The game of basketball continues to evolve, but the revival of the historic rivalry of Notre Dame versus UCLA cannot go unnoticed.
January 19, 1974 – that was the date that UCLA’s 88-game win streak ended at the hands of Notre Dame.
This time, nothing of that caliber is on the line. This merely is a non-conference game set in early December between two teams carrying 6-2 records. Yet, the significance of this game cannot go unnoticed.
Each game seems to be a building block, not only for the youth of Notre Dame but a UCLA team that is even greener than Mike Brey’s squad.
Experience is a luxury that neither of these teams boast. Instead, they will reap the benefits of having young, energetic players striving to make a name for themselves.
It’s almost ironic how similar Notre Dame and UCLA are. It’s not just the youth, but the guard play, defense and emergence of certain players.
Gibbs used a big second half against Oklahoma to finish with 18-points, but Hubb shot two-of-nine for only four points. Even with four double-digit scorers, Notre Dame just didn’t have the defense to overcome the Sooners.
The brightest spot of the game was what Juwan Durham was able to do in limited minutes. 15-points on seven-of-eight shooting accompanied with three blocks, Brey simply cannot afford to leave his transfer on the bench in this one.
UCLA’s 7’1” Moses Brown has practically averaged a double-double. Notre Dame’s rebounding is going to come from John Mooney, but as far as defending and scoring in the paint, Durham is the best matchup for Brown.
When it comes down to it, UCLA knows how to score. A big reason for success in that category is Kris Wilkes and his 17.5 ppg.
The Bruins will look to intimidate the Irish with their man-to-man defense. As for Notre Dame, it will be likely that Brey uses his strategy of continually switching up from man to zone and/or press.
Notre Dame versus UCLA has provided us with some great college basketball games. With the similarities between the two, this time it may be more of a chess match to decipher a winner.