2016 ACC Tournament – Semifinals
#4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs #1 North Carolina Tar Heels
Verizon Center – Washington, DC
Friday, March 11, 2016, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: North Carolina -7 1/2 (-105)
Current Line: North Carolina -7
Opening Total: 156 1/2
Current Total: 158 1/2
Opening Money Line: North Carolina -340 / Notre Dame +275
Current Money Line: North Carolina -310 / Notre Dame +260
The 26-6 North Carolina Tar Heels are one of several contenders for the four #1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. However, first things first, they likely need to win the ACC Tournament for that to happen. North Carolina is the #1 seed in the tournament and takes on the #4 seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish who are 21-10 in the semifinals Friday night in Washington DC. The Tar Heels went 14-4 in conference and beat Pittsburgh 88-71 in the quarterfinals Thursday. Notre Dame went 11-7 in conference and tied for fifth with Duke. The Irish beat Duke 84-79 in overtime in the quarterfinals. The winner of Notre Dame and North Carolina will play either #2 Virginia or #3 Miami in the championship game Saturday night.
North Carolina leads the series 18-7 against Notre Dame, but the Fighting Irish have won three straight games against the Tar Heels. Notre Dame won 80-76 in South Bend February 6 in the only meeting of the regular season. The Fighting Irish also beat the Tar Heels 90-82 in the last year’s ACC Championship game.
Notre Dame is coached by Mike Brey. The Fighting Irish have neutral site losses to Monmouth and Alabama in a tournament in Orlando and Indiana in Indianapolis. Notre Dame has road losses to Virginia, Syracuse, Miami, Georgia Tech and Florida State, along with home losses to Pittsburgh and Miami. The Fighting Irish have a neutral site win over Iowa in Orlando, plus road wins over Illinois, Boston College, Duke, Clemson and Wake Forest. Notre Dame has home wins over Milwaukee, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Louisville and North Carolina State. Notre Dame is 14-14-1 ATS and the total is 15-14 this season. The Fighting Irish were 2 point underdogs against Duke and the total was 154.5 in the quarterfinals.
North Carolina is coached by Roy Williams. The Tar Heels have road losses at Northern Iowa, Texas, Louisville Notre Dame and Virginia, plus a home loss to Duke. North Carolina has neutral site wins over Temple in Annapolis, Northwestern and Kansas State in Kansas City and UCLA in Brooklyn. UNC has home wins over Fairfield, Wofford, Maryland, Davidson, Tulane, Appalachian State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Miami and Syracuse. The Tar Heels have road wins at Florida State, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Boston College, North Carolina State and Duke. UNC is 14-17-1 ATS and the total is 17-15 this season. The Tar Heels were 7.5 point favorites against Pittsburgh and the total was 150.5.
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Notre Dame is outscoring teams 77-70 this season. The Fighting Irish are shooting 47.6% from the field and 37.2% from 3 point range. Notre Dame is #30 nationally in field goal percentage. The Irish make 73.6% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 42.8% and 37.5% from 3 point range. The Fighting Irish average 36.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.3 per game. Notre Dame averages 13.6 assists, 9.5 turnovers, 5.6 steals and 3.9 blocks per game. Opponents average 13.1 assists, 9.7 turnovers, 5.1 steals and 3.1 blocks per game.
Demetrius Jackson averages 15.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Zach Auguste averages 14.6 points, 10.8 rebounds 1.1 assists and 1 block per game. Steve Vasturia averages 12.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Bonzie Colson averages 11.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1 block per game. V.J. Beachem averages 11.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Matt Ryan, Rex Pflueger and Matt Farrell will also get time in the rotation.
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North Carolina is outscoring teams 83-71 this season. The Tar Heels are #10 in scoring nationally. North Carolina is shooting 47.% from the field and 31.3% from 3 point range. The Tar Heels are #24 in field goal percentage but #308 in three point shooting nationally. UNC makes 74% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 41.4% from the field and 36.4% from 3 point range. UNC averages 41.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 28.9 per game. The Tar Heels are #12 in rebounding and #31 in rebounds allowed nationally. North Carolina averages 18.4 assists, 10.9 turnovers, 6.9 steals and 4.5 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.4 assists, 13.4 turnovers, 5.7 steals and 3.1 blocks per game.
Brice Johnson averages 17 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. Justin Jackson averages 12.4 points, 4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. Marcus Paige averages 12.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.2 assists per game. Joel Berry II averages 11.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 3.9 steals. Kennedy Meeks averages 10 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. Isaiah Hicks averages 9.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Nate Britt, Theo Pinson and Joel James also get time in the rotation.
Notre Dame is 3-7 ATS after a cover, and 3-9-1 in Friday games. The Fighting Irish have covered the last four games against the Tar Heels and were underdogs in each of those contests.
North Carolina is 3-1-1 ATS in neutral site games and 3-7 after a cover. The under is 4-1 in this series recently.
Notre Dame is one of the worst teams at three point defense in the country, but it shouldn’t be an issue as North Carolina struggles in three point shooting to say the least. Despite the loss earlier in the season, North Carolina is a better team and should win this game comfortably.