Crossroads Classic to be discontinued after 2021
After nine years of building rivalries between four staples of Indiana basketball, the annual Crossroads Classic will be discontinued after the 2021-22 season, according to a statement from Purdue Athletics.
While the reason for the cancelation has not been confirmed, Athletic Director Mike Bobinski blames Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame.
“A couple of the participants chose to opt out and it’s no secret who those are — South Bend and Bloomington don’t want to continue the event,” he told the Lafayette Journal and Courier Wednesday. “They have their reasons. I don’t necessarily agree with them but that’s their decisions.”
The Exponent emailed Purdue basketball’s sports information director for comment early Wednesday morning, and it went unanswered until he released a Purdue Athletics press release Wednesday evening.
The release reassured fans it will “continue to look for unique opportunities to partner with Bankers Life Fieldhouse to bring the Boilermakers to Indianapolis on a regular basis.”
The matchups featured four of the top basketball programs in the state of Indiana: Purdue, Indiana, Butler University, and Notre Dame. All four schools have been ranked at least once when entering the event: Indiana, Notre Dame, and Purdue are tied at two ranked appearances, while Butler leads the four with three ranked appearances.
The 2016-17 Purdue Boilermakers (9-2) were the highest ranked team to enter the event, coming in with the No. 15 spot in the Associated Press polls. The Boilermakers came back strong from a 14-point deficit against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-2) in the second half, scoring 48 points to Notre Dame’s 29.
Then-sophomore forward Caleb Swanigan scored a game-high 26 points, scoring 11 out of his 19 overall attempts from the field while pulling in 10 rebounds, according to Sports Reference. Combined with then-junior forward Vince Edwards’s 20 points and 10 rebounds, the two combined for more than half of Purdue’s scoring and rebounding against the Irish.
The Indiana Hoosiers currently hold the best overall record in the Crossroads classic, winning 7 of their 10 games in the tournament over the past decade. Indiana has never faced Purdue in a Crossroads Classic game, instead facing Notre Dame five times and Butler five times. The Hoosiers went 4-1 against the Irish and 3-2 against the Bulldogs.
The Boilermakers hold the worst record of the four schools, going 3-7 in the event’s existence. Purdue has gone 2-3 against Notre Dame and 1-4 against Butler.
The Boilermakers ended their run in the Crossroads Classic with an 88-78 win over the Fighting Irish in 2020.
Purdue managed to control the tempo from the opening tip, building a comfortable lead throughout the game by winning both halves by 5 points. Four Boilermakers ended the game with double-digit points. Junior guards Sasha Stefanovic and Eric Hunter Jr. both scored 18 in Purdue’s final Crossroads outing.
Purdue’s defense managed to throw off Notre Dame’s consistency and hold their top scorer, then-junior guard Prentis Hubb, to 0 points in the game. He missed a total of four attempts from three and seven attempts from the field.
Head coach Matt Painter couldn’t help but feel proud of his junior class’s ability to keep their heads down, play solid defense and continue playing to the best of their ability even when they just couldn’t find the bottom of the net.
“If you look at all of our juniors’ worst games, all four are at worst solid to great,” Painter said in a postgame press conference. “Every night you can guard, take care of the ball and have a great attitude is a great game for us.
“You have to get that from people that have played before, and in the past three games, all of our guys have had a good attitude, good effort, and good energy.”
The event was created just one year after Painter agreed to an eight-year contract extension with the Boilermakers. Since then, he has gone 270-128, and signed an extension through the 2023-24 season in 2018.
It may take a while before another formal event, but Indiana’s top collegiate teams will continue to face off in what could be another promising season for the Boilermakers. Purdue has hired two new assistant coaches to succeed two assistants who left for head coaching jobs while bringing in a recruiting class that comes in at No. 36 in the country and No. 7 in the Big Ten, according to 247 Sports.