No. 20 Notre Dame at No. 12 North Carolina
When: 1 p.m. Sunday
Where: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro
TV/Radio: ESPNews (Dave O’Brien, Dick Vitale). Internet live-stream: WatchESPN app. Radio: WTKK-106.1; SiriusXM channel 84
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Projected starting lineups
North Carolina (20-4, 8-2 ACC)
G Joel Berry 15 ppg, 3.9 apg
G Kenny Williams 6.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg
F Justin Jackson 18.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg
F Isaiah Hicks 12.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg
F Kennedy Meeks 12.6 ppg, 9.5 rpg
Nore Dame (17-6, 6-4)
G Matt Farrell 13.9 ppg, 5.5 apg
G Steve Vasturia 14.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg
F V.J. Beachem 14.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg
F Bonzie Colson 15.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg
F Martinas Geben 3.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg
▪ Another Notre Dame game, another match-up challenge.
It has usually been the same story since Notre Dame entered the ACC in 2013: The Tar Heels’ interior size against the Fighting Irish’s quickness and versatility across its lineup. Zach Auguste in recent seasons provided Notre Dame with a formidable post presence but even those teams liked to the spread the court, forcing UNC’s post players to defend the perimeter. With Auguste gone, that will be even more of a challenge on Saturday. The 6-8 V.J. Beachem and the 6-5 Bonzie Colson, who is averaging a double-double, will challenge UNC’s frontcourt like it has rarely been challenged this season. Colson, for what he lacks in height, is among the most menancing rebounders in the country. UNC will have a size advantage on offense, but Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks have to avoid foul trouble.
▪ Scouting Notre Dame: After that 5-0 start in the ACC, the Fighting Irish have lost four of their past five games, though two of those defeats (against Florida State and Georgia Tech) came by a combined five points. This is a difficult team to match up against because of the aforementioned characteristics, and especially because of Colson, who plays a lot bigger than his height. Notre Dame coach Mike Brey told reporters earlier this week that he’d consider altering his starting lineup by removing Martinas Geben, who has been the team’s least effective starter. Notre Dame, loser of three consecutive games, could use a spark. UNC has a clear statistical edge in rebounding, and Notre Dame (despite Colson’s contributions) hasn’t been an especially strong rebounding team on either end. If you’re interested in weird stats, here’s one: Notre Dame has made 80.5 percent of its free throws, which ranks second nationally. Meanwhile, opponents have made 76.1 percent of their free throws against Notre Dame, and that’s also the second-best success rate against any team.