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No. 18 Notre Dame has tumbled from the top of the ACC into the middle of the pack with three straight losses and it doesn’t get any easier when the Fighting Irish visit 10th-ranked North Carolina on Saturday. A 17-point loss to Virginia was followed by a heartbreaking defeat at the buzzer against Georgia Tech and Notre Dame could not handle Duke in an 84-74 setback Monday.
“I love our group,” Irish coach Mike Brey told reporters after his team allowed Duke to shoot 51.9 percent from the field. “We’re getting smacked hard right now. But we’re getting smacked together.” The Tar Heels avoided a second straight loss with an 80-78 victory over Pittsburgh on Tuesday as junior guard Justin Jackson extended his streak of scoring at least 19 points to eight games by recording 20. North Carolina is sixth in the nation in scoring (88.0), but has yet to find consistency on the other end of the court while sitting 10th in the ACC in points-against per contest (71.4). “Some how, some way,” Tar Heels coach Roy Williams told reporters, “I’ve got to figure out a way to do a better job coaching on the defensive end of the floor.”
TV: 6 p.m. ET, ESPN
LINE HISTORY: Check out the complete line history here.
Fighting Irish – No injuries to report.
Tar Heels – F Theo Pinson (Out indefinitely, ankle)
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Fighting Irish (-12.5) – Tar Heels (-15.2) + home court (-3) = Tar Heels -5.7
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (17-6 SU, 10-6-1 ATS, 10-7 O/U): The Irish could use a boost on the offensive end to snap them out of the slump as they stand 11th in conference games at 44.4 percent from the field and are averaging 62.7 points during the losing streak. Senior forward V.J. Beachem averaged 21.5 points the last two games to push his season mark to 14.8 – second on the team behind junior forward Bonzie Colson (15.6, team-high 10.6 rebounds). The Irish will need more from senior guard Steve Vasturia (14.1 points), who has made just 9-of-35 from the field the last four games.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (20-4 SU, 12-10-1 ATS, 9-13 O/U): Williams told reporters he thought an alien had climbed into the body of Joel Berry II at Miami (Fla.) when he went 0-for-8 from the field, but the junior bounced back to score 19 with five 3-pointers against Pitt. “Sometimes you can have all these good games and you get on a little high,” Berry said to the media. “So that was one of my lows and it kind of made me refocus.” Jackson (18.7) leads the team in scoring with Berry (15.0) – along with senior forwards Isaiah Hicks (12.8, 61.1 percent shooting) and Kennedy Meeks (12.6, 9.5 rebounds) – all contributing.
* Fighting Irish are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 road games.
* Tar Heels are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
* Over is 6-1 in Fighting Irish last 7 games following a double-digit loss at home.
* Home team is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings.
Check out a complete list of hot and cold trends, here.
View full consensus data here.