Ka'anapali, Maui – When Tom Crean left Marquette to take the IU job in April, Notre Dame coach Mike Brey thought he'd seen the last of his Big East rival.
"I'm so glad Indiana got this guy out of our league," Brey said with a grin Sunday. "I didn't want to see him again so soon."
Yet the two coaches will do just that Monday when the Hoosiers (2-0) face the No. 8 Fighting Irish (2-0) in the first round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational (12:30 p.m. island time, 5:30 p.m. EST).
In a beachfront press conference Sunday at the Westin Maui Ka'anapali, Crean said that his young team will have their hands full with an experienced and talented Notre Dame squad.
"The biggest thing for our program right now…is to learn how to compete on a consistent and daily basis," Crean said. "No matter what happens over this tournament and over the next few days, we will learn where we stand."
Despite his familiarity with IU's first round opponent, Marquette faced Notre Dame three times last season, Crean said looking at film can only do so much. After watching film of Notre Dame's two victories to open the season, Crean said Brey's team is "better, there is no question."
After a 36-point blowout of USC Upstate on Nov. 16, Notre Dame played a in a much tighter contest Friday, beating Loyola Marymount, 65-54.
"They were very good last year obviously, but you can see differences in their body, their athleticism and you can see they are a veteran group and have made strides to get better," he said.
The Hoosiers biggest challenge Monday will be containing standout big man Luke Harangody. A Schererville, Ind. native, the junior forward is averaging 28.5 points and 15.5 rebounds in two games this season. In three games against Marquette last season, Harangody averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per game.
"We're not guarding Luke with one person," Crean said Sunday. "You'll see a lot of people down there at some point."
Crean said the team is keeping their practice sessions relatively short, but "when we work, we try and work hard." After traveling all day Thursday, Crean said his team struggled in practice on Thursday.
"You would think it was the first day of preseason conditioning," he said.
On Saturday, IU's first-year coach said his team came back strong and "looked like ourselves." He said the team would practice Sunday afternoon and prepare not just for the Notre Dame match-up, but also for three competitive games in three days.
Since playing Notre Dame last season, Crean said the team has added to their sets. He noted that senior forward/center Luke Zeller has taken 13 shots this season and 10 of them have been 3-pointers, making him a match-up problem for IU's big men.
Brey said that he expects IU to play exactly like Crean's teams at Marquette did, the only difference will be that it "says IU on the jerseys."
"I think there's great energy in the state with him there, and they're going to come out and play hard and guard the heck out of you. That's always what his teams have done no matter where he's been," Brey said. "Just from watching tape I'm impressed how they come after people."
The Hoosiers' offensive tendencies are very similar to Golden Eagles', according to Brey. One thing he pointed out Sunday was IU's secondary break, which Brey said Crean was a master of.
The winner of the IU-Notre Dame showdown Monday will play the winner of the Texas-Saint Joseph's game Tuesday at 2 p.m. (7 p.m. EST). The losers of the two games will play at 8.30 a.m. (1:30 p.m. EST)
Note: Matt Dollinger covers the Hoosiers for the Indiana Daily Student
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