UNC vs. Notre Dame Prediction, Game Preview

    North Carolina vs. Notre Dame prediction and game preview. The Tar Heels can hand the visiting Fighting Irish a fourth consecutive defeat on Saturday night.

    February 3, 2017

    North Carolina vs. Notre Dame prediction and game preview. The Tar Heels can hand the visiting Fighting Irish a fourth consecutive defeat on Saturday night.

    UNC vs. Notre Dame Game Preview

    When: Sunday, Feb. 5 – 1 p.m. ET (Rescheduled from Saturday)
    Where: Greensboro Coliseum

    North Carolina coach Roy Williams hasn’t been happy with his team’s last two performances. It’s assumed Notre Dame coach Mike Brey is feeling even worse.

    The Tar Heels were beaten from start to finish in a 77-62 loss at Miami last Saturday, then narrowly survived at home against Pittsburgh on Tuesday, beating the ACC cellar-dwellers 80-78. Joel Berry went 0-for-8 from the field and finished with two points as UNC shot 35 percent against the Hurricanes, though he bounced back with a 19-point effort against the Panthers as Justin Jackson finished with 20. But the Tar Heels’ overall performance wasn’t exactly satisfying.

    But a team struggling even worse comes to Chapel Hill on Saturday night. The Fighting Irish have lost three in a row with a blowout loss to Virginia, a tough two-point defeat at Georgia Tech and Monday’s 84-74 loss to Duke at home. Notre Dame has slipped to 6-4 in ACC play while dropping four of its last five games.

    The Irish haven’t lost four straight games since a seven-game skid from Jan. 12-Feb. 7, 2009, but there’s a real threat of that happening with them heading into the Smith Center. Brey’s team looked to be rolling toward another solid showing in the NCAA Tournament following back-to-back Elite Eight appearances, and a win Saturday night might be able to get it back on track.

    UNC Wins If …

    … Berry truly has snapped out of his shooting slump. He went 6-of-12 from the field against Pittsburgh, including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. But Berry shot 25.8 percent over his previous three games while scoring fewer than 10 points twice. If the standout guard can get in an early rhythm, it will take some pressure off of Jackson and give the Tar Heels a boost. Jackson is averaging 22.3 points per game while shooting 40 percent from 3-point range over his last four games. Getting help from Berry could be the difference Saturday.

    Notre Dame Wins If …

    … Matt Farrell plays a bigger role offensively. Farrell took only six shots and had eight points in the loss to Virginia, then has shot 34.8 percent from the field over the last two defeats. That’s not going to cut it for one of Notre Dame’s biggest producers who is averaging 13.9 points and shooting 44.7 percent on the season. V.J. Beachem scored 30 against Syracuse, 23 versus Georgia Tech and 20 against Duke, but he also has a 1-for-10 shooting effort mixed in against Virginia. Farrell has been consistently good for the Irish, and they’ll need him to step up against UNC.

    Matchup To Watch

    Beachem vs. Jackson

    This could also be Berry vs. Farrell in a point-guard battle, but with these two showing the potential to light up the scoreboard, I went this route. Jackson can be deadly when getting open looks, but he also can put the ball on the floor when contested. Beachem will need to be the guy who can explode offensively rather than the one who struggled mightily against Virginia.

    Betting Odds

    Spread: No line as of post
    Over/Under: No line as of post

    North Carolina vs. Notre Dame Prediction

    Sorry, Irish fans, but the losing streak will be the team’s longest in eight years. UNC will get solid performances from Jackson, Berry and Kennedy Meeks as it jumps out to an early lead and continues to fight off Notre Dame.

    UNC vs. Notre Dame final score prediction: UNC 81, Notre Dame 73

    WATCH: College Basketball Power Rankings – Week 13


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