Indiana vs. Notre Dame

The Indiana Hoosiers return home to Assembly Hall on Wednesday night to face an instate rival in the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Indiana is looking to rebound from a two-game losing streak against top 10 foes North Carolina and UConn. The Irish will also be looking to correct their skid after losing a dramatic game to Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Indiana continues to faces teams with a tough frontcourt, as the Irish will often start three men over 6-9. Seniors Dennis Latimore and Chris Thomas have been leading the team this year, and each is averaging in double figures. Latimore has been a workhorse for the Irish, averaging just over 10 points per game while pulling down nearly 8 rebounds a game. Indiana will have a matchup problem, as Latimore is not the only big man down low. Torin Francis, is nearly a seven footer, who can really rebound, but his scoring has been down early this year. The problem for Indiana is that they lack the size to guard both men, and will have to pick their poison. If it weren't bad enough, 6'10" Jordan Cornette often starts for the Irish also, and could give Indiana a matchup nightmare underneath.

Notre Dame may have a good frontcourt, but the backcourt certainly is not lacking. Chris Quinn and Chris Thomas are one of the best backcourt duos in the nation. Quinn is leading the Irish in scoring with 14.5 a game, and is hitting almost 40% from behind the arc. Thomas is an assist machine, dishing out eight a game. He is a great point guard who can usually shoot, but his shot has been off this year, and he is shooting under 30%. Corin Falls is the best guard off the bench, but don't expect him to see too much playing time unless the Hoosiers can exploit the big men with quickness. Falls is a very good shooter but lacks the experience of Quinn and Thomas.

The Hoosiers will have to do what they did to UNC and UConn to beat Notre Dame, and that is to take them out of their game. If Indiana can turn the game into a guard matchup, it will favor the Hoosiers. Indiana knows it will not be able to compete underneath with the Irish, so they must be able to get the ball moving around the outside to look for a good shot. Indiana has not been afraid to put up the three point shot this year, and coach Mike Davis doesn't mind. The coach said, "As long as we're open for a 3-point shot, I don't mind us taking 3-point shots. I'm not going to sit here and say we're taking too many when sometimes that's all that we have is a 3 because when we go inside we're not really getting anything." Indiana's last two games have seen record numbers worth of three point shots for the Hoosiers. The 32 against UNC and the 30 shots against UConn represent the 3rd and 4th most 3-point attempts in IU history respectively.

Indiana will look for transition scoring to wear down the Notre Dame lineup and force them to go with a smaller inexperienced guard lineup. Robert Vaden will be able to take advantage of a smaller guard, but may struggle against a much larger player. This game should be a true test for the young freshman, who has been emerging as IU's leader over their last few games. Freshman James Hardy may also see some time, as the Hoosiers will look to add some height to the lineup. The game will hinge on who controls the tempo. If Notre Dame can play a lot of half court sets where they can let Thomas dish the ball off and play inside, then the Hoosiers will struggle, but if it turns into a running game, Indiana has more horses to run with. Indiana will need Ewing Jr and DJ White to stay out of foul trouble on the interior, or the game could get ugly. Sean Kline will also have to make a commitment to help keep the Irish frontcourt in check.

If Indiana goes small and tries to win the game on the offensive end of the court, then look for the Irish to play some 3-2 zone defense. This will be a good look for Indiana, and something they haven't really seen this year. Guards Marshall Strickland and Bracey Wright will have to find a way for Indiana to score against the zone if the three point shot is not open.

This should be a good matchup pitting a pair of Indiana teams looking for respect against each other. Notre Dame is still stinging from their tough defeat against Michigan, while the Hoosiers have been playing better against very tough competition. The Hoosiers have owned the Irish in the all-time series, with Indiana winning 47 of the 66 contests. The boys from Bloomington have won eight straight, and the last time the Irish won in Bloomington was during the Nixon presidency. Assembly Hall was a very noisy place during the UNC game, if the fans continue the strength of their noise, then Notre Dame will struggle to communicate in their offense.

The game will be a slight break from playing top 10 competition for the Hoosiers who will face Kentucky this weekend. They should take advantage of the break while they have it and keep themselves above .500.

Gametime is set for 7pm, and will be aired on ESPN. If you aren't near a TV, you can always listen to the game on the IU Radio Network. Top Stories