If the last two seasons are any indication, Notre Dame fans have become accustomed to their men’s basketball team making a run in the ACC Tournament. That might be quite the challenge this season considering the matchups. The Irish were fortunate to grab a double bye, but in doing so it set them up to face the only team in the ACC they have yet to beat — Virginia.
No. 22 and three seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish (23-8, 12-6 ACC) will take on the No. 21 and sixth seeded Virginia Cavaliers (22-9, 11-7 ACC) on Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
The Irish have had their fair share of trouble against the Cavs since joining the ACC in 2013, but they have to beat them sooner or later...right?
- Notre Dame is 1-10 all-time vs. Virginia
- Virginia has won the last 10 meetings
- Virginia thumped the Irish earlier this season at Purcell Pavilion, 71-54
- Notre Dame is 5-1 all-time at the Barclays Center
- The Irish won the Legends Classic at Barclays earlier this season. They defeated Colorado and Northwestern in the process
- Notre Dame’s first and second round NCAA Tournament games were held in Barclays last season. As we know, the Irish took down Michigan and Stephan F. Austin in the process of advancing to their second straight Elite Eight
- VegasInsider.com has the line at TBA
When: Thursday, March 9, 2017, 9:00pm ET
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
How to Watch: ESPN or WatchESPN
Virginia 71 - Notre Dame 54
January 24, 2017 - Notre Dame, IN
The matchup in January was a result of Notre Dame not playing well and UVA’s defense being absolutely suffocating. The Irish shot just 16% from three, while UVA shot 47% from distance — that pretty much explains the outcome right there.
Senior wing V.J. Beachem was ruled ineffective as he was held to 1-10 shooting and three points. Junior guard Matt Farrell also had just eight points
UVA guard London Perrantes was phenomenal as he poured in a game high 22 points and was 5-8 from beyond the arc. Freshman Ty Jerome made an impact off the bench as he was 2-3 from range and had eight points.
Cavalier to Watch
London Perrantes - 6’2, Guard, Senior
UVA will go as far as Perrantes carries them. If he has one off night, thats when UVA can become vulnerable. He’s only averaging 12.8 points per game, but as we’ve seen already this season he has 20 point potential on any given night.
Farrell seems like the logical matchup here, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Mike Brey stick Steve Vasturia on him. Vasturia has been and is ND’s best on ball defender. If the Irish can contain Perrantes and make others beat them, I think most Irish fans will take that.
Keys to Victory
- Hit Shots: Yes, its that simple. We saw it in the first matchup — Notre Dame doesn’t hit shots, they get blown out. It needs to be a much different outcome this time around if they want a victory.
- No Disappearing Acts: Its postseason time, this is the time where your upperclassmen are suppose to make a difference. The Irish can’t afford Beachem or Vasturia be silent here. Beachem got hot in the ACC Tournament last year and it carried over into the NCAAs. It would be nice for something similar to happen this year. Same can be said for Vasturia.
- Defend the Perimeter: UVA isn’t going to wow you with their offense, but one area they are pretty decent at offensively is outside shooting. They rank 24th nationally in three-point percentage, and we saw them go 9-19 from distance in South Bend. The Irish need to run them off the three-point line as much as possible.
Pick to Click
Matt Farrell - 6’1, Guard, Junior
If you have read any of the game previews over the last month or so, you know the drill by now. I’m going with Farrell the rest of the way.
Notre Dame 74 - Virginia 66
They’re definitely due for a win over UVA, and what better time to do it in a tournament they have excelled in the past two years and a building they have absolutely owned.
It is March and crazy things tend to happen then, like Notre Dame beating Virginia. It’ll be a different story this time around, as the Irish will hit shots and UVA won’t be almost be 50% from range.
Look for junior Bonzie Colson to get his usual double-double, or at least come close to it. Vasturia will also make the most of his final ride in the blue and gold.
Lastly, even though they lost to Louisville last Saturday wearing them...the best moments in March have occurred them, so i have to say it...WEAR THE GOLD JERSEYS!