Ari Kasle | Staff Reporter
The Crossroads Classic has only been going on for two years, but the Butler men’s basketball team has already created plenty of memorable moments in the event.
The Bulldogs will look to create a few more this season in a rematch of the team’s 2011 contest against Purdue.
Coming off wins against North Dakota and Manchester, Butler (7-2) will face a Purdue (8-2) squad that has won three straight.
In the inaugural Crossroads Classic, Butler was coming in on a three-game losing streak, while Purdue boasted a 9-2 record.
The Bulldogs, at one point down by 15 points, came back and beat Purdue on a last second tip in by center Andrew Smith.
The next year, the Bulldogs upset then-No. 1 Indiana University in an overtime thriller.
The Crossroads Classic brings together four Indiana universities with successful basketball programs. The four schools involved—Butler, Purdue, Indiana and Notre Dame—will participate in an annual doubleheader game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The matchups rotate each year, although Purdue and Indiana cannot meet in the event due to a Big Ten regulation.
“It’s always fun to get to play top teams like Indiana, Purdue and Notre Dame,” junior guard Alex Barlow said. “There is a little bit of an in-state rivalry going on. Everyone wants to be the best in the state, so it’s cool to get a chance to play it out and see what happens.”
Last year, Barlow became a household name after knocking down a floater in the final seconds of overtime to push Butler past Indiana. It will be his and the team’s first time returning to Bankers Life Fieldhouse since that game.
“It’s going to be cool to be back,” Barlow said. “Our team obviously has a lot of good memories from this event, especially last year.
“But at the same time, all of that is in the past. We are really only focusing on this game, because it’s a big game and we need to win to boost our non-conference resume.”
Butler is the only of the four teams to have never lost at the event. This year, the Bulldogs face Purdue in a rematch of their 2011 Crossroads Classic game.
The Boilermakers are led in scoring by brothers Terone and Ronnie Johnson, who are averaging 12.8 and 11.9 points per game this season, respectively.
Another Boilermaker to watch is sophomore A.J. Hammons. Listed at 7-0 and 251 pounds, Hammons is considered to be a National Basketball Association prospect and is averaging eight points and seven rebounds this season.
Butler and Purdue tip off at 6 p.m. Saturday, immediately following the opening game between Notre Dame and Indiana at 3:15 p.m.