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In-state showdown

Matt Lozar | Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Irish head coach Mike Brey isn’t hiding the obvious from his team concerning the Notre Dame-Indiana series.”They’ve had our number for a long time,” Brey said. “I know we haven’t won down there since 1973, and I kind of explained that to our guys that the series has been very one-sided, that their program has been the marquis program over time.”It would be a good win for our program, obviously for this team to, to beat them on their floor.” The Irish play the Hoosiers tonight in Bloomington with history not exactly on their side. Indiana has won eight in a row in this series, 13 of the past 14 overall and the last 13 at Assembly Hall. All of those negative factors going against the Irish leave them no time to stay down about their second-half collapse at Michigan Saturday.”Coming off a loss like we had, there’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves,” Irish guard Chris Quinn said. ‘We’ve got to bounce back and be ready to play [to]night.”After the 2003-04 season, which saw the Irish drop a number of tough losses on national television and to ranked teams, they know how to deal with the kind of defeat they had Saturday in Ann Arbor. That’s why Irish co-captain Jordan Cornette isn’t concerned about a hangover from the Michigan loss.”With these guys, I’m never really worried about bouncing back,” Cornette said. “We’ve had our share of tough losses since I’ve been here, and we know how to bounce back. These guys are excited for another challenge.”In their first road game of the season, the Irish got off to a disappointing start, going down 27-16 with three minutes, 36 seconds remaining in the first half. That start was surprising considering the veterans in the starting lineup that should haven known how to play well on the road in a tough environment like Crisler Arena. “It’s just one of those mental things. It’s not an X or O thing. It’s the whole starting lineup being ready to perform right after tip-off,” Irish senior Dennis Latimore said. “I don’t feel like the whole starting five was ready to go, composed and poised to go out there the first five to ten minutes of the game. “We have to accept responsibility and hold ourselves accountable.”Assembly Hall will be an even tougher place to play than Crisler as this is obviously a big in-state rivalry. Going down double digits early in the first half is not the recipe for success tonight against the Hoosiers.The Irish feel they’ve learned what they need to do to prevent that from happening again.”The main thing for us is staying focused and paying attention to detail, especially in game situations, and there’s going to be a lot of those coming up,” Cornette said. “It’s going to be loud. It’s going to be tough to hear and tough to communicate. You have to deal with those intangibles and handle them if you want to be a great team.”If the Irish are in the position late in the game tonight as they were Saturday against the Wolverines, then Brey will be satisfied – especially given the past history of Notre Dame at Indiana.”I’d love to be in those game situations in Bloomington [tonight] and see if we can make the correct decisions down the stretch,” he said. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. with an ESPN national telecast.