Connecticut vs. Notre Dame live stream
What Duke-North Carolina is to men’s basketball, Connecticut-Notre Dame is to the women, or at least has been for at least the past six years. Wednesday night’s tipoff will be telecast by ESPN2, starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Four-time reigning national champion and No. 1 UConn (7-0) puts its 82-game winning streak on the line against 8-0 and the No. 2 Fighting Irish at Notre Dame’s Purcell Pavilion. Over the past four years, the Irish are 114-2 against everyone else but 0-4 versus the Huskies, who have a five-game winning streak in the series (all double-digit wins).
However, during a stretch from April 2011 in the Final Four to March 2013, Notre Dame was an astounding 7-1 against head coach Geno Auriemma’s dynasty that has won 11 national titles and is to the women’s game what John Wooden’s UCLA juggernaut was to the men from 1964-75 when it captured 10 national titles in those 12 years.
And speaking of those Bruins, their NCAA record 88-game winning streak was snapped at Notre Dame on Jan. 19, 1974, when the Irish were ranked No. 2 and UCLA No. 1.
UConn had a 90-game winning streak from 2008-10, so it is closing in on that standard, too.
That doesn’t mean their past isn’t worth reminiscing about: The two are consistently at the center of attention because their programs have had the most recent success in the sport. Notre Dame (8-0) and UConn (7-0) have met five times in the Final Four, with the Irish winning three semifinals and the Huskies winning one, plus the 2014 national championship. The two programs also used to play each other multiple times a year as members of the Big East. That’s when the rivalry spiced up.
What makes UConn such a dangerous team is the amount of top 25 teams they play during the regular season. The Huskies have already beaten four top 25 teams, including Baylor.
The floor will be packed with former Notre Dame and UConn stars. In a game that is sure to be a historic battle of 1v2, masses of people will come to see.
Former Notre Dame star, Skylar Diggins, has made it known she will be in attendance. The now Dallas Wings guard told ESPN, “We know what’s going to come from Connecticut. They always bring it. To beat a team like that, you have to take it away from them. It’s tough.”
Diggins couldn’t be more right. UConn is known for having one of the greatest basketball minds of all-time as their head coach. In his 31 years at UConn, Geno Auriemma has turned the Huskies into a team like no other. The team’s 11 National Championships speak for themselves. When it comes to UConn’s success, most of it sparks from their head coach.
Predicting this game is nearly impossible. Notre Dame has the experience and a group of talented sophomores. UConn has an 82-game winning streak, and never seems to let their guard down. It’s a Goliath vs Goliath battle.
One thing is for certain, though. This 1v2 matchup is going to be one of the best college basketball games of the entire 2016-2017 season.
ACC/Big Ten Challenge
The Iowa game is Notre Dame’s fourth contest as a part of the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Irish have won each of their first three games representing the ACC in this event. Notre Dame beat No. 10 Penn State, 77-67, in 2013 in Happy Valley, downed No. 15 Maryland, 92-72, in 2014 in Fort Wayne and beat No. 10 Ohio State, 75-72, last Dec. 2 at Purcell Pavilion.
The ACC is 6-0-3 all-time in ACC/Big Ten Challenge events, and holds a 62-46 all-time record against the Big Ten in the Challenge, with the 2011, 2014 and 2015 competitions ending in a tie.
Over Wednesday and Thursday, all 14 Big Ten teams and 14 of the 15 ACC schools (all but Clemson) will face off. The enticing pairings include two matchups of ranked teams as, both on Thursday, No. 5 Maryland plays at No. 7 Louisville and No. 9 Ohio State plays at No. 18 Miami.
In an unusual coincidence, Notre Dame’s men’s basketball team also faces Iowa in the 2016 ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Florida State and Minnesota are the only other schools paired for both genders in this year’s challenges.
On The Road At Last
Notre Dame’s equipment managers finally have cause to dust off the blue road uniforms as the Irish will wear them on Wednesday night for the first time in 2016-17. Nov. 30 is the latest that the Irish have played their first true road game of a season since waiting until Dec. 5, 1993, to face Brown in Providence, beating the Bears, 58-54.
The first six games of the year for the Irish saw five true home games played at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center and one other home game played on neutral courts in Houston against Louisiana-Lafayette. Heading into Wednesday night, Notre Dame will be one of 27 teams nationally that have yet to play a true road game, and one of five who will do so on Wednesday. West Virginia will go the longest without playing a true road game, waiting until its Big 12 opener on Dec. 29 at TCU.
The Irish have won their first road game in each of the past four years, beating No. 19 UCLA in 2012-13, Penn in 2013-14, No. 15 Michigan State in 2014-15 and South Dakota State last season. The Irish last lost a road opener on Nov. 20, 2011, 94-81, at No. 1 Baylor. The 1996-97 road opener also came at Iowa with the Irish taking a 61-50 decision from the Hawkeyes on Nov. 17.
Notre Dame will soon get an ample opportunity to test its abilities to win on the road. From Dec. 10 through Jan. 2, the Irish will play six consecutive true road games — establishing a school record. Notre Dame plays on the road successively at No. 15 DePaul (Dec. 10), Toledo (Dec. 18), Michigan State (Dec. 20), Chattanooga (Dec. 27), NC State (Dec. 29) and Georgia Tech (Jan. 2).