Notre Dame men's hoops ready for in-state matchup against IU
Each year, Notre Dame travels down US-31 to meet either Indiana or Purdue in a big in-state matchup at the Crossroads Classic.
This year, it's IU.
Saturday's game is sure to be a test for both teams. For Notre Dame, it's a chance to start a new winning streak as the Irish look for their second-straight victory. They fell to number 18 in the AP and Coaches polls following a home loss to Ball State last week, but they bounced back with a road win over Delaware. Indiana has been up-and-down under new head coach Archie Miller.
Beyond the records, though, Mike Brey says the event is simply good for basketball in the state.
"You really have a great atmosphere in the building," Brey said of Bankers Life Fieldhouse. "We know how the state of Indiana loves basketball. I've been encouraged the last couple of years that our people have now started to come out. That's been good, and now you feel better about the thing. Even though we'll be thoroughly outnumbered, we're still going to have a pretty good section."
The Notre Dame-Indiana matchup is one of two games slated for Saturday, as Purdue and Butler will take the floor first.
The series with the Irish and the Hoosiers is a storied one, as the teams will play for the 72nd time dating back to 1908. The Crossroads Classic, which began in 2011, ensures that the two teams will meet every other year through 2019.
"I'm excited. I think it's always a good game when we play against IU," said forward Bonzie Colson. "There's going to be a lot of fans there. It's exciting to put the uniforms on again and battle. It's a great atmosphere for college basketball. It's four good teams playing, going at it, so hopefully we get a win."
It will be the fourth game between Notre Dame and Indiana in the Classic. The Hoosiers took two of the first three, including the last meeting in 2015. However, Brey hopes the tough road games the Irish have played early in the season will help provide confidence despite an IU-heavy crowd in Indianapolis.
"We know it will not be a neutral-site atmosphere even though it'll be listed on our schedule as a neutral-site game," he said. "Hopefully because we've played on the road already, at DePaul, at Michigan State, at Delaware, and even the Wichita State game was kind of road-like, you're able to handle that environment."
Purdue and Butler are scheduled to tip at noon in Saturday's first game. Notre Dame and Indiana will follow, with tip-off scheduled for 2:30.