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Notre Dame Basketball

Game Thread | No. 23 Virginia at Notre Dame

December 29, 2020
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No. 23 Virginia (4-2, 0-0) at Notre Dame (3-4, 0-1) 


Date: December 30th

Time: 6:00 p.m. ET

Where: Purcell Pavilion | Notre Dame, Ind. 

TV:  ACC Network | Mike Monaco and Jordan Cornette 


Quick Facts 

- Mike Brey is 1-7 against Tony Bennett and 1-9 against Virginia 

- Virginia leads the all-time series 14-2. 

- Notre Dame has never beaten Virginia in regular-season ACC play. 

- The Irish are fifth in the country in free throw percentage at .822. Trim the national list to teams that have played at least five games and Notre Dame is third in the country. 

- Notre Dame is 16th in country in three-point field goal percentage at .409 and is the only team in the ACC shooting over .400 from deep this season.

- Junior guard Prentiss Hubb is ninth in the country in minutes played per at 37.4, followed by classmate Dane Goodwin in 12th place at 37.3.


THE STARTERS

Notre Dame

Name Points Rebounds Assists
Prentiss Hubb 16.4 3.6 4.0
Cormac Ryan 10.3 4.3 3.6
Dane Goodwin 16.1 5.4 2.1
Trey Wertz 12.7 2.7 3.3
Nate Laszewski 14.6 8.4 0.4

Virginia

Name Points Rebounds Assists
Kihei Clark 9.2 1.2 3.2
Reece Beekman 4.8 2.5 2.3
Tomas Woldentensae 5.7 1.3 1.3
Sam Hauser 12.8 5.8 1.7
Jay Huff 11.2 6.2 0.5

Preview

Points Per Game
Notre Dame: 74.4
Virginia: 74.5

Opponent Points Per Game
Notre Dame: 76.6
Virginia: 61.3

FG%
Notre Dame: 45.5%
Virginia: 49.5%

Rebounds Per Game
Notre Dame: 33.6
Virginia: 33.3

Assists Per Game
Notre Dame: 14.4
Virginia: 14.0

Blocks Per Game
Notre Dame: 3.7
Virginia: 4.5

Steals Per Game
Notre Dame: 3.7
Virginia: 5.5

Notre Dame will close out 2020 with Virginia and the Irish hope to finally defeat the Hoos in regular-season ACC play. The good news for Mike Brey’s squad is Virginia is far from the teams of recent years, but it’s still a defensive nightmare for a team that has struggled with scoring. 

The Cavaliers are giving up just 61.3 points per game through six games, but they have yet to beat a Power Five opponent. Virginia will likely come out with its hair on fire as they look to rebound from No. 1 Gonzaga running them out of the building over the weekend.

As with previous clashes with Virginia, Wednesday will come down to being able to score. Notre Dame might not need 80 points much less the 98 Gonzaga put up, but it will need to be more than the last three outings of 49, 54 and 55 points scored against Tony Bennett’s defense. 

Junior guard Dane Goodwin seems like a candidate for Brey to look to for scoring as he is coming off a 27-point performance on Saturday. 

"He is in a great frame of mind,” Brey said of Goodwin. “He is attacking and extremely confident. He has teammates that keep telling him to go for it and putting him in great positions.

"Dane Goodwin is playing as good as anyone in our league right now. I kind of almost expect it now in year three." 

On the defensive end, Notre Dame will face a Virginia team that isn’t athletic or overly skilled, which could play into what the Irish want to do. The 2-3 zone has been effective for Notre Dame the last few games and it’s something Brey has hinted at using even more.

"It was a little bit of an identity for us as we're still searching and we have those seven guys available now,” explained Brey. “We talked about are we a better zone team, especially when we have the two big guys in with Juwan in the middle. I thought we did a really good job of matching up out of it. Maybe we found something - a defensive identity a little bit.” 

Juwan Durham will be a critical piece as the Irish need to match Virginia’s Jay Huff, who is 7-foot-1. Now, Huff isn’t a huge offensive threat, but Durham will need to control the boards and continue to be active in the zone. 

“When we play zone, it's a little conducive to him back there in the middle of our zone being active and blocking shots,” said Brey. “We started him in the second half and I just like that we had all seven of those guys in the rotation all made huge plays in a win." 

Prediction: Virginia 69 Notre Dame 64

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Game Thread | No. 23 Virginia at Notre Dame

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