Dec. 15, 2016
WHO: No. 21/21 Notre Dame vs. No. 15/16 Purdue
WHAT: 2016 Crossroads Classic - Game One
WHERE: BankersLife Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
WHEN: 2:00 p.m. ET
NATIONAL BROADCAST: ESPN2 with Dave Flemming (play-by-play) and Dick Vitale (analyst).
AUDIO BROADCAST: Notre Dame Basketball Network with Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Jordan Cornette (analyst). Available on WatchND.tv, via the Notre Dame Basketball Radio Network (check the game notes for affiliates) and on Sirius/XM Channel 84.
NOTRE DAME AND PURDUE TANGLE IN THE CROSSROADS CLASSIC:
The University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team (9-1), ranked 21st in both national polls, faces #15/16 Purdue in the Crossroads Classic at BankersLife Fieldhouse on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016 (2:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2). The Irish and Boilermakers meet in the first game of the annual doubleheader which will feature Butler and Indiana in the second game. Notre Dame will be appearing in the Crossroads Classic for the sixth time and boasts a 3-2 record in the event.
Here are Five Things To Know about the Notre Dame - Purdue Crossroads Classic matchup on Saturday -
1 - NOTRE DAME vs. PURDUE SERIES HISTORY:
Notre Dame and Purdue will be meeting for the 43rd time on Saturday afternoon in the Crossroads Classic and the first time that both teams are in the national rankings. The Irish lead the all-time series 22-20, 10-4 at neutral sites and have won the last three most recent meetings (in the 2012, 2014 Crossroads Classic and the 2004 National Inviational Tournament).
Mike Brey and Matt Painter have met twice as head coaches at Notre Dame and Purdue, with both of those meetings also occurring in the Crossroads Classic.
The Notre Dame - Purdue series began in 1916 and the two teams met regularly thorughout the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s, including the Hoosier Classic - an in-season tournament that featured Butler, Indiana, Purdue and Notre Dame at Hinkle Fieldhouse. That tournament ended in 1960, but the Crossroads Classic harkens back to that era and will continue through the 2019 season.
2 - IRISH LOOKING TO BOUNCE-BACK AGAIN:
Over the past three seasons, Notre Dame has developed a strength of bouncing back from a loss. Dating back to the end of the 2013-14 season, the Irish have lost back-to-back games just once - a Feb. 27, 2016 loss at Florida State followed by a March 2, 2016 loss at home to Miami.
Those two losses ended a record-matching streak of 67 consecutive games without suffering a back-to-back losses for the Irish, matching the teams from 1924-28 (March 3, 1925 - Dec. 15, 1928) and the 1983-86 teams (Feb. 22, 1984 - Nov. 21, 1986).
3 - VASTURIA ON A ROLL:
Senior captain Steve Vasturia has started the 2016-17 season strong, in similar fashion to his junior season. Entering the game against Purdue, Vasturia is on a seven-game run of double-digit scoring efforts, the second-best stretch of his career dating back to the start of the 2015-16 season when he logged double-digit scoring games in the first nine games of the year.
Over the last seven games, Vasturia is scoring 18.3 points-per-game, shooting 52 percent from the floor, 45 percent from three-point range and is dishing out three assists-per-game.
4 - THE ULTIMATE WEAPON - GETTING TO THE FREE THROW LINE:
Notre Dame is first in the country (as of Dec. 13) in free throw percentage, shooting 86.4 percent (165-191) from the charity stripe this season. Here are some of the superlatives for the team from its free throw shooting -
- Junior Matt Farell was tied with two other players in the country with a perfect 1.000 shooting percentage from the free throw line (24-24) last week. Without a FT attempt in the Villanova game, Farrell is currently just behind the average attempt per game needed to qualify as the national leader (2.5).
- Dating back to the 2015-16 season, Farrell has connected on 28 consecutive free throws.
- Farrell is the first Notre Dame player in the Brey era to begin the season connecting on his first 24 free throw attempts.
- Steve Vasturia is currently third in the nation for free throw shooting percentage at .970 (32-33).
- Vasturia combines with Bonzie Colson (25th, 45-49, .918) to give Notre Dame the only team in the country with two players in the top 35 for free throw shooting.
- Colson’s 12-for-12 effort at the free throw line against Iowa tied four other ND players with the fourth-best in school history.
- Notre Dame has missed three or less free throws in eight of nine games this season and hit all 14 attempts in the victory over North Carolina A&T and all six attempts against Villanova.
- Over the course of the three games with Iowa, North Carolina A&T and Fort Wayne, Notre Dame combined to hit 31 consecutive free throws as a team.
5 - USE INK TO PUT VASTURIA IN THE STARTING LINEUP:
Senior guard and team tri-captain Steve Vasturia, who head coach Mike Brey has said keeps him calm on the sidelines while in the lineup, has started 91 consecutive games for the Irish. As a freshman guard, Vasturia’s first start came at Maryland on Jan. 15, 2014, but he entered the starting line up permanently on February 16, 2014, playing 30 minutes and scoring seven points in a victory at Boston College. The Philadelphia, Pa., native has not left the Irish starting five since that game.
Vasturia is on pace to become just the fourth Notre Dame player to start 100 consecutive games in a career at Florida State on Jan. 18, 2017.
Pat Connaughton, a former teammate of Vasturia’s in 2013-14 and 2014-15, holds the school record for consecutive games started at 139. Chris Thomas (2002-05) started all 128 games of his career at Notre Dame and Pat Garrity (1995-98) was in the starting lineup for all 111 games of his career with the Irish.
Much more notes, statistics and analysis in the Notre Dame game notes available at the top of the page.