Freedom Hall is the Cards’ best friend as Notre Dame rolls into town. The Hall has never been kind to the Irish, against either Louisville or in an old series against Kentucky at the site. ND has rarely won here. In fact, they have rolled over in most games, except for the overtime loss to U of L two years ago.
Digger Phelps, the ESPN commentator who often finds it impossible to conceal his lack of knowledge about any team other than Notre Dame, made it a habit of losing to UK at Freedom Hall. Digger couldn’t win with even his best teams.
U of L Coach Rick Pitino is believable when he says Notre Dame is a tough team for which to prepare. Despite the team’s road losses, ND is an exceptionally good team in all phases of the game. Especially watch out for:
— Center Luke Harangody, a mountain of a man, who leads the Big East in scoring with 20.2 points per game and is second in rebounding with 10 per game. He may be David Padgett’s toughest challenge ever. He scores, he passes, he rebounds and and he knocks people around without even trying — and without getting called for fouls.
— Guard Kyle McAlarney is a tremendous three-point shooter, the likes of which U of L has not seen since Jeremy Hazell and Seton Hall. The only difference is that McAlarney hits the three-pointers night in and night out while Hazell saves them for special occasions against U of L.
Their road play is the only thing slightly resembling a weakness on the 21-5 Notre Dame team. All of ND’s five losses have come in games away from South Bend. They have a 36-game win streak at home, but that’s another story.
Already full of bad vibes for Notre Dame, one would hope that Freedom Hall once again will be loud and nasty, especially for the Irish.