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Irish Insights


Irish renew rivalry with Hoosiers

Notre Dame will revive a basketball rivalry that has been dormant recently when the Irish (7-4) play No. 18 Indiana (9-0) in the Crossroads Classic at 4 p.m. Saturday in Indianapolis.

The Irish and Hoosiers used to meet regularly before the Big Ten-ACC Challenge made it difficult for the in-state rivals to keep the series going.

Notre Dame has won the last two meetings, beating IU 88-50 in the 2008 Maui Classic and X WHEN. The Hoosiers hold a 47-21 edge in the series, that Irish coach Mike Brey would like to see continued.

"I think it is something Tom Crean and I have talked about for a long time," Brey said. "This Classic jump starts it, and I think it is something to really analyze, playing again.

"I think it is a great game in the state. I think we continue to talk about it in a home-and-home format or maybe the Crossroads Classic continues on rotating back and forth with these four teams (Butler plays Purdue on Saturday and next season, the Irish will play the Boilermakers and the Bulldogs will play the Hoosiers). Those are all things we need to discuss and evaluate after we got through two years of this."

As for this season's game, Brey said freshman forward Cody Zeller has given IU a new dimension that makes them tougher to defend. Zeller is averaging 15 points and 7.4 rebounds.

"He gives them a low post that they can throw it into," Brey said. "Before this year, they've relied almost solely on ball screens. I think they have a low-post threat now. He can score it. He can pass from there with his feel for the game. I think that is really helping with their very impressive offensive numbers."

Saturday's game will also feature a pair of high school teammates squaring off against each other.

Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant and IU guard Victor Oladipo are products of Maryland's DeMatha High School. It is a prep program that Brey knows very well as he also played at DeMatha and was an assistant there.

"Kids who have come out of that program have played in really big games in front of big crowds with high expectations," Brey said. "I think they are more ready sometimes to deliver because of the experiences they've had. I think they are very proud kids. I think they are very proud to wear DeMatha, and they know the history and tradition and want to live up to it."