The Notre Dame Fighting Irish flew all the way across the country to take on an old rival in the dead of night. The UCLA Bruins played host to the Irish, and they were more than eager to celebrate the great history between these two schools with a white-out and former greats in attendance.
It was a fun atmosphere for an early December game, and one that a young Irish team was unable to finish despite chance after chance. So, what did we learn?
SHOT SELECTION CONTINUES TO BE A PROBLEM
Or maybe they just need to hit more of them? It’s funny how that works sometimes, but it certainly seemed like they had their troubles with this against UCLA. There were rushed shots, rushed possessions, and foolhardy attempts in the paint after the defense had collapsed on the drive.
Specifically, Prentiss Hubb and T.J. Gibbs had more than their fair share of moments that caused you to shout out WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? Hubb is a freshman, so he has an excuse (I suppose) but Gibbs is a very experienced junior, and he HAS to help lead this team much better than what he showed against UCLA.
That’s two straight losses now to big conference opponents. The Irish have a few more before they slip into ACC play, but there seems to be a pattern here — and it could get rough. OFD’s Pat Sullivan tweeted this out shortly after the game:
Guys, we're gonna have a lot of this in 2018-2019 -- close, heartbreaking losses that teases these players' potential but expose their youth.— One Foot Down (@OneFootDown) December 9, 2018
Enjoy the roller coaster, and get ready for a 2019-2020 team that could make a run in March. It's gonna be fun. Pat Rick, signing off.
That pretty much says it all. It’s always a tough endeavor to stay positive for the future while putting up losses, but what other option is there? Trust the process.
BILL WALTON AND DAVE PASCH WERE MAGNIFICENT
This won’t be a popular opinion, but the ESPN announcing team of Walton and Pasch was about as good as it gets from an entertainment standpoint. I know, I know... you couldn’t stand Bill Walton’s homerism and other tomfoolery... but I gobbled it up. In the first ten minutes alone, the broadcast sounded more like Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, with Walton badgering Pasch about being on a team, and Walton angrily asked if Dave “took a mean pill” after Pasch brought up the China incident.
It was beautiful.
The Irish get a bit of rest before they take on the Purdue Boilermakers in the Crossroads Classic on Saturday the 15th.