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Notre Dame at #12 UCLA

2009 NCAA Basketball Picks


2/7/09


The UCLA Bruins are smoking hot right now fresh off their convincing win over their hated rival USC Trojans and have made it to the top of the Pac-10 conference yet again.

The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame on the other hand are going in completely the other direction having lost six straight games coming into their match against the 12th ranked UCLA Bruins.

Although the Bruins arenít the team they were over the last couple seasons they are still playing great basketball with point guard Darren Collison leading the way. By scoring a team high 14.1 points a game while dishing out just over five assists per game as well, Collison has turned into the undisputed leader of the most storied college basketball team in the country.

With the Bruins getting to the Final Four consistently over the last couple of years, UCLA is under the gun this season to repeat their past seasonís success.

It has been a relatively easier road for Collison and company this season as most of the attention in college basketball is being geared toward the Big East and ACC conferences. The Pac-10 is still a competitive conference with #25 Washington and #23 Arizona State challenging the Bruins in conference play, but UCLA has been the best team in the Pac-10 so far this season.

As for Notre Dame they have done nothing but struggle as of late. They came into this season with a promising future, but with the Big East being the conference this season with arguably the best teams in the country from top to bottom, Notre Dame has lost their touch and has plummeted in their conference standings and has been knocked out of the Top 25 ranking most likely for good.
 

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With having lost six straight games, all against Big East conference opponents, the Fighting Irish are struggling to find a sense of purpose with seasonís end rapidly approaching and their competition not getting any easier.

The only real bright spot left for Notre Dame is having one of the best players in the country in forward Luke Harangody who is averaging 25.3 points and 13.2 rebounds a game. The only way the Irish have a chance against UCLA will be if the Bruins canít contain Harangody, but with the way the Bruins are playing defense this season that will not be a daunting task.

Even though Harangody has scored over 24+ points a game and grabbed 11+ rebounds a game over the last six games, the Irish have lost all six games of those games by at least six or more points.

At the beginning of the season this would have been a compelling match up with possibly a close finish, but with how bad the Irish have been lately and how good the Bruins have been UCLA should wipe the floor with Harangody and company.

 

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