Indiana prepares for Irish shooters

Indiana and Notre Dame tip off from Bankers Life Fieldhouse at 3:15 p.m. Saturday.

Indiana has left Assembly Hall two times so far this season. The Hoosiers beat Washington and lost to Connecticut at Madison Square Garden in the 2K Classic, and fell to Syracuse on the road in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

They'll get another opportunity for a win away from home on Saturday afternoon against Notre Dame. The game, which will tip at 3:15 p.m. on ESPN, will be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis as part of the Crossroads Classic. Butler and Purdue will play the day's second game.

Notre Dame (7-3) has struggled at times this season, but the Irish were a preseason top-25 team and have the talent and experience to give the Hoosiers everything they can handle. The Irish's three losses have come to Indiana State and North Dakota State at home, and Iowa on the road.

Notre Dame lost to North Dakota State on Wednesday night, and struggled to get much going offensively. The Irish shot just 36 percent from the field and 31 percent in the loss.

When Notre Dame is at its best is when its getting out in transition and moving the ball. The Irish are a very capable perimeter shooting team, led by junior guard Pat Connaughton, who is averaging 13.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game this season. He's shooting 44 percent from the 3-point line and is making nearly three per game.

"He's one of the more dangerous players in the country, regardless of what position he's playing," Indiana coach Tom Crean said Friday. "He's shooting the 3 at a high rate."

In their loss to Iowa, the Irish scored 92 points and played extremely fast. Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said he wants to see his team play that same way on Saturday against the Hoosiers.

What allows them to play so fast? Well, having a player like Jerian Grant sure helps. The senior guard is leading the Irish in scoring at 18.7 points per game and assists at 6.1 per contest. Grant has scored 20 or more points in five games this season, and recorded a double-double against Iowa.

"He can score in a multitude of ways," Crean said. "He's got a very good step back, very good first step, he's stronger, there's no doubt about that."

For Indiana (8-2), this will be the first game since Tuesday night when the Hoosiers beat Oakland at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers will have all of their players available on Saturday, including freshman forward Devin Davis, who has been nursing a sprained ankle. Crean said Friday that Davis will be available to play on Saturday after missing Tuesday night's game. Top Stories