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November 24, 2008

Basketball preview: ND opens Maui play vs. Indiana

MAUI, Hawaii-No. 8-ranked Notre Dame opens play Monday in the EA Sports Maui Invitational against Indiana and first-year Hoosiers head coach Tom Crean.

Tip off is slated for 12:30 p.m. in Hawaii (5:30 p.m. ET) at the Lahaina Civic Center (capacity 2,400).

Indiana, depleted by graduation and defections after the controversial departure of head coach Kelvin Sampson, will rely mainly on freshmen and walk-ons against the mighty Irish (2-0), who struggled in a 65-54 victory at Loyola Marymount Friday night.

The Irish were powered by All-American Luke Harangody (27 points, 17 rebounds) and Tory Jackson (16 points). But Notre Dame shot just 33.3 percent in the second half (8-of-24) and 40.4 percent for the game. Notre Dame missed 13 of 32 free throws, including 6-of-12 by Jackson.

Now the Irish must take on rival Indiana for the 68th time in a series (Indiana leads, 47-20) dominated by the Hoosiers. Notre Dame defeated Indiana in Bloomington in 2004 the last time the two teams squared off. But the Irish have lost 13 of their last 16 to Indiana. Brey is just 1-4 against the Hoosiers and 3-5 versus Crean. Crean was 191-96 in nine seasons at Marquette.

The Irish-a 13 -point favorite-should be able to have their way with the Hoosiers, who knocked off Northwestern State (83-65) and IUPUI (60-57) to open the season in Bloomington. Six-foot-nine freshman Tom Pritchard became the first Indiana player in history to open his career with back-to-back double-doubles. He scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the victory over Northwestern State, and then scored 19 points and snagged 10 rebounds against IUPUI.

Six-foot-two junior guard Devan Dumes scored 21 points against Northwestern State and is averaging 15.5 through two games. Six-foot-three freshman Matt Roth (10.5) and 6-foot-5 freshman Verdell Jones III (10.0) have made significant contributions for the Hoosiers. Another freshman, 6-foot-4 freshman Nick Williams, is averaging 8.0 points and grabbed eight rebounds against Northwestern State.

Harangody paces the Irish with a 28.5 scoring average while pulling down 31 rebounds in two games. He also is shooting 55.3 percent from the field.

Notre Dame needs Kyle McAlarney to get going. He was 0-for-7 and failed to score against Loyola Marymount. He has made just 2-of-13 shots this season. Luke Zeller, who scored 18 points in the season-opening victory over USC Upstate, is averaging 12.0 points per game. Jackson is averaging 11.0 points per game.

This is Indiana's fifth Maui Invitational and Notre Dame's first. The Hoosiers won this tournament in 2002 after previous appearances in 1990, 1994 and 1998. Indiana finished second to Syracuse in 1990 and 1998. The Hoosiers are 8-4 all-time in the Maui Invitational.

In other first-day action, No. 7 Texas takes on St. Joseph's at 3 p.m. ET, followed by Notre Dame vs. Indiana. No. 1-ranked North Carolina is scheduled to tip off against host team Chaminade at 9:30 p.m. ET, followed by Oregon vs. Alabama at midnight ET.

Poinstspread: Notre Dame by 13 1/2
Prister's Pick: Notre Dame 87, Indiana 69
Season record: 2-0 straight up; 0-0 vs. points



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