Indiana will look to make the most of its last trip to the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis when it faces Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon.
The 11-year event will come to a close as Purdue, Butler, Notre Dame and Indiana have chosen against renewing the contract. Ostensibly, they are creating opportunities to schedule other nonconference teams.
Indiana (8-2) has had success the event, going 7-3 in annual games against Butler and Notre Dame.
“For me, it’s sentimental,” Indiana coach Mike Woodson said. “I love Indianapolis and everything that it has to offer. It would be nice if we could get a game here in the future. I don’t know how that’s going to pan out. We’re working on some things.”
It will be a homecoming games for Indiana All-American forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, who grew up in Greenwood, Ind., 10 minutes from Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Jackson-Davis has fueled Indiana’s strong start to the season, leading the Hoosiers in scoring (19.3) while averaging 8.4 rebounds and 3.4 blocked shots.
Indiana leads the all-time series with Notre Dame 51-22, but Woodson is wary of the problems this year’s Fighting Irish team presents.
“Their perimeter play is what drives them,” Woodson said. “I think, when I watch film on them, they’re very organized. I like the way they play on both ends of the floor. We got to commit ourselves for 40 minutes to come out with the win.”
Notre Dame (4-4) is coming off a 66-62 win over No. 21 Kentucky, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Freshman guard Blake Wesley hit the game-winning shot for the Fighting Irish with 11 seconds remaining.
“This is something to grow from,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said following the Kentucky win. “They’re the most coachable group, and again, I’m proud of the steps our leadership took to kind of take ownership of things this week. But now, we have another tough one coming next Saturday.”
Wesley (13 points per game) is one of three Notre Dame scorers averaging in double figures, a list that includes swingman Dane Goodwin (14.3 ppg), who is shooting 42.1 percent from 3-point range, and forward Paul Atkinson Jr. (11.0 ppg), a transfer from Yale.
–Field Level Media