Notre Dame and UCLA Renew Basketball Series Starting In 2018

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Notre Dame
Head Coach Mike Brey and his team during a timeout vs. the Duke Blue Devils. Credit:

A few days ago it was announced that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will be renewing their rivalry with the UCLA Bruins in a home and home game series starting in 2018 and continuing in 2019.

The ‘Golden Domers’ will travel to Los Angeles for the first matchup in 2018, while the Bruins will come to South Bend for the second game in 2019.

Notre Dame and UCLA have not played each other since 2009 in which the Irish came out victorious, winning 84-73.

The 2018 matchup will be the 49th meeting between the Irish and the Bruins with UCLA winning the all time series at 28-20.

This was a very historic series back in the 70s as these two teams played 30 consecutive games between 1966 and 1984. Both teams were ranked in the top-25 for majority of these games.

Irish vs UCLA
Notre Dame forward John Shumate grabs the final rebound in the 71-70 upset over UCLA in 1974. Credit: CNN Sports Illustrated

Current Notre Dame junior guard Rex Pflueger, comes from Santa Ana, California and will be welcomed home when the Irish travel to Los Angeles next season for game one of the series.

UCLA has received a lot of hype in the last year thanks to the Ball family, who have taken the basketball world by storm.

While Lonzo Ball, LiAngelo Ball and LaMelo Ball have kept quiet and stuck to doing their talking on the basketball court, their father LaVar Ball, continues to make outrageous claims about the potential of his sons.

Ball brothers
LiAngelo Ball (Left), Lonzo Ball (Centre), and LaMelo Ball (Right) among the starters on the Chino Hills Huskies basketball team in 2016. Credit: Monica Almeida/The New York Times

The Irish will not have to worry about guarding Lonzo Ball (arguably the best out of the three), being as the former Bruin went #2 overall in the 2017 NBA draft to the Los Angeles Lakers. However Notre Dame will be taking on at least one of the other two Ball brothers in their future series with UCLA.

Notre Dame will need to find a way to guard the long range shooting point guard, LaMelo Ball in their game with the Bruins in 2019. The youngest Ball brother will be enrolling at UCLA in the fall of 2019 and is a five-star prospect according to 247Sports. LaMelo, is considered the #15 player nationally and the #3 point guard.

In regards to the other brother, LiAngelo Ball, who suffers from middle child syndrome and is not talked about very often, he will likely not be with UCLA come the time when these two programs renew their series.

Lavar Ball has said that all three of his sons will be ‘one and dones’ regardless of their draft stock so being as LiAngelo will be a freshman this season and the Irish-Bruin series kicks off in 2018, it is highly unlikely we will see the second Ball brother in a UCLA uniform past 2017.

This will be an exciting series to watch come 2018, as this rivalry brings a lot of rich tradition and the potential to write new exciting history.

I am sure come 2019 when Notre Dame hosts the Bruins, LaVar Ball will be making some sort of outrageous claim that will be all over the media.

We are waiting LaVar!

– R. Scarfone