North Carolina vs Notre Dame Expert Prediction February 17, 2020
Larry Ness North Carolina vs Notre Dame Expert Prediction
Start Time: February 17 2020, 7:00 PM
Way back on opening night for Notre Dame and North Carolina (Nov 6), the Tar Heels were ranked No. 9 in the AP’s preseason poll, while the Fighting Irish were coming off 14-19 season, including an ugly 3-15 mark in the ACC. North Carolina’s ballyhooed freshman Cole Anthony began his college career with a bang by scoring 34 in the 76-65 Tar Heel win and cover, to no one’s surprise. However, as the Tar Heels travel to South Bend Monday night, MUCH has changed. North Carolina opened the season 5-0 but has lost 15 of its last 20 games. As for Notre Dame, the Irish are 15-10. although just 6-8 in the ACC. However, Notre Dame has six games left in the regular season, including FIVE against teams tied or below them in the league standings. Off a 14-19 season (3-15 in ACC), the current season has been a nice bounce-back one for Mike Brey’s team.
Anthony (19.3-6.4-3.6) went down with a knee injury in early December and just returned at the beginning of February. He’s averaged 19.6-6.6-3.8 in those five games but the Tar Heels have gone 0-5. Fellow freshman, the 6-10 Bacot has averaged 10.4 & 8.3, while junior forward Garrison Brooks has added 14.9 & 8.6. The team’s fourth double digit scorer is senior guard Robinson (13.3,5-2.7) but just as Anthony returned, he went down with an ankle injury. He’s missed the last four games but went through warmups Saturday (??). It’s been a “season to forget” for Roy Williams.
Notre Dame’s Mike Brey is in his 20th season at South Bend and is coming off his worst season at the school last year (see above). The Irish start four seniors and coach Mike Brey believed that experience started to pay dividends as his team won FOUR in a row from Jan 29-Feb 9 but the Irish lost 50-49 in OT at UVA laast Tuesday and followed by getting routed this past Saturday 94-60 at Duke. The team’s top-two scorers are 6-9 senior John Mooney (16.4 & 12.8) and senior guard TJ Gibbs (13.2 & 3.4 APG). A pair of sophomore guards, Hubb (11.6 & 4.6 APG) and Goodwin (10.8 & 3.6) also average in double-digits, while the two other senior starters are 6-11 Juwan Durham (8.3 & 5.2) and guard Rex Pflueger (5.3-3.2-2.6).
UNC lost for the first time in six years to Wake Forest (Feb 11), in the worst display seen at Chapel Hill since the days Matt Doherty was on the bench almost two decades ago. The Tar Heels visit Notre Dame on a FIVE-game losing streak, in the midst of their THIRD losing streak of at least four games this season, something that had NEVER happened in program history prior to this season. Yes, ND was routed at Duke on Saturday but the the Fighting Irish entered that contest on a FIVE-game ATS winning streak. Expect Notre Dame to end its SEVEN-game losing streak to North Carolina, which is the ACC’s worst team. Imagine having been able to say that after this year’s UNC team opened at No. 9 in the AP’s preseason poll.
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