Alex Conway & John Gwaltney Jr
UNC ended one of their storied ACC rivalries with a victory
when they defeated Maryland Tuesday night and they will look to
kick start a new conference rivalry when they take on Notre Dame
Saturday at noon.
Notre Dame isn't the same type of team they have been in
recent years as they sit just one game above .500 in their
overall record and have a 3-7 record within the conference. It's
safe to say this isn't how they would have liked to see their
first year in the ACC start out but it will still be kind of
cool to see the Heels play the Fighting Irish on their home
court with an ACC logo sitting on the hardwood.
Notre Dame only lost by 6 to the No. 1 ranked Syracuse Orange on
Monday and it should be interesting to see if this is a deflated
team or a more motivated one that UNC will encounter. Either way, if
UNC keeps playing the way they have been then the Heels should be
the favorites to continue their winning ways and extend their
winning streak to five.
Let's take a look at some of the storylines heading into this
Shortening The Rotation
Roy Williams likes to play an aggressive up-tempo style
of play and that usually means he likes having the ability to throw
as many bodies at an opponent as possible. This year, he simply
doesn't have enough reliable bodies to throw on the floor as he
would like and the last few games have shown that.
Only six players reached double-digit minutes against the Terps
with Brice Johnson being the only guy that reached that
number while coming off the bench. Johnson has apparently been
giving quite an effort in practice the last couple weeks and the
result was a conference career high 19 points his last time out.
Kennedy Meeks cooled off against Maryland after having a
nice stretch of games, playing just 18 minutes, but the
Meeks/Johnson combo gives Williams the ability to play a versatile
game and match-up well with whatever type of team the Heels are
facing. Meeks can bang down low while Johnson can get out on the
break and use his quickness inside.
It appears Marcus Paige will be the full-time point
guard going forward and the James Michael McAdoo experiment
at small forward is being limited to must-need situations only.
Having said all of this, don't be surprised if guys like Joel James, Jackson Simmons and Nate Britt don't
earn more minutes at some point but Williams' substitution habits
paint a clear picture about who he trusts to get it done on a
has harped on the effort his team has given all year long and it's
obvious during their losses that when they lose it usually has
something to do with the lethargic way in which they played that
During UNC's current four-game winning streak the Heels have
given themselves extra chances to score the points and even though
they haven't always converted those opportunities it has helped give
them a better chance of winning.
Two categories, steals and offensive rebounds, illustrate this
point of how UNC has given themselves a better shot at winning
basketball games. In the past four games, UNC has outdone their
opponents in the combined stat columns of steals and offensive
rebounds by a margin of 83-59.
The aforementioned Johnson has been the main target of Williams'
frustrations, in particular, on the defensive end where Williams
feels he isn't quite as enthusiastic. That might be turning a corner
and wouldn't it be wonderful if Johnson became a two-way terror that
could start offensive breaks as well as he can finish them by
becoming a solid rim protector.
J.P. Tokoto has demonstrated an ability to shut down
perimeter scorers with his one-on-one defense but hasn't done a good
job keeping himself on the court as he's been reaching a lot and
getting himself into foul trouble. He's another guy that can improve
the entire stock of this team by simply improving in an area that
takes just a little more individual focus.
Don't let the record fool you. This is not a traditional 3-7
Despite their win-loss columns, Notre Dame has been competitive
in nearly every game they've played this season. They've only lost
two games all season (Indiana State and Virginia) by more than 10
points and don't forget they knocked off No. 7 Duke to begin their
maiden voyage in the ACC.
They were down by 13 points to Syracuse in their last outing but
outscored the best team in the nation 37-30 in the second half. They
held ACC Player of the Year candidate C.J. Fair to just six
points---although they did give up 33 points to Trevor Cooney---which is only the second time that's happened to the
athletic senior from Baltimore all year long.
They won't let UNC come in on a high horse without throwing a
little mud on the horseshoes and seeing how dirty the Heels are
willing to get. If UNC plays like they have been, the game should be
close. If they take the foot off the pedal for even a second, this
game could send Williams' squad into the Duke game in a world of
hurt and with a few more 5 a.m. practices under their belt.
vs. North Carolina
Notre Dame at a glance Location:
Notre Dame, Indiana Nickname:
Fighting Irish Colors:
Blue & Gold Conference:
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center (9,149) 2012-2013 Record:
25-10 (11-7 Big East) Last Game:
Notre Dame lost 61-55 at #1 Syracuse on Monday night. More on the Fighting Irish: Schedule
| Stats |
Roster Official Site |
Last starting line-up
F - Pat Connaughton F - Zach Auguste C - Steve Vasturia
G - Garrick Sherman G - Eric Atkins