Head coach: Tracy Dildy (3rd year) - 11-57 at Chicago State. Dildy served as an assistant coach at Auburn, Mississippi, Alabama-Birmingham, and Illinois-Chicago - his final stop before landing the Chicago State job.
You should know: That the Cougars are a member of the five-team Great West Conference, which also features Utah Valley, Texas-Pan American, Houston Baptist and New Jersey Institute of Technology?Chicago State is on a four-game losing streak. The Cougars opened with a 72-67 loss at Green Bay, and then notched their only win of the season at home against Concordia (Illinois), 81-65. Since then, Chicago State has lost 92-63 at Kent State, 79-51 at Tulane, 67-46 at Valparaiso, and 68-66 to Nebraska-Omaha in the Joe Cipriano Nebraska Classic?Notre Dame has played Chicago State just once - two seasons ago on Nov. 17, 2010 -- when the Irish claimed a 102-62 victory.
Top losses: Lee Fisher (12.5 ppg., 7.9 rpg.), Matt Samuels (11.5 ppg.), Ardarius Simmons (9.6 ppg.).
Top players: Chicago State is led by 6-foot-9, 225-pound junior Jeremy Robinson, who paced the Cougars last year with 13.6-point and 7.5-rebound averages. He leads this year's squad with 12.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. He had 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the victory over Concordia, and 14 points and 11 rebounds in the loss to Nebraska-Omaha.
Matt Ross, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound sophomore, is averaging 11.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He scored 19 points in the victory over Concordia. Ross has 15 of Chicago State's 48 three-pointers.
Greg Tucker, a 6-foot-2 junior, is averaging 8.8 points per game. He scored 14 points vs. Nebraska-Omaha. Corey Gray, a 5-foot-11 junior, averages 8.7 points per game and is shooting .526 from the field. Gray scored 16 points off the bench against Tulane.
Quinton Pippen, a 6-foot-4 junior who is the nephew of former Chicago Bulls great Scottie Pippen, averages 6.6 points per game while 6-foot-3 junior Nate Duhon contributes 6.5. Clarke Rosenberg, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, and Jamere Dismukes, a 6-foot-1 junior, contribute another 11 points for the Cougars.
Inside the Irish: Notre Dame slugged its way to a 69-52 victory over St. Francis (Pa.) Saturday. Five Irish players scored in double figures, led by Jack Cooley's 13 points and 13 rebounds. It was his fourth double-double of the season and 17th of his career. Eric Atkins and Cameron Biedscheid each scored 13 points while Jerian Grant and Garrick Sherman each scored 11. The Irish out-rebounded St. Francis, 42-25.
Sixth-year senior Scott Martin sat out the St. Francis game with knee soreness. His availability tonight is uncertain with the Irish hosting Kentucky Thursday. His absence snapped a 28-game starting streak.
Notre Dame continues to struggle shooting the basketball from three-point range as well as the free-throw line. The Irish have converted just .336 three-pointers (37-of-110) and .624 from the line (73-117).
Prister's take: Not much to see here as the Irish get in one final tune-up before defending national champion Kentucky comes to town. The Cougars have won just 11 of their 68 games under head coach Tracy Dildy, who has a junior-dominated roster.
Chicago State probably matched up better last year against the Irish when they had players like Lee Fisher, Matt Samuels and Ardarius Simmons, who combined 33.6 points per game. Jeremy Robinson is a capable front-line performer for Chicago State, and Matt Ross has given Robinson some help up front while also contributing on the perimeter.
The Cougars average 22.5 three-point attempts per game and will try to shoot their way to victory. But other than the novelty of having Scottie Pippen's nephew in the building, this isn't much of a match-up. The Irish shouldn't have any trouble with the Cougars.
Pointspread: Notre Dame by 33
Prister's Prediction: Notre Dame 87, Chicago St. 51
Prister's record: 5-1 straight up; 4-0 vs. points