Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | Crossroads Classic

December 20, 2019

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey spoke on Friday afternoon as the Irish prepare to head to Indianapolis on Saturday to take on Indiana in the Crossroads Classic. 

On staying hot offensively:
"It'd be great to stay in that offensive rhythm, man. We were getting great looks before that and I thought we rose up and took them more confidently. I'm certainly convincing us that we found something on a daily basis. We're going to need to do that against a Power Five team. 

"We're going to have to make some shots over the top. The game plan is similar because UCLA and Indiana are very similar. They are pounding you, coming at your lane - I told our guys we lead the nation in the least amount of fouls and they lead the nation in free throws attempted. Something has to give." 

On continuing to play the Crossroads Classic:
"It's been great for our program because playing Indiana is important. That doesn't mean any disrespect to Purdue; that's important too. I lived out here for 20 years and when we didn't play Indiana there for a while when we dropped the home-and-home because of the ACC/Big Ten - people liked playing Indiana. 

"I'm also very clued in to a lot of IU fans being Notre Dame basketball fans. They're able to root for both. 

"The contract runs through 2022 and right now there's no extension on it. I think it will be interesting to see. 

"IU controls the thing. They move the needle down there, so it's going to be interesting what they do and what we do moving forward. 20 league games has changed a lot of people's philosophy on stuff like this. This is year nine, but I've liked it. It's been a great thing." 

On a win meaning the Irish would likely only have one non-conference loss heading into ACC play:
"There's no question if you can get this one after getting last Saturday, you can swallow 0-2 in the league better at your Christmas break. We're digging out of a hole there. We'll deal with that on January 4th when we get started. 

"This can really help you. Put another Power Five win on there and take the edge off of an 0-2 league situation."

On the process of development of roles:
"I think we knew our seniors would be our seniors. (John) Mooney is going to be Mooney. We're like almost bored with what he does. He rolls out of bed and gets a double-double. It's amazing. I felt TJ (Gibbs) would get back in a rhythm. Rex (Pflueger) gives you what Rex gives you with all the intangible stuff. Juwan (Durham) could play 22 minutes or he could play 11 minutes. 

"Those sophomores are starting to be confident and I thought this last week, collectively, they looked like they belonged as college basketball players. Just trying to keep those guys confident and aggressively offensively. They have to hunt their stuff. 

"We were leading the nation in assists to turnover and not shooting it well. After last week, the numbers are crazy. We move it and we're good enough with it to get a great shot. We are going to have to bang down a few more of those. 

"I do like we're playing a little faster. Our pace is up. We're getting down the floor and getting some easy ones. That was by design. 

"Defensively, we've been pretty solid. There's no mystery on our program. Offensive effiency versus physicality and athletic ability coming at you. We dealt with it in the Big East. Can you be efficient enough to hold off the athletic ability pounding on you a lot of nights." 

On Nate Laszewksi rebounding better:
"He looks like a college rebounder now. Last year, he was weak in the knees. I'm not worried about his shooting. I love that he keeps firing. He's trending the right way there. 

"How he's rebounded the basketball - he looks like he belongs as a college player now. That can only help him be better on the offensive end. 

"We could use another guy in there and not just John getting 18 rebounds." 

On what the team needs to do to be successful in Saturday's atmosphere:
"We've already been in two atmospheres like this at North Carolina and Maryland. There will be a lot of red and white in there. It shouldn't be new to them. Maybe we're more ready to finish one of these. 

"It's always tough on the road even though we like playing there. Overall, we've played well there even though we're 4-4. 

"Last year, we played great down there. It was our best win. Little did I know at the time."

On Rex Pflueger returning to Bankers Life:
"I want to spend some time with him on the bus. It's like full circle to him. Not only did he hurt the knee, but he got the news of his mom over the weekend. He took an exam the morning of the game.

"I think it's a great story a year later he's back and he's being a key guy for us." 

On South Bend native Damezi Anderson:
"He is a slashing - he's streaky too. He can shoot it. He can come off the bench and make shots. In their last game, I thought they did a great job with him. They moved him to the four and played small kind of like we sometimes do. He helped them win that game. 

"He's got a really bright future down there. I love him. I see him during the summer all the time. He can score the ball."

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Mike Brey Notebook | Crossroads Classic

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