Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Basketball

Hoops Preview: (6) Virginia vs (3) Notre Dame

March 9, 2017
1,757

(6) Virginia vs (3) Notre Dame


Date: March 9
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn
Time: 9:30 p.m.
TV: ESPN

Quick Facts

- Notre Dame is 4-0 in the last four games at the Barclay’s Center.
- Virginia is 5-0 against the Irish since Notre Dame joined the ACC.
- The Cavs have one active player averaging in double-figures.
- Virginia leads the series 10-1

The Starters

Notre Dame
Matt Farrell: 14.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg and 5.5 apg
Steve Vasturia: 13.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg and 3.4 apg
Rex Pflueger: 4.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg and 1.7 apg
VJ Beachem: 15.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg and 0.8 apg
Bonzie Colson: 17.0 ppg, 10.4 rpg and 1.7 apg

Virginia
London Perrantes: 12.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg and 3.9 apg
Kyle Guy: 8.1 ppg, 1.5 rpg and 1.4 apg
Devon Hall: 8.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg and 1.9 apg
Isaiah Wilkins: 7.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 1.2 apg
Jack Salt: 3.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg and 0.4 apg

How They Matchup

(National Rank)
Scoring Offense: Virginia: 66.6 ppg (308) – Notre Dame: 78.5 ppg (62)
Scoring Defense: Virginia: 54.9 ppg (1) – Notre Dame: 69.3 ppg (99)
Rebound Margin: Virginia: 3.5 (74) – Notre Dame: -1.5 (250)
Field-Goal Percentage: Virginia: 46.6% (68) – Notre Dame: 46.1% (86)
Three-Point Percentage: 38.9% (26) – Notre Dame: 38.9% (27)
Three-Pointers Made: 6.9 (222) – Notre Dame: 9.5 (23)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.6% (158) – Notre Dame: 80.9% (1)

I don’t think this game needs much of a description as Notre Dame fans are well aware of exactly what this game is going to be like, and what this game means to the program. In the short-term, a win would propel Notre Dame into the semifinals of the ACC Tournament and set themselves up for a better seed on Sunday. However, when it comes to the long-term, it could be a program changer as they Irish would have finally gotten the Virginia monkey off their back.

The Irish have knocked off ACC powers North Carolina, Duke and Louisville, but when it comes to the Cavaliers, Notre Dame hasn’t been able to play Brey Ball. Notre Dame hasn’t beaten Virginia since joining the ACC and winning this game could give Notre Dame confidence heading into years to come.

On Wednesday evening, Virginia hit 11 three-pointers to get by Pittsburgh, and the good news is they shouldn’t be that hot from behind the arc against the Irish. Notre Dame will need to watch London Perrantes, as he hit five threes against the Irish in January, and he hit two timely treys on Wednesday.

I believe this game comes down to VJ Beachem. The senior forward shot 1 for 10 and scored just three points in the first meeting, and in all likelihood, Thursday night will be his last chance to beat Virginia. Beachem has benefitted from Brey moving to small ball, and the move to a smaller lineup was made after the loss in January.

If Beachem can get 20 points, I think Notre Dame wins. His ability to stretch the floor is going to help Matt Farrell and Steve Vasturia. If Beachem isn’t on, it could be another long night for the Irish.
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