Coming off of their most impressive game yet, Notre Dame basketball prepares for bigger challenges.
At 5-1 there have already been disappointments for Notre Dame basketball this season. But, there is reason for optimism after the Irish’s last two performances. Despite poor shooting, Notre Dame found a way to beat Duquesne. Against DePaul, the Irish played a phenomenal half of basketball in the midst of a 95-70 rout.
Senior Rex Pflueger’s game finally appeared after searching for it all season; John Mooney is taking advantage of his extra minutes following the departure of Elijah Burns, and Prentiss Hubb is standing above the rest of their strong freshman class.
Things are looking up for Notre Dame Men’s Basketball. Everything is clicking at the right time, but Mike Brey’s squad is about to be tested.
The upcoming schedule includes Illinois, Oklahoma, UCLA and Purdue. With two neutral site games and one away, Illinois becomes the last of seven home games to open up the season for the Irish.
On the surface, Illinois looks like an easy opponent. The Fighting Illini boast a 2-4 record with wins over Evansville and Mississippi Valley State. They went winless in the Maui Invitational and added a loss to Georgetown in the second game of the season.
In reality, Illinois is the victim of a tough schedule. Gonzaga may be their only ranked opponent, but their three other losses have been against strong opposition.
They almost knocked off No. 3 Gonzaga, as they took them to the wire. With the exception of one bad half of play versus Iowa State, the rest of their losses have been close.
You could make the argument that this team, banking on its underclassman, just hasn’t found a way to win yet.
Trent Frazier has done his best to put this team on his back, averaging 17.6 ppg. While he provides the scoring, Illinois is desperate for someone to provide rebounding.
It’s an area where they have struggled, leaving Notre Dame’s Mooney a huge opportunity to continue his strong performances.
A win for Notre Dame here could be huge in terms of momentum and confidence for this young Irish team.