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Notre Dame Basketball

Hoops Preview: No. 20 Notre Dame vs No. 14 North Carolina

February 5, 2017

No. 20 Notre Dame (17-6, 6-4) at No. 12 North Carolina (20-4, 8-2)

Date: February 5
Where: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

Quick Facts

- Sunday will be the 28th meeting between the two programs.
- North Carolina holds a 20-7 advantage in the series.
- Notre Dame has the second-best assist-to-turnover ratio in the country at 1.69.
- Mike Brey has 373 victories in his career. 20 away from the all-time record.

The Starters

Notre Dame
Matt Farrell: 13.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg and 5.5 apg
Steve Vasturia: 14.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg and 3.3 apg
VJ Beachem: 14.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg and 1.0 apg
Bonzie Colson: 15.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg and 1.7 apg
Martinas Geben: 3.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg and 0.9 apg

North Carolina
Joel Berry II: 15.0ppg, 3.1 rpg and 3.9 apg
Kenny Williams: 6.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg and 2.2 apg
Justin Jackson: 18.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg and 2.6 apg
Isaiah Hicks: 12.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg and 1.3 apg
Kennedy Meeks: 12.6 ppg, 9,5 rpg and 1.1 apg

How They Matchup

(National Rank)
Scoring Offense: UNC: 88.0 ppg (6) – Notre Dame: 78.8 ppg (66)
Scoring Defense: UNC: 71.4 ppg (156) – Notre Dame: 68.1 (73)
Rebound Margin: UNC: 13.5 rpg (1) – Notre Dame: -0.1 (207)
Field-Goal Percentage: UNC: 47.2% (58) – Notre Dame: 46.5% (83)
Three-Point Percentage: UNC: 37.5% (67) – Notre Dame: 39.9% (18)
Three-Pointers Made: UNC: 7.6 (154) – Notre Dame: 9.4 (25)
Free-Throw Percentage: UNC: 70.9% (140) – Notre Dame: 80.5% (2)

After moving the game to Greensboro because of a water main break, the Irish and Tar Heels will tip at 1:00 p.m. ET on a somewhat neutral floor. I am sure Notre Dame will take the game away from Chapel Hill, as the Irish look to end a three-game losing streak.

Head coach Mike Brey knew the ACC was going to be tough and has prepared his team to handle some adversity, but at some point, Notre Dame needs to win a game. It will be a tall task on Sunday to knock off the top dog in the ACC, but the Irish have seemed to embrace the underdog role well the last few seasons.

This game will come down to one facet of the game: Rebounding.

Notre Dame has struggled greatly to rebound the basketball in the last three games and will now play the nation’s No. 1 rebounding team. The Irish will be at a size disadvantage, but they have shown at times this season that they can get dirty down low.

Martinas Geben will be out of the starting lineup, as Brey decides between starting freshman point guard TJ Gibbs, sophomore forward Rex Pflueger or senior forward Austin Torres. Brey is looking for offensive balance and for the Irish to spread the floor more, so it likely eliminates Torres from starting.

If Notre Dame can’t rebound on Sunday afternoon, it could very well be a long afternoon. The Irish can’t give up second-chance points to a team that scores 88 points a night on the road.

The Irish will also need to shoot the three-ball well on Sunday. A few timely three-pointers can be a great equalizer, but also give the Irish confidence and momentum.

I don’t see this game falling in Notre Dame’s favor, as travel schedules and the matchup simply aren’t good for Brey’s squad. I wouldn’t count them out, but they need to prove they can handle a longer and more athletic team before I can predict an upset away from Purcell Pavilion.
Discussion from...

Hoops Preview: No. 20 Notre Dame vs No. 14 North Carolina

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Is Geben injured??
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I don't believe so. Just isn't getting it done.
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