With every basketball game that Indiana plays this season we will take a look at three things to watch that could be important for that game.
Here are the three keys for Notre Dame:
1. DEFEND THE 3-POINT SHOT
Don't be fooled by Notre Dame's 3-point struggles Wednesday night against North Dakota State. The Irish are much better than a 9-for-29 3-point shooting. And Notre Dame still made nine in that game. Pat Connaughton, normally a 46 percent plus 3-point shooter, is down to 43.8 percent on the season after going 5-for-15 on Wednesday. But he still made five. Notre Dame shoots 40.2 percent as a team and has several players who can knock down the shot from distance. Demetrius Jackson, who was 3-for-6 against North Dakota State, is an even 50 percent for the season on 13-of-26 made 3's. Jerian Grant is hitting 40.5 percent from distance. Eric Atkins is at 37.8 percent. Bottom line is that Indiana needs to be aware of Notre Dame's shooters at all times. Tuesday, IU held the nation's best 3-point shooter, Travis Bader, to an 0-for-10 performance from 3-point range. For the year, IU's opponents are shooting 27.7 percent from 3-point range.
2. POUND THE GLASS
Indiana leads the nation in rebounding margin, averaging 15.5 rebounds per games more than its opponents. Against a Notre Dame team that starts four guards, that trend needs to continue. IU is averaging 48.2 rebounds per game. More importantly, the Hoosiers are averaging 16.1 offensive rebounds per game. Against a smaller team, players like Noah Vonleh, Jeremy Hollowell, Troy Williams and Luke Fischer will all need to come up big inside and own the offensive glass. Notre Dame is averaging 37 rebounds per game.
3. NEUTRAL COURT ADVANTAGE?
It won't be Assembly Hall but Bankers Life will be filled with a good deal of Indiana fans today. Sometimes that means that the Butler and Purdue fans will join forces with the Irish to try and even the fan margin but the atmosphere could play a big part on this neutral court. Notre Dame has only played one of its first 10 games away from home. That was a road loss to Iowa. Indiana has played three of its first 10 outside of Assembly Hall and the Hoosiers are 1-2 in those games. The losses were to Syracuse and Connecticut while IU looked impressed in New York in a neutral site victory over Washington. IU's only other game against Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic resulted in an 11-point IU victory two years ago.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch