Indiana-Notre Dame Preview

After three forgettable losing campaigns, a thrilling

buzzer-beating victory over what was the country’s top team last

weekend put Indiana back in the national spotlight.

With a palpable buzz surrounding them, the 18th-ranked Hoosiers

look to sustain their momentum Saturday when they face in-state

rival Notre Dame at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Indiana (9-0), which went a Big Ten-worst 28-66 over the

previous three seasons, jumped into the Top 25 for the first time

under coach Tom Crean thanks to last Saturday’s 73-72 upset of

then-No. 1 Kentucky. After leading for much of the way, the

Hoosiers found themselves down by two and on the verge of defeat

before Christian Watford’s 3-pointer as time expired sent fans into

a frenzy.

“This is one of the most shared moments that I’ve ever been a

part of, maybe the most shared moment where you want to share it

with everybody that’s been a part of this program long before we

got here,” said Crean, now in his fourth season with the


“This is the epitome of what Hoosier Nation is all about and the

fans and everybody that supports this program from close and far,

young and old, they deserve it because it’s one of those moments

that everybody’s going to remember.”

Crean’s Hoosiers are on the verge of matching their best start

since 1989-90, and the coach thinks his team has the right mindset

heading into this game.

“Our guys realize that we had a great opportunity last weekend

and they took advantage of it,” he said. “Their work ethic this

week leads me to believe that they’re ready to take the next

opportunity at hand and go very hard and continue to make


“I don’t want them to put it behind them. I want them to build

on it.”

Indiana will look to do just that against the Irish (7-4), who

have back-to-back wins after losing four of five. Notre Dame

defeated Maine 87-78 on Dec. 8, and posted a 65-47 victory over

Dartmouth last Saturday.

While a season-ending knee injury to senior and expected leading

scorer Tim Abromaitis certainly hasn’t made things easy on the

Irish, they’ve been getting plenty of production from junior Jack

Cooley of late. The 6-foot-9 forward scored a career-high 22 points

in each of the last two games, going a combined 16-of-22 (72.7

percent) from the field while totaling 23 rebounds.

Notre Dame has – for the most part – taken care of business

against less-formidable opponents, but has been blown out in its

two meetings against ranked teams. The Irish fell 87-58 to then-No.

21 Missouri on Nov. 21 and 73-53 at then-No. 19 Gonzaga on Nov.


Despite their lack of success in big games, the Irish are

excited about Saturday’s matchup.

“I’m really looking forward to (this) weekend. Indiana is a

great team, but so are we,” said guard Joey Brooks. “I feel like

we’re getting better. People are sleeping on us, but that’s kind of

the way we like it.”

Notre Dame, averaging 71.0 points, could struggle to keep up

with the Hoosiers, who rank in the top 10 in the country with 83.7

points per game. Indiana is shooting 45.8 percent from 3-point

range – the second-highest mark in the nation.

The Hoosiers have dropped their last two games against the

Irish, though the programs haven’t met since then-No. 8 Notre Dame

prevailed 88-50 in the 2008 Maui Invitational. Indiana leads the

all-time series 47-21 and has gone 6-2 versus Notre Dame in