Irish/Boilers Crossroads Classic Preview

It’s no secret that I dislike Purdue.  That dislike has its seeds in a high school trip to West Lafayette with the other founding member of this blog, to watch Boob Davie lose to Billy freaking Dicken.  It grew with yearly bets against Purdue buddies, and Drew Brees/Kyle Orton dominating the Irish in the early 2000s.  Putting my personal feelings aside, Brey’s boys are going to have to be men to avoid a second straight loss to a quality opponent in Matt Painter’s Boilers.

Before we dig into Purdue, let’s briefly touch on Saturday’s loss.  ‘Nova need 37 points from Josh Hart to steal one from the Irish, who were up 50-41 with 12 minutes to play.  Bonz and Beach combined for 15 points on 7-23 shooting (0-8 from deep).  Farrell and Stove were outstanding, and the Irish had a chance to beat the #1 team in the final minutes, in a road environment.  To quote Walter…

Nothing is f*&%ed here, Dude.

Five Things to Know About Purdue

1. Notre Dame is looking for their tenth straight basketball/football victory over Purdue since 2008.

2008 – ND 38 Purdue 21
2009 – ND 24 Purdue 21
2010 – ND 23 Purdue 12
2011 – ND 38 Purdue 10
2012 – ND 20 Purdue 17
2013 – ND 31 Purdue 24
2014 – ND 30 Purdue 14

2012 Crossroads – ND 81 Purdue 68
2014 Crossroads – ND 94 Purdue 63

Who own the Boilers?  Owns. Ownssssss.

2. Purdue’s starting front line, with Haas and Swanigan, is huge.  Painter uses that size to his advantage, running his offense through them.  Swanigan is a beast, averaging 16/11 a game.  He can be careless with the ball though, evidenced by his eight turnovers in Purdue’s last game against Cleveland State.  Haas typically plays 20-25 minutes, and uses his enormous body to get position for easy buckets.  If the Irish can get one, or both, in foul trouble, Purdue does not have much size on the bench.  Expect to see a lot of pick and rolls with Bonz.

3. The Boilers go eight deep, with seven experienced players and Carsen Edwards, a frosh.  Crown Point’s finest, Spike Albrecht, is out indefinitely.  They have two annoyingly good shooters in Dakota Mathias (56% from deep) and Ryan Cline (60%).  Mathias is also in the running for the worst facial hair in college basketball.


Shave it off, buddy.

4. Purdue has great balance with inside and outside scoring, leading to an early-season average of 84 points per game.  Haas is the only Boiler in the rotation who won’t shoot it from behind the arc.  Obviously, doubling the post has led to great looks for their shooters, and they are knocking them down.

5. Their only two losses are by three to ‘Nova at home, and at Louisville.  But, their best win is probably over Auburn in Cancun.  Like the Irish, Purdue is also seeking a marquee, non-conference win.  The Boilers are 0-5 in the Crossroads Classic, which surely they know and want to change.

You know I couldn’t leave this out from two years ago…


Ten Stats to Impress Your Buddies

1. Rebounding was a concern coming into the season with the small lineups that Brey likes to run out there.  The Irish were outrebounded by eight against ‘Nova, and Purdue is much bigger (+3 against ‘Nova).  Stove and Beach are going to need to grab some boards, and the Irish may need good minutes off the bench from Torres and Mooney.

2. It is incredibly impressive that Purdue still averages 84 points per game, while averaging 15 turnovers (267th in the nation).  Both teams share the ball extremely well:  Purdue (3rd) and Notre Dame (11th).  The Irish continue to lead the nation in least turnovers per game (8.2) and assist/turnover ratio (2.28).

3. While Purdue is bigger in the post, the Irish have a size advantage on the perimeter.  Thompson and Edwards are 5’10 and 6’0 respectively.  Thompson will likely be on Farrell, leaving Edwards on Stove, who is 6’6.  Beach also has four inches on Mathias.  I’d like to see Stove and Beach take advantage of the size in the mid-range game.

4. Largely thanks to Mathias and Cline, Purdue shoots 44.1% from deep (4th in the nation).  Both teams chuck it, with the Irish shooting over 26 threes a game, and Purdue putting up 24.5 a night.  ND only shot 6-22 (27%) against ‘Nova, and will need to be better this Saturday.

5. Beach’s shooting slump continues.  He had multiple open looks and just couldn’t knock them down against ‘Nova, leading to his first game in single digits (four points).  His stats in the five games against not terrible teams:  12.4 PPG, 19-61 FG (31.1%), 9-35 3PT (25.7%).  All are below his season averages.

6. On the other hand, Farrell continues his excellent play.  He outplayed Jalen Brunson, scoring 18 points and dishing out six assists (all in the first half).  ‘Nova did a good job slowing Farrell down in the second half.  Farrell has exceeded his season averages against the five not terrible teams:  16.8 PPG and 6.2 APG.  Interestingly, he has taken double-digit shots in each of those five games, while taking single-digit shots against the five scrubs.

7.  One huge advantage for ND is from the stripe.  Purdue shoots 69.4%, while the Irish lead the nation at 86.4%.  Six free throw attempts (the total against ‘Nova) won’t cut it against the Boilers.

8.  Pflueger is now turnover-free in 180 minutes.  The blog got a little pub on the Mike Brey Radio Show by pointing out that Rex can’t lead the country in assist/turnover ratio, because he actually needs a turnover in order to have a ratio.

9. ‘Nova keyed on the Rifleman (Matt Ryan), who did not get a shot up in his eight minutes.

10. This is the first time Purdue and ND have played in hoops while both have been ranked.  Here are six polls from this week (Bilas, you’re a smart man):

AP – Purdue (15) / ND (21)
Coaches – Purdue (16) / ND (21)
Bilas – ND (12) / Purdue (17)
Parrish – Purdue (15) / ND (23)
ESPN Power – ND (15) / Purdue (19)
SI – ND (15) / Purdue (20)


1 p.m. (Central), ESPN2

Dukie V is on the call.  May need to listen to the radio call for this one.




As much as I’d love another 31-point victory, this one is going to be tight.  My three keys:

1) Stay within five in rebounding margin
2) Outshoot Purdue from behind the arc
3) Get to the stripe

Notre Dame 84 Purdue 79


One response to “Irish/Boilers Crossroads Classic Preview

  1. Pingback: What Makes a “Classic”? – Saturday Picks | HEAD VS GUT·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s