Preview: ND vs. Indiana State

A look at tonight's matchup between the No. 25-ranked Irish and the Indiana State Sycamores.

Notre Dame vs. Indiana State

Team Records: Notre Dame (7-0) ISU (3-3)

Tip-off: 7:30 PM

Previous outings: Notre Dame won the Old Spice Classic title with victories over Georgia (89-83 OT); California (57-44); and Wisconsin (58-51). The Sycamores beat Buffalo 58-54 on Thanksgiving Saturday.

Stat to Note: With a win tonight, Notre Dame would move to 8-0 on the season – the best start of the 11-year Mike Brey era in South Bend. Notre Dame last started 8-0 in 1973 en route to a 26-3 regular season record (the Irish started 7-1 on multiple occasions since).

Early Season Quote to Note: "They had some guys that made timely baskets and timely free throws, and that's how you win those kind of grinders. And both our teams will be in more of them before the season's out." – Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan after Sunday's loss to the Irish, who outscored his Badgers 15-3 in the final minutes.

Point Spread: Notre Dame -15.5

Notre Dame Starters and Key Contributors

  • Forward: 6'8" 218-pound senior Carleton Scott – Stepped up as the People's Choice for MVP of the Old Spice Classic (awarded to Tim Abromaitis on the strength of his opening game scoring spree), posting two double-doubles and a three-game total of 39 points with 27 boards…Saved his best shooting effort for the finale vs. Wisconsin, hitting 4-8 from the field with two 3-point buckets to share the high-scorer total of 12 with Eric Atkins….Has posted 13 of Notre Dame's 29 blocks this season and leads the team in rebounds with 54.
  • Forward: 6'8" 235-pound senior Tim Abromaitis – Has struggled from the outside but found a way to contribute with 7.3 rebounds per game and a team-best 16 points per contest…Nearly 2-1 assist-to-turnover ratio (15-8) also a departure from his 2009-10 season…Scored 25 points in opening game win vs. Georgia to propel run through Old Spice Tourney.
  • Forward: 6'8" 232-pound senior Tyrone Nash – Posted 37 points, 17 boards and 8 assists in three-game tourney last weekend…Keys the Irish offense with his low-post game that's directly resulted in 60 foul shots to lead the team…21 offensive rebounds ranks as team-high while 22 assists is tied for second with point guard Eric Atkins.
  • Guard: 6'3" 203-pound senior Ben Hansbrough – Didn't stand out in Old Spice Classic but possibly the team's most important player heading into conference play next month…Has scored more than 14 points, contributed four boards and nearly four assists over first seven contests…Has knocked down 19 of 37 three-point shots to date with in 33 minutes per contest.
  • Guard/Forward: 6'8" 219-pound senior Scott Martin – Numbers are still lagging but Martin seemed to have found his game in the final 10 minutes Sunday vs. Wisconsin…Mid-range game will be key vs. Big East defenses…Could be considered a key "pick-up" if his game can continue to re-develop through January and February….Has 17 points 13 boards over last two games.

Key Reserves:

  • Guard: 6'2" 173-pound freshman Eric Atkins – Coolly efficient hitting 20 of 39 field goal attempts including 8 of 17 from long range while netting 11 of 14 free throws…Assist-to-turnover ratio of nearly 3-1 (22-8) bodes well for upcoming conference season…8.4 ppg average has been a perfect compliment to ND's starting five though Atkins is one of the finishing five for the foreseeable future.
  • Center/Forward: 6'9" 244-pound sophomore Jack Cooley – Top reserve big man has emerged with 5.4 points and four boards per game while ranking second on the squad in offensive boards (15)…Lends a defensive presence on the low block with methodical and heady offensive approach…Irish unlikely to lose a game this season in which Cooley earns (not receives) more than 10 minutes of court time.
  • Forward: 6'6" 215-pound sophomore Joey Brooks – Current eighth-man a defensive presence vs. both shooting guards and small forwards…Struggles with outside shot despite solid form and needs better control nearing the rim…Finds the ball defensively and will develop with more playing time this winter.
  • Forward: 6'9" 248-pound sophomore Mike Broghammer – Necessary 9th man entering Big East play…Should see action in all home games when staff tends to extend its short bench.

Meet the Sycamores

First-year head coach Greg Lansing will continue to preach rebounding and defense for his mid-tier Missouri Valley crew – an approach that should keep the Sycamores in most contests especially when returning starter Carl Richard is at his best. The 6'5" swingman from Chicago has averaged 10.5 points and 9.7 boards in just over 33 minutes of action through six games this season.

The junior has received a helping hand from Carmel, IN native Jake Kelly, whose 11 points and four assists after sitting out last conference season due to a torn ACL. An Iowa transfer, Kelly has netted double figures in five of six contests though has committed more turnovers than expected in his assimilation back to competition.

6'3" senior Dwayne Latham returns as the team's leading scorer though he's subjugated his game a bit this season, averaging 11.3 points while grabbing 24 boards over the last four contests. Latham ranks as the team's best athlete and one of the best leapers the Irish will face this winter.

Center Myles Walker and Terre Haute native Jake Odom round out the Sycamores starting five.

Indiana State enjoyed a winning record last season along with a 9-9 mark in the strong Missouri Valley Conference but tonight's matchup is a step up in competition tonight for the Sycamores, who have already lost to Loyola (solid), Eastern Kentucky and Ball State in November. They catch the Irish in a possible lull following a three-game title run in Lake Buena Vista over the Thanksgiving Holiday but Mike Brey's Irish have but one game prior to next week's two-game tussle with Kentucky and Gonzaga.

Prediction: Notre Dame 72 Indiana State 59


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