Maui Invitational, game one: Notre Dame.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Current record: 2-0
Current RPI: 224
Current Sagarin: 34
Current Pomeroy: 147
2007-08 record: 25-8 (lost to Washington State in second round of NCAA Tournament)
2007-08 RPI: 28
2007-08 Sagarin: 22
2007-08 Pomeroy: 28
Series: IU leads 47-20
Last IU win: 12/10/2003 (66-63 in South Bend)
Last Notre Dame win: 12/8/2004 (55-45 in Bloomington)
Last neutral site meeting: 12/19/1967 (Fort Wayne)
Pomeroy gameplan
TV: 5:30 pm tonight, ESPN2

IU and Notre Dame play each other this afternoon for the first time in four years. This is the longest gap in the series since the teams went 15 years between meetings from 1932 to 1947. IU leads the series comfortably, although in the last meeting, ND won at Assembly Hall, breaking a 31-year skid in Bloomington and an 8-game series losing streak. ND seems likely to defeat IU in back-to-back games for the first time since the Lou Watson era, 1968 and 1969. The numbers above show why I should ignore computer rankings until mid December: ND is universally expected to be a top 10 team this year. The main reason for ND's recent renaissance (after missing the tournament three straight times from 2004-2006) is Luke Harangody, a surprisingly versatile big man who happens to be the son and brother of former IU football players. Harangody is one of the more notable recruiting misses brought on by IU's stubborn refusal to part with Mike Davis when his incompetence had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Giving up about a 40 point game to Harangody would be a nice illustration of IU's recent missteps: getting beat up by a guy who might have played for IU if Davis were gone, against a roster decimated by IU's post-Davis decision to hire a crook.

I don't have time to do a full workup, so I recommend this Inside the Hall post, which links to the ND preview written by John Gasaway, formerly the Big Ten Wonk. In short, ND has been great offensively, not so dominant defensively. Harangody's presence makes a competitive game even more of a longshot than it would be against many other top 10 teams. IU's only chance would seem to be foul trouble (or a self-inflicted off game) by Harangody combined with incredible shooting from Matt Roth and other IU guards. Not likely.


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