The #22 ranked Irish are starting to wind down their OOC schedule, with their latest victory coming in the form of an 84-57 drubbing of Brown. Notre Dame was led by reserve forward Cameron Biedscheid, who put up 17 points in just over 17 minutes and Jack Cooley had another solid performance underneath the rim as he scored 15 points and grabbed 12 boards. Not many expected Brown to be much of an opponent, but what fans want to see is the Irish taking care of business when they should, and that’s exactly what they did. Notre Dame improves to 8-1 on the season and are now ready to play in-state rival Purdue Boilermakers in Indianapolis at “Bankers Life Fieldhouse” as part of the “Crossroads Classic”. Along with the Irish taking on Purdue, fans can also catch the #1 ranked Indiana Hoosiers battle against the Butler Bulldogs.
While Purdue may be a tougher opponent by namesake then Brown, they are struggling just as bad early on in the 2012-13 campaign. That’s not to say they have no talent, but already have two bad losses on the season to Bucknell and Eastern Michigan, but did play a tough Xavier team down to the wire before eventually dropping the game 70-65. The Boilermakers’ are led by frosh center A.J. Hammons, and guards D.J. Byrd, and Terone Johnson, but are not a very deep squad with much experience. Byrd and
Johnson both struggle with creating their own shots and with type of pressure defense the Irish like to play, it could be a long day for Purdue. If the Boilermakers plan on challenging the Irish on Saturday they are really going to have to rely of their young center in Hammons. At 7’ 280 pounds he can be a force to deal with, but is still learning the game at the college level. The biggest issue for Purdue on the season is they just don’t share the ball well as they only average 14 assist per game, and struggle from the floor as they are shooting just over 40% on the season as a unit.
The Irish should thrive on Saturday from outside and inside as long as they stay out of foul trouble. Look for another big day from Irish guards Atkins and Grant, but Cooley and Sherman will need to adjust their games a bit as they both will be giving up about 35 pounds and 3 inches to the before mentioned Hammons. Notre Dame should take control early and give Coach Brey a chance to use his reserves a bit more. After Purdue the Irish still have games with IPFW, Kennesaw State, and Niagra before opening their Big East schedule with Seton Hall. If you have not had a chance to see the Men’s squad, tickets are still available to see them in person, or you can catch the 4:30 tip-off on ESPN2 and ESPN3.