College upset king
By now, the identity of college basketball's premier spoiler should be quite clear. It's Notre Dame. Last Sunday the Fighting Irish ended another glittering winning streak, Virginia's longest-in-the-nation unbeaten string of 28 games (the Cavaliers suffered a second setback on Wednesday, losing to Wake Forest 73- 66). The telling shot in Notre Dame's victory was an 18-foot, buzzer-beater by Orlando Woolridge, who hit nothing but net after missing on a wild attempt near the basket only seconds earlier.
Against the game's most formidable teams, the Irish have demonstrated an uncanny knack for winning. Their first land- mark upset occurred in 1974, when they terminated UCLA's unmatched run of 88 straight victories, beating the seemingly invincible Bruins 71-70. San Francisco, another top-ranked team, fell in 1977, losing 93-82 after going 29 games without a defeat. Last year it was DePaul's turn, as Notre Dame snapped the 25-game streak of the No. 1 rated Blue Demons, 76-74.
Generally, the Irish save their best efforts fro nationally televised games played in Notre Dame's frenzied Convocation Center. Though the site of Sunday's victory was the Rosemont Horizon, a new arena in suburban Chicago, a highly partisan crowd made it seem like South Bend.
Under Coach Digger Phelps, Notre Dame has developed a basketabll program to rival its traditionally strong football team. The Irish have yet to win their first national basketball championship, but they're a cinch to make their eighth consecutive appearance in the NCCA tournament this March. Their highest finish to date was fourth in 19 78.