Oct 26, 2012, 8:43 PM EST
Playing a technical road game in their home state, the Indiana Pacers must feel like they’re a little further west tonight.
Less than three weeks after the Notre Dame football team traveled to Chicago, the relationship between the University and its closest major city is strengthening tonight. Purcell Pavilion has a decidedly Chicago feel as the Bulls host the Pacers in both teams’ final preseason game.
Before the game, the Purcell videoboard played montages of the city set to Frank Sinatra, while fans tried to get pictures with their favorite players during warmups.
Bulls PA announcer Tommy Edwards introduced the sellout crowd to “your Chicago Bulls” before the team began its famed “Sirius”-themed introductions. South Bend-area Bulls fans got to hear the same intro that used to end with a certain 6’6” guard “from Nooorth Carolina.”
Although it’s a night for Bulls fans, Notre Dame connections are on display as well. Men’s basketball head coach Mike Brey presented the ball for the opening tip, and Indiana Pacers guard Ben Hansbrough got one of the loudest ovations of the game when he checked in during the first quarter. Leading the Irish to a 2-seed in the NCAA tournament, Hansbrough was the Big East Player of the Year in his final season with Notre Dame in 2011.
While it’s a little strange to see the Joyce Center decked out in red, watching Bulls players facing off on the center-court monogram “ND” is a great representation of the long history between the city of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame.
Stay tuned to “In the Paint” for more coverage of tonight’s Bulls-Pacers preseason matchup.
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