After some early season struggles for the Notre Dame basketball team, Duquesne will provide much of the same adversity.
With a 3-1 record and a loss to Radford, it’s safe to call the Notre Dame basketball season what it is: A shaky start. Notre Dame had many questions coming into the season and now they may have more.
It’s clear that the Irish have a lot of talent. In fact, they may have so much young talent that head coach Mike Brey doesn’t quite know how to cut down his rotation. The young core doesn’t 100 percent know how to benefit and compliment each other and are still learning as they go in terms of how to face adversity.
A lot of Notre Dame’s games have been closer than they would have expected. When you look at Duquesne, they not only provide some of the same adversity, but are arguably the Irish’ best opponent yet.
Duquesne has faced three of the same opponents that Notre Dame — the exception being Chicago State. They have also faced a lot of the same adversity. The only difference is that Duquesne has found ways to win.
They controlled the entire game against William & Mary, needed an overtime to beat UIC. Additionally, controlled the pace in a close win over Radford. Some nights, it was done with strong shooting, while other nights, defense and free-throw shooting led the way.
Tuesday’s matchup will be a game between two teams that mirror each other.
The young guns have stepped up in different ways for Brey. Prentiss Hubb had a strong game against William and Mary, while DJ Harvey has really started to get his footing under him.
While the Irish are figuring things out, one thing has been clear: Notre Dame needs leadership and someone who can take over. So far, Rex Pflueger hasn’t answered the call.
Pflueger is not only struggling shooting, but also defensively he hasn’t been what we have seen the last few seasons. With this being Notre Dame’s toughest opponent to date, they need him to take the big step and lead this team against Duquesne.