Can’t Play any Petey Pablo Today
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team continue ACC play tonight as they take on the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Irish look for a rebound win after getting demolished on Saturday afternoon by Duke in Cameron Indoor. The Irish and the Heels have played already this season, a game that was in Chapel Hill. This game (in a a ridiculous move by the conference) actually kicked off the season in November for the teams, both only playing 1 other game each before this November conference game. At the time of the game, we did not anticipate UNC being where they are now. For reference, you can watch the highlights of that game here:
The Irish lost the season opener by 11 points, but it was closer than what the score said. Without freshman Cole Anthony dropping 34 points, this game would’ve probably been a solid win for the Irish. This was a weird start to the year, considering the Irish might be a bit better than we thought. That did seem to happen, but UNC, on the other hand, took a sharp downturn.
The Tar Heels (10-15, 3-11) are dead last in the ACC. Yeah, you read that right. In a totally uncharacteristic season, UNC has just been having a rough go of it this year. They have had some new players, but that is never an issue for Roy Williams. They also have had four injuries, with only two of those guys coming back. Cole Anthony, the freshman phenom, was ou. With not a lot of talent left, the Heels quickly became the punching bag of the conference.
Now, in the past week, the Heels have also lost to Duke and UVA just as the Irish have done. And with injuries, we Irish fans feel that pain from the past few seasons. The game that the Heels played against Duke was an asbolute heartbreaker as they had a double-digit lead and then lost it in OT when Duke hit a buzzer beater to win it in Chapel Hill. They also lost by 2 points to UVA on Saturday.
ND vs UNC: Things/People to Watch
-Juwan Durham: In a game on Saturday where the Irish got boatraced by Duke, Durham actually was a shining piece of an abysmal day. He had 21 points, which is outstanding for him. He has built up a bit of confidence in the last few weeks to take more shots and not just under the bucket. He needs to continue to help John Mooney under the hoop on defense, too. If he continues this success, he will help the Irish out big time.
-Cole Anthony: We have talked about him already, but Anthony truly is the X-factor in the game for the Heels as he is far and away the best available player that they have. I think the Irish know a bit more about him/their team, and hopefuly he won’t drop 30+ again. And no one should forget that ND was a finalist for Cole Anthony’s final college choice in recruiting. We lost out to UNC, obviously. I will be attending the game, and I’m not upset I won’t have to see Cole’s dad, Greg Anthony, 50 times on TV when they cut to him.
For the Irish to win, Mooney and Durham will need to play well, but, as always, the guards of Hubb and Gibbs will need to drain some outside shots. Getting a bomb game from Dane Goodwin wouldn’t hurt either. Outside and jump shots are going to need to fall for the Irish to win this game.
How to Watch
The Irish (15-10, 6-8) host the Tar Heels in Purcell Pavilion looking to bounce back against the team with the worst record in the ACC. Tip-off is at 7 PM on ESPN. You can listen to the game anywhere terestrially or via the internet on the Fighting Irish Radio Network.