UCLA-Notre Dame remains a ‘big test’
Marques Johnson, Bill Walton, Adrian Dantley and Austin Carr on the court. Digger Phelps and John Wooden on the sidelines. In those days, Notre Dame vs. UCLA was one of basketball’s greatest rivalries.
From 1960-70, UCLA won five matchups in a row by scores of 31, 29, 51, 13 and 31 points.
Carr helped Notre Dame to just its second win in the series in January 1971, and that fall Phelps took over in South Bend. His over-thetop personality added to the rivalry’s atmosphere.
Saturday night’s nationally televised game at Pauley Pavilion will be the 49th in the series, which UCLA leads 28-20.
From 1966-84, the Fighting Irish and Bruins met every year and just twice in that stretch was neither team ranked in the Top 25.
Neither the Irish (6-2) nor the Bruins (6-2) is ranked this week. The Irish are coming off a two-point loss to Oklahoma in New York while UCLA has won two straight. The schools have five combined Sweet 16 appearances since 2014.
The pinnacle of the rivalry was Jan. 19, 1974, when Notre Dame ended UCLA’s men’s record 88game winning streak in South Bend, a game UCLA center Bill Walton has described as the most painful of his career.
UCLA later ended a 60game Notre Dame winning streak in South Bend.
“This is going to be the next big test,” Bruins coach Steve Alford said. “That’s what we’re most excited about.” Allen, Lobo honored: Connecticut will retire the numbers of former Huskies stars Ray Allen and Rebecca Lobo. The numbers 34 and 50 will become the first retired by the school during a ceremony in March.
In 2017, Lobo was the first UConn player inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Allen was enshrined in September.