It’s not often that a team is blessed with a full week of rest. The Oklahoma and Notre Dame basketball teams have each had a week of rest and preparation for their Tuesday night matchup.
Both the Irish and Sooners boast a 6-1 record with Oklahoma’s loss coming by 20-points to Wisconsin and the lone Notre Dame basketball loss coming by way of a three-point loss to Radford.
The Irish’s loss to Radford almost seemed to be a turning point. Winning four in a row, each game Notre Dame looks more comfortable and confident; in return, each game ends as their “best performance yet”.
The week off gives Mike Brey’s young squad not only a chance to prepare for Oklahoma, but to evaluate their own performance up to this point and work out some of the remaining kinks.
For Notre Dame, we’re still wondering who all is going to step up, who is going to play best with each other and when should those rotations occur.
There is a strong future waiting in South Bend with the current freshman class. One player who has arrived and obliterated expectations has been Prentiss Hubb.
Newcomer Juwan Durham is also lobbying for more minutes. With what he was able to do in just nine minutes against DePaul and his strong performance against Illinois, it will be hard for Brey to leave the UConn transfer on the bench.
His sudden breakout might be coming at the perfect time for the Irish.
Oklahoma might not be the offensive powerhouse that they could have been with a second year of Trae Young, but the talent is still there. This is a front court that could cause a lot of problems for teams.
Jamuni McNeace is coming off of his first double-double of the season with 16-points and ten rebounds versus North Texas, but recently he’s becoming a blocking machine. He’s racked up 14 blocks in the last four games, making nothing easy inside the paint.
Brady Manek (AKA the Larry Bird lookalike) put up impressive numbers with three double-doubles to open up the season, but his game has slowed down. But, when the 6’9” player can get the three ball to drop, he’s a huge threat.
While Notre Dame is a much more balanced scoring team, it will be interesting to see how Brey goes about guarding Christian James, who has taken a huge step this season and is averaging 19.1 ppg.
Brey has been known for switching up his defense continually throughout games to confuse his opponent. This matchup will likely be no different, as Notre Dame looks to build on their growing confidence.