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Notre Dame Basketball

Hoops Preview: (5) Duke vs (3) Notre Dame

March 11, 2017
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(5) Duke (26-8) vs (3) Notre Dame (25-8)


Date: March 11
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
Time: 9:00 pm. ET
TV: ESPN – Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas, and Allison Williams

Quick Facts

- Saturday night will mark Notre Dame’s second appearance in the ACC Championship game in the last three seasons.
- The Irish won the ACC Tournament in 2015 as the three-seed.
- Notre Dame is 2-0 against Duke in the ACC Tournament.
- Matt Farrell has hit at least one three-pointer in 23 consecutive games.
- Luke Kennard has hit at least one three-pointer in 36 straight games.
- Steve Vasturia and VJ Beachem will match the school record for wins over a four-year period with a win on Saturday night. The record of 96 wins is held by Garrick Sherman, Scott Martin, Tom Knight, Mike Broghamer, and Jack Cooley.

Starters

Notre Dame
Matt Farrell: 14.2 PPG, 2.0 RPG, and 5.4 APG
Steve Vasturia: 13.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 3.4 APG
Rex Pflueger: 4.8 PPG, 2.7 RPG, and 1.7 APG
VJ Beachem: 15.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 0.8 APG
Bonzie Colson: 17.1 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 1.6 APG

Duke
Luke Kennard: 20.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 2.5 APG
Matt Jones: 6.9 PPG, 2.7 RPG, and 1.7 APG
Frank Jackson: 10.8 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 1.8 APG
Jayson Tatum: 16.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 2.3 APG
Amile Jefferson: 10.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 1.6 APG

How They Matchup

(National Rank)
Scoring Offense: Duke: 80.5 PPG (32) - Notre Dame: 78.3 PPG (64)
Scoring Defense: Duke: 69.5 PPG (107) - Notre Dame: 68.9 PPG (93)
Rebound Margin: Duke: 3.5 (76) - Notre Dame: - 1.5 (251)
Field Goal Percentage: Duke: 47.3% (41) - Notre Dame: 46.3% (78)
Three-Point Percentage: Duke: 37.2 (73) - Notre Dame: 38.7% (33)
Three-Pointers Made: Duke: 8.3 (94) - Notre Dame: 9.4 (27)
Free Throw Percentage: Duke: 75.3% (35) - Notre Dame: 80.5% (1)

Notre Dame wasn’t supposed to be in this position heading into the preseason, and few thought the Irish would make it to the ACC Championship game when the bracket came out last week.

However, Notre Dame is set to play Duke on Saturday night and will have a chance to win a second ACC Tournament in the last three seasons.

“Our guys have always been excited to play the Duke program,” Brey said after the win against Florida State. “When I got this job, when we were able to steal a win against Connecticut or Syracuse, those were real program wins for us. When we have been able to beat Duke and Carolina, those have been great wins for us in this league.”

Duke cruised to a 10-point win in South Bend in February, and it was one of the few games this season that Notre Dame couldn’t find a second half run to make things interesting.

Notre Dame let Grayson Allen (21 points), Luke Kennard (16 points), Matt Jones (16 points), and Jayson Tatum (19 points) get going in the first meeting, and it simply can’t happen on Saturday night for the Irish to have a chance.

Both teams play a small bench, but Duke has been bringing Grayson Allen off the bench, so another 11-point night from Matt Ryan could be massive for the Irish as fatigue will be an issue on both sides.

Entering the ACC Tournament and even the season, the lack of hype has provided a chip on Notre Dame’s shoulder, whether they want to admit it or not. Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell have been locked in for most of the year, and the laser focus is showing in March.  

“We don’t focus on anyone else,” stated Colson. “We stay within ourselves and lock in. We had Florida State, and that was our main focus. We don’t care what the media says.”  

For Farrell, it’s about doing the same things they were doing in October, as it has proven to work for his team.

“We focus on us,” said Farrell. “We worry about us. We stick to what we do, and we stick to what we know.”

It’s a little different for Brey, as he has likely placed that chip on his team’s shoulder behind closed doors, and he’s going to ride it for all it’s worth.

“I focus on it a little more,” Brey chimed in. “I think we were left out of the picture in October. Have you ever seen the two polls, where in the Coaches Poll we have been like six ahead of the AP? It’s interesting.

“We’ve been pretty damn good. We’ve been pretty darn consistent. Because we don’t have anyone on Chad Ford’s big board, is that why we are overlooked? I think so.”
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Hoops Preview: (5) Duke vs (3) Notre Dame

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