. They got their second road win of the season,[39] and returned home to face 16th-ranked Marquette once again. With a win over the Golden Eagles,[40] they moved up to 18th in the rankings. They next traveled to Connecticut to face the 17th-ranked Huskies for the second time. Although the Irish led for much of the game, they lost in the end.[41] Despite winning another road game later in the week against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights,[42] they dropped back to 21st in the rankings with a 19–5 record overall.

The Irish next returned home to face the Pittsburgh Panthers who had beaten them in five straight games. Although trailing at half-time, Notre Dame came back and scored 52 points in the second half to win the game.[43] The team stayed at home to play the Syracuse Orange and led the whole game to get another conference win,[44] however lost another away game the same week at the 18th-ranked Louisville Cardinals.[45] They next traveled to face DePaul, and with the win, swept the Blue Demons in the season.[46] The Irish returned home for their final home game of the season, and, although were held to under 69 points for only the fifth time in the season, beat the St. John's Red Storm.[47] For their final regular season game they traveled to South Florida and defeated the Bulls to win their fourteenth Big East game, a school record.[48] With a 14–4 record in the Big East, Notre Dame finished the regular season tied in second in the conference with Louisville.

Post season tournaments[edit]

Big East Tournament[edit]

With Marquette's loss to Georgetown on March 1,[49] and Notre Dame's win over DePaul on March 2, the Irish clinched a bye in the first round of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament.[46] They played their opening game, as the third seed of the tournament,[48] on March 13 at Madison Square Garden.[50] Marquette, the sixth seed in the tournament, defeated Seton Hall in the first round to advance and play the Irish in the second round.[51] Despite leading scorer, Luke Harangody, only playing for seven minutes in the first half, the Irish held a six point lead at half-time. However, late in the second half Marquette took a 10 point lead, the largest of the game, and held on to the lead for the 89–79 win, dropping Notre Dame out of the tournament.[52]

NCAA Tournament[edit]

Although teams are not officially invited to the NCAA Tournament until Selection Sunday (March 16, 2008), multiple publications predicted before the selection that the Irish would receive an at-large bid.[53][54][55][56] The NCAA announced that the team would receive a five seed in the tournament and face the George Mason Patriots in Denver on March 20, whom they beat.[57] The Irish went on to play Washington State, to whom they lost.

Statistics[edit]

As a team, Notre Dame averages over 80 points per game and have a 45.9% field goal percentage. Top scorer, Luke Harangody, averages over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, a double-double. At the end of the regular season, he led the Big East in scoring. Additionally, he was second in the conference in rebounding and led the league in each category during conference play.[58] Besides Harangody, two other players average over 10 points per game, Kyle McAlarney and Rob Kurz. McAlarney also leads the conference in three-point field goal percentage.[16] Thirteen players have accumulated statistics in games for the Irish.[59]

Player GP Min Avg FGM FGA FG Pct 3FGM 3FGA 3FG Pct FTM FTA FT Pct Pts Avg Off Reb Def Reb Total Reb Avg PF Asst TO Blk Stl
Harangody 31 891 28.7 248 482 51.5 3 8 37.5 145 189 76.7 644 20.8 103 212 315 10.2 80 53 70 28 25
McAlarney 31 1103 35.6 158 362 43.6 103 230 44.8 51 62 82.3 470 15.2 7 56 62 2.0 31 110 60 1 26
Kurz 31 888 28.6 120 264 45.5 37 93 39.8 120 141 85.1 397 12.8 61 170 231 7.5 91 61 64 43 20
Jackson 31 1016 32.8 93 238 39.1 17 59 28.8 49 96 51.0 252 8.1 54 102 156 5.0 74 189 101 8 58
Ayers 31 785 25.3 81 174 46.6 53 114 46.5 30 40 75.0 245 7.9 22 80 102 3.3 40 38 22 15 24
Hillesland 30 659 22.0 69 138 50.0 1 2 50.0 48 70 68.6 187 6.2 43 109 152 5.1 72 74 50 13 21
Zeller 31 375 12.1 54 125 43.2 31 80 38.8 7 13 53.8 146 4.7 27 43 70 2.3 42 14 7 5 12
Peoples 31 369 11.9 34 77 44.2 13 36 36.1 25 30 83.3 106 3.4 22 30 52 1.7 21 37 21 1 7
Abromaitis 10 38 3.8 5 19 26.3 1 8 12.5 7 7 100.0 18 1.8 4 5 9 0.9 5 3 4 1 1
Proffitt 6 20 3.3 3 7 42.9 2 5 40.0 0 0 0.00 8 1.3 0 3 3 0.5 0 2 0 0 2
Andree 5 13 2.6 2 2 100.0 0 0 0.00 2 2 100.0 6 1.2 1 3 4 0.8 2 1 0 1 0
Nash 13 57 4.4 6 13 46.2 0 1 0.00 3 11 27.3 15 1.2 8 12 20 1.5 6 5 2 1 2
Kopko 5 11 2.2 2 4 50.0 1 3 33.3 0 1 0.00 5 1.0 1 1 2 0.4 1 0 0 0 0
Total 31 875 1905 45.9 262 639 41.0 487 662 73.6 2499 80.6 413 878 1291 41.6 465 587 403 117 198
Glossary
GP: Games played Min: Minutes played Avg: Average
FGA: Field goals attempted FGM: Field goals made FG Pct: Field Goal Percentage
3FGA: 3 point field goals attempted 3FGM: 3 point field goals made 3FG Pct: 3 point field goals percentage
FTA: Free throws attempted FTM: Free throws made FT Pct: Free throw percentage
Pts: Points Off Reb: Offensive rebounds Def Reb: Defensive rebounds
Total Reb: Total rebounds PF: Personal fouls Asst: Assists
TO: Turnovers Blk: Blocks Stl: Steals

After the season[edit]

Legacy[edit]

Dating to February 2006, the Irish have won 37 consecutive home games and 18 Big East home games. The 18 wins is the second longest streak in conference history,[60] while the 36 total wins is the second longest current streak in the country behind the BYU Cougars.[61] With the win over St. John's on March 5, the Irish became the first Big East team to go undefeated at home in conference games in consecutive seasons.[47]

Award winners[edit]

After the season ended, Luke Harangody was named the conference Player of the Year. Additionally, Mike Brey was named conference Coach of the Year for the second year in a row.[58] Harangody was also named to the 1st Team All Big East squad, along with Kyle McAlarney.[62]

Transfers[edit]

Notre Dame had two players transfer in following the season. Both will sit out the 2008-09 season per NCAA rules for transfer students.[63]

  • Scott Martin, a 6-8 swingman, transferred after his freshman season at Purdue. Playing mainly off the bench, he averaged 8.5 points and 3.8 rebounds. He has three years of eligibility remaining.
  • Ben Hansbrough, a 6-3 guard, transferred after his sophomore season at Mississippi State, and will have two years of eligibility at Notre Dame. The younger brother of North Carolina superstar Tyler Hansbrough, he comes off a sophomore season in which he averaged 10.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists as a regular starter.

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