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Men's College Basketball
Preview
Northern Illinois at Notre Dame
When: 7:00 PM ET, Monday, December 22, 2014
Where: Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center, South Bend, Indiana

With the most efficient offense in the nation, No. 21 Notre Dame looks to continue an impressive early-season run when Northern Illinois visits Monday. The Fighting Irish lead the nation in field-goal percentage (55.3), turn the ball over less than nine times a game and rank 15th in 3-point shooting (41.3), all adding up to 129.6 points per 100 possessions - easily the best mark in college basketball. Notre Dame enters the game off a 94-63 demolition of Purdue on Saturday at the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis while Northern illinois suffered a 58-55 overtime loss at Dartmouth on Friday.

The Irish, coming off the first losing season in coach Mike Brey's 14 years, are getting outstanding play from senior Jerian Grant, who was suspended most of last season due to an "academic misstep." Grant is one of two players (Juan'ya Green, Hofstra) in the country averaging over 18 points (18.2) and six assists (6.3), and he's shooting 54.6 percent from the floor. “In time, he’ll get his due,” Brey told reporters. “When you look at how he’s involved with everything we do offensively and the numbers and all the things he does, he’s really special.”

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN3

ABOUT NORTHERN ILLINOIS (4-4): The Huskies average 65.3 points per game and shoot just 40.3 percent from the floor, including 29.9 from behind the arc. Northern Illinois features 6-7 swingman Darrell Bowie (11.8 points, 7.0 rebounds), 6-5 guard Aaric Armstead (11.8, 5.9) and 6-9 center Jordan Threloff (10.4, 9.3), but the backcourt has struggled. The team has committed 140 turnovers to only 71 assists and no guard averages more than 8.4 points or shoots better than 37 percent.

ABOUT NOTRE DAME (11-1): A week after waxing Florida State by 20 in their ACC opener, the Irish posted their sixth straight win and fourth consecutive double-digit victory since a 79-78 triumph over Michigan State. Demetrius Jackson scored 22 points and Pat Connaughton added 19 with 14 rebounds against Purdue. The Irish can do it on defense too, holding nine of 12 opponents under 40 percent shooting.

TIP-INS

1. Notre Dame has placed at least four players in double figures in 11 of its 12 games this season.

2. For a player that handles the ball as much as Grant, the 6-5 guard averages just 1.3 turnovers per contest.

3. Grant, who had nine assists against Purdue, has become only the sixth player in school history to record at least 1,000 points and 500 assists in his career.

PREDICTION: Notre Dame 95, Northern Illinois 60



Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Neutral Day Night Conf
Northern Illinois 4-4 L1 4-0 0-4 0-0 2-0 2-4 0-0
Notre Dame 11-1 W7 9-0 0-0 2-1 4-1 7-0 1-0
Last Meeting
Northern Illinois Notre Dame
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
12/8/07 NIU 62 ND 108 62 25 34.3 108 47 62.1
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Northern Illinois M. Patton 12 36.4 0
Notre Dame R. Kurz 17 57.1 7
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Northern Illinois M. Hart 6 2 4
Notre Dame L. Harangody 12 4 8
Assists Player  
Northern Illinois D. Anderson 4
Notre Dame Z. Hillesland 4
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Northern Illinois D. Bowie 94 43.7 26
Notre Dame J. Grant 218 54.6 41
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Northern Illinois J. Threloff 74 36 38
Notre Dame P. Connaughton 98 16 82
Assists Player  
Northern Illinois M. Orris 22
Notre Dame J. Grant 75
Quickchart Matchup
Northern Illinois Off vs  Notre Dame Defense
62.3 Points For
60.5 Points Against
39.0 FG%
38.9 FG%
34.4 Reb
27.5 Reb
Notre Dame Off vs  Northern Illinois Defense
85.7 Points For
64.6 Points Against
55.3 FG%
43.2 FG%
27.5 Reb
27.4 Reb