Carolina opens the new year by playing host to Notre Dame on Saturday, January 2, at 4 p.m. The teams were originally scheduled to play in Chapel Hill on January 30, but Saturday’s game was scheduled on New Year’s Eve after both teams had games on the 2nd postponed. UNC was slated to host Syracuse, while the Irish were supposed to play at Pittsburgh. Both games were postponed due to Covid-19 issues at Syracuse and Pitt.
- Carolina is 5-4 overall, 0-2 in the ACC. The Tar Heels have lost four of their last six games, including 72-67 at Georgia Tech on December 30.
- The Tar Heels led, 35-29, at halftime and had a 61-53 lead with under seven minutes to play but made only two of their last nine shots from the floor as the Yellow Jackets ended the game on a 19-6 run. UNC made a season-high eight three-pointers but committed 18 turnovers and allowed Georgia Tech to shoot 61.5 percent from the floor, highest by an opponent this year.
- This is UNC’s second consecutive game in which both teams had one common opponent – Kentucky. Like Georgia Tech, both UNC and Notre Dame defeated the Wildcats earlier this season. Carolina beat UK on a neutral court in Cleveland, while the Irish beat Kentucky, 64-63, in Lexington.
- KenPom ranks Carolina as the 316th most experienced team in the nation. Six of UNC’s 10 rotation players are freshman. Those freshmen have played 50.9 percent of all minutes played (909 of 1800).
- Armando Bacot, who has led UNC in scoring in each of the last four games, is also Carolina’s leading scorer for the season at 12.2 points per game. Garrison Brooks is second at 11.2 and freshmen guards Caleb Love and RJ Davis are third and fourth at 10.8 and 9.6 points, respectively.
- The last time a Tar Heel led the team in scoring with less than 13 points a game was 1947-48, when Bob Paxton averaged 12.2 points.
- The Tar Heels are averaging 44.4 rebounds per game, including 15.6 on the offensive end of the court. UNC is seventh nationally in offensive rebounding and eighth in total rebounds per game.
- Carolina is averaging 18.4 second-chance points per game. UNC scored a season-low seven second-chance points at Georgia Tech.
- No Tar Heel has scored 20 points in a game this season. Bacot’s 19 points against NC Central are the season high. Nine games is the deepest into a season in the Roy Williams era that no Tar Heel has scored at least 20 points. The previous high number of games into a season was four in in 2010-11 (Tyler Zeller scored 20 points vs. Vanderbilt in UNC’s fourth game).
- Carolina has scored 80 points (at Iowa) one time this season. In 18 seaons under Roy Williams UNC has scored 80 or more points 346 times in 628 games (55.1 percent).
About Notre Dame:
- Notre Dame also lost on Wednesday, a 66-57 defeat at home to Virginia. The Irish are 3-5 overall, also 0-2 in the ACC.
- Junior forward Nate Laszewski leads all major conference players in field goal percentage (min 5 FGM per game) at .662 – ahead of Iowa’s Luka Garza (.611), LSU Darius Days (.576) and Colorado’s McKinley Wright IV (.566).
- Nate Laszewski is second in the country in effective field goal percentage (.785), shooting 43-for-65 from two-point range (.662) and 16-for-28 (.571) from three-point range.
- Nate Laszewski is 14th in the country in three-point field goal percentage at .565 and 13th in overall field goal percentage at .662.
- The 2020-21 Irish offense, currently ranked 34th in adjusted offensive efficiency by kenpom.com, has shown multiple weapons capable of putting up over 20 points in a game this season. Four Irish players have combined to score over 20 points in seven of Notre Dame’s eight games (Nate Laszewski, Dane Goodwin, Prentiss Hubb have all hit 20 points twice this season, while Trey Wertz has a 27-point this year as well).
- Season-high points scored off the bench by graduate student forward Juwan Durham against Virginia. The Irish forward tandem of Durham and Nate Laszewski (28) combined for 47 of Notre Dame’s 57 points vs. the Cavaliers. Durham is expected to shift back into the starting lineup due to the loss of junior Trey Wertz to a sprained ankle in the first half of the Virginia game.
- The Irish are up to five games lost this season to COVID-19 safety protocols that affected the opposing team’s ability to play the scheduled game. The program has been able to adapt to the games missed, adding Detroit Mercy (to replace three different scheduled home openers), Bellarmine (to replace a planned trip to Syracuse) and North Carolina (to replace at planned trip to Pittsburgh).
- The Irish are seventh in the country in free throw percentage at .813. Trim that national list to teams that have played at least eight games and Notre Dame is fourth in the country. The Irish are ahead of Virginia (.784) for the ACC lead in free throw percentage.
- A recent project by CBSSports.com ranked the ‘Greatest College Basketball Programs Ever’ with Notre Dame placing 23rd on the list and sixth in the ACC. Notre Dame will face eight of the teams ranked above them this year a total of nine times: No. 19 NC State, No. 14 Michigan State (0-1), No. 12 Ohio State (0-1), No. 11 Syracuse, No. 6 Louisville, No. 3 Duke (0-1, twice), No. 2 North Carolina, No. 1 Kentucky (1-0).
UNC vs Notre Dame:
- Carolina leads the series, 25-8, including 7-1 at home.
- Carolina has won seven of the last eight games against Notre Dame.
- The Tar Heels are 9-4 since the Irish joined the ACC in 2013-14.
- UNC is 6-1 vs. the Irish in the Smith Center and 1-0 in Greensboro in a contest designated as a home game.
- Roy Williams is 10-4 against Notre Dame (all while head coach of the Tar Heels).
The Last Meeting:
- The teams split a pair of games, each winning on their respective home courts.
- Carolina beat the Irish, 76-65, on 11/6/19, in the season opener for both teams as freshman Cole Anthony scored 34 points, most ever by an ACC freshman in his college debut.
- Anthony scored 23 points in the second half to help UNC overcome a five-point deficit.
- Garrison Brooks was the only other Tar Heel in double figures with 10 (and nine rebounds, three blocks), Andrew Platek scored eight, Armando Bacot had eight rebounds and Leaky Black added five assists.
- Carolina shot 31.3 percent from the floor in the first half and 64.3 percent (18 of 28) in the second.
- Carolina made 10 of 20 from three-point range and out-rebounded the Irish, 51-31.
- At Notre Dame on 2/17/20, Nate Laszewski made a three-pointer with 2.4 seconds to play to lift the Irish to a 77-76 win.
- Carolina led 64-49 with 8:15 to play. The 15-point lead was UNC’s largest in a loss last
- It was the second consecutive game (and third time in four games) Carolina lost on a
basket with less than three seconds to play.
- After the Irish scored the first two points of the second half to lead by five, the Tar Heels went on a 31-13 run.
- The Irish out-scored UNC, 28-12, over the final 8:14.
How to Watch:
TV: ACC Network (Doug Sherman, Cory Alexander)
Stream: Watch ESPN
Radio: Tar Heel Sports Properties (Jones Angell, Eric Montross, Adam Lucas, Dave Nathan)