Welcome to Indiana Basketball – Crossroads Classic Preview

A few years back, no Indiana team made the NCAA Tournament.  This year, the state is loaded, with six teams having a chance to make the Dance: Evansville, Valpo and the four participants in today’s Crossroads Classic.  The Butler/Purdue winner will give us the current best team in the state, while ND/IU will give us LOTS OF POINTS.

I wanted to have a little fun with this instead of just writing previews of the games and making picks (which we’ll do below), so I thought to myself, which of the players participating today in BankersLife/Conseco/whatever it’s called now, most closely resemble the players from the epic movie Hoosiers.

Rade Butcher

rade butcher

Absolute gunner that never met a shot he didn’t like; however, midway through the movie changed his tune and became more of a team player…really can shoot it though (especially the running one legged 25 footer, off glass)

Kellen Dunham (Butler)

Dunham can flat out shoot it, and at times early in his career shot it no matter if defended by 3 players and 30 feet from the basket.  This year, his minutes are down and Kelan Martin is becoming a stud.  Is Dunham taking the team approach like Rade?

Buddy Walker


Buddy was the defensive dynamo for the Huskers when he miraculously reappeared mid-season after walking out of practice with the younger Butcher brother.  Apparently likes Dentyne gum.

…by default since ND, IU and Butler don’t play defense, this goes to the best defensive player in the stadium – Rapheal Davis (Purdue)

Ollie McLellan


I really don’t like Ollie in this movie for multiple reasons: 1) the guy had to be peeled off the bench to go into the game early in the season like he was going into a war; 2) what the hell is he doing dribbling the ball late in a close game; 3) he acted incredibly smug with the reporters after drilling his underhand FTs that took the best prayer of all time from Strap.  Just a little weenie.

Ryan Cline (Purdue) – Look at this guy…just screams Ollie.


Everett Flatch


Toughness personified. Not only is he the main post threat for the Huskers, but he has to go through mental and physical adversity during the season to help lead his team to the title.

Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame) 

Does the dirty work for the Irish with offensive boards and surprisingly solid interior defense for someone 6’5.  Seems like the kind of guy that handles adversity well, plus…he’s the Bonz.

Merle Webb


The leader and ultimate glue-guy.  Also, is the champion of the Picket Fence and the slow clap.

Steve Vasturia (Notre Dame)

This one is simple because while he is ND’s glue guy and an unsung contributor, he even looks like Merle.


Strap Purl


We don’t see much of Strap in the movie, other than three main features:  1) he is incredibly religious; 2) he plays pretty terrible defense (watch his foot movement early in the movie…); and 3) he throws up some ridiculous shots that somehow go in.

Troy Williams (Indiana) 

Now, I have absolutely no idea how religious Troy is, but some of the shots this guy throws up should never go in.  Obviously, this comparison is off because Troy is a damn good player when he wants to be, while Strap relies on the powers from above.

Whit Butcher


Just another big body at the end of the bench, who needs some of the kids to graduate to get PT.

Martinis Geben (Notre Dame)

While the basketball comparison makes sense, again…did Mike Brey just recruit guys that look like the actors from the movie?


The dude Rade punches

I couldn’t find a picture of him, but Rade throws quite a right after Norman Dale gets kicked out of the game in a hostile environment.  So let’s find a guy that took one to the chin…

Isaac Haas (Purdue) – The video says it all.  IN THE FACE!

Jimmy Chitwood


The man can really shoot it.  Hickory’s go-to guy was, I believe, 17-18 in the State Championship victory over South Bend Central.  The guy you want to have the ball at the end of the game.

…now there’s three finalists for this one

Roosevelt Jones (Butler)

Yogi Farrell (Indiana)

Demetrius Jackson (ND)

This is a tough one because you can make arguments for all three.  While I may want Rosie with the ball at the end of the game, he cannot shoot it at all, which eliminates him.  Between Yogi and DJax, give me the guy that can create his own 18 footer with ease AND can take it to the rim and dunk over a 7-footer.

Demetrius is my choice (yes, I’m a homer).

Quick Previews/Predictions:

ND -1 vs. IU, 1 p.m., ESPN2

How ND wins:  The Irish are the better team here, and if they play like they have the last 2.5 games, they’ll take care of business.  Auguste needs to shake off his poor effort on Sunday against Loyola and dominate the freshman, Thomas Bryant.

How IU wins:  Troy Williams and Yogi go off, and the “home” crowd wills them to victory.

Nate:  ND -1…I really think ND is the better team here and wins this by 6-8 points.  A win would make 4 in a row for the Irish in the Crossroads.

Mike: The real question is whether I feel worse watching one of these two teams win or whether I feel worse watching either ND or Ohio State win that bowl game in a few weeks.  Is suicide an option?  I would thoroughly enjoy watching Purdue stop either one of these teams but I’ll have to wait for B1G play for that.  I’m still not sure ND is any good despite Nate’s protestations.  I’m equally not sure that IU is any good after the giant dump they took in Maui.   Just to be a contrarian, I’m going to take IU +1 here because I think they have a better and deeper roster.


Purdue -5.5 vs. Butler, 4 p.m., BTN

How Purdue wins: Grind it out like they have been doing all year and take advantage of the undersized Butler frontcourt.

How Butler wins:  Shoot the living hell out of the ball.  I’m worried about Rosie’s chances inside against the trees, but he always seems to find a way to get buckets when he shouldn’t.

Nate:  Butler +5.5…Purdue hasn’t beaten anyone good yet, and I really like this Butler team with the sudden emergence of Kelan Martin.  Give me the Bulldogs…outright.

Mike: Nate wrote “INSERT LOSING PURDUE PICK HERE” for this pick.  I’ll oblige him with another Beer Bet.  Purdue is a completely legitimate Final 4 contender right now and they’ll prove it today.  Purdue -5.5.


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