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December 15, 2012
Purdue faces it highest-profile opponent of the season so far Saturday afternoon in Indianapolis when it faces 22nd-ranked Notre Dame in the second-annual Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
For a struggling Purdue team that's lost five of its nine games this season - the low point being last weekend's 47-44 loss at Eastern Michigan - the Boilermakers will have their hands full in Downtown Indy.
"The losses have affected some people," junior Terone Johnson said. "We do have a bunch of young guys who haven't seen our culture as much. Those losses are unacceptable to us and our coaching staff and our captains. We have to get everyone to understand that, that losing's not OK. But they don't like to lose either. Nobody does."
It's OK for losing to affect players, but
"It has to affect us to make want to get better and win the next game," Johnson said, "and keep getting wins. We can't keep just getting a win here or there, then expect to be able to keep playing at a high level."
This is the first meeting between these two teams since the 2004 NIT and the first regular season meeting since 1966.
(And we're guessing.)
G: Terone Johnson
G: Anthony Johnson
F: D.J. Byrd
F: Jacob Lawson
C: A.J. Hammons
G: Eric Atkins (6-2, 182, Jr.)
G: Jerian Grant (6-5, 202, Jr.)
G/F: Scott Martin (6-8, 218, Sr.)
G/F: Pat Connaughton (6-5, 212, So.)
F: Jack Cooley (6-9, 246, Sr.)
Sixth-year senior Scott Martin played at Purdue as a freshman in 2007-08 before transferring. None of his former Boilermaker teammates remain from that season and only Matt Painter remains from the coaching staff. Notre Dame's signature win this season came in holding then-eighth-ranked Kentucky to just 50 points in a 64-50 win in South Bend. The lone Irish loss came to St. Joseph's in overtime in Brooklyn. . Notre Dame is shooting 38 percent collectively from three-point range, led by Martin at 45.2 percent. The Irish shoot just 63.2 percent at the foul line, slightly worse than Purdue's 64.1. Big man Jack Cooley is one of the best out there, averaging 14.2 points and 11.3 rebounds. He's one of the top offensive rebounders in college basketball.
About Purdue: Roster | Schedule | Statistics
About Notre Dame: Roster | Schedule | Statistics
Game time: 4:30 p.m.
Radio: Purdue Sports Network (95.7 FM locally)
Internet: GoldandBlack.com subscribers can follow along live with our in-game blog, "Game Day Live."
Things to think about
1. Purdue has to keep Notre Dame off the boards, plain and simple.
That's been the Boilermakers' strength thus far this season, but the Irish and Cooley will pose the biggest challenge yet.
The senior big man is one of the best rebounders in the country, having grabbed a double-digit total in seven of nine games this season.
Cooley's averaging 5.3 offensive rebounds per game. Purdue has just one player, Hammons, averaging more than 5.3 total rebounds.
2. What impact did having a week between games have on Purdue? Obviously it was finals week, so it's not like the Boilermakers' collective minds were solely focused on basketball.
But might the quiet time have served as an opportunity for some valuable self-analysis?
3. Can Purdue pass? The Eastern Michigan game was a debacle in that sense. The Boilermakers just need to be solid at doing very basic things in some senses.
GoldandBlack.com Prediction: Purdue's already taken five losses and this is really the first game you'd have looked at prior to the season and said, "If they can get that one, it'll be considered an upset."
Notre Dame 65, Purdue 59
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