Notre Dame at North Carolina men's basketball: What you need to know

Tom Noie
ND Insider
Leaky Black and North Carolina have the ability to knock Notre Dame back on its heels Saturday. But if the Irish can make a few 3-pointers...


WHO: Notre Dame (8-7 overall; 0-4 ACC) vs. North Carolina (10-5; 2-2) 

WHERE: Dean Smith Center (21,750), Chapel Hill, N.C. 

WHEN: Saturday at 11:30 a.m. (note special start time). 


RADIO: WSBT (960 AM). 

ONLINE: Follow every Notre Dame game with live updates from Tribune beat writer Tom Noie at 

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NOTING: Guard R.J. Davis scored a season high 27 points, 22 in the second half, and swingman Leaky Black added a career high 18 as North Carolina beat visiting Wake Forest, 88-79, on Wednesday. Power forward Armando Bacot added 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists. The game featured nine ties and 20 lead changes. The Tar Heels shot 60 percent in the second half and scored 51 points. ... Davis became the 81st player in program history (an NCAA record) to score 1,000 career points. Notre Dame has had 67 players hit 1,000. … North Carolina has won five of its last six overall and are 7-0 at home. ... The Tar Heels are one of six teams at 2-2 in league play. … After spending the first three weeks at No. 1, the Tar Heels are unranked. … North Carolina returned four starters off last year’s team that finished 29-10 overall, 15-5 and tied with Notre Dame for second in the ACC. It won 32 combined games the previous two seasons. … North Carolina was picked this preseason to win the ACC with 90 of a possible 101 first-place votes; Notre Dame was picked sixth. … North Carolina is one of six repeat opponents for Notre Dame. The teams meet Feb. 22 in South Bend. Four of Notre Dame’s first five league games are against repeat opponents. … North Carolina leads the series 27-9, 8-1 in Chapel Hill (the Irish won there in 2015) and 9-4 as ACC colleagues. Prior to last season’s win by Notre Dame, North Carolina had won nine of 10. … Bacot leads the ACC in scoring (18.6), rebounding (11.0) and offensive rebounding (4.5). Davis leads the ACC in free throw percentage (.894). Tar Heels guard Caleb Love (36.2) and Irish guard Dane Goodwin (35.7) rank first and second in minutes played. … North Carolina enters the weekend ranked first in the ACC in scoring offense (81.4), third in rebounding margin (+3.93), fourth in field goal percentage (.461), fifth in blocks (4.2), 10th in steals (6.1), 11th in assist/turnover ratio (1.13) and field goal percentage defense (.435), 14th in 3-point field goal percentage (.313) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.346) and 15th – last – in scoring defense (74.9). … Goodwin will set the program record Saturday for career games played (142). He’s never missed one in his four-plus seasons. Teammate Nate Laszewski will play Saturday in career game No. 141 – that's tied for second with former Irish guard Rex Pflueger. … Notre Dame looks to avoid starting 0-5 in league play for the first time since opening 0-5 in 2020-21. … The Irish have lost two straight, five of six and six of eight. … In six of seven losses, the Irish have averaged 61 points per game. … Only Notre Dame and Louisville remain winless in the 15-team ACC. 

QUOTING: “When you’ve lost a couple close ones it’s like, wow, can we get over the hump? Is this the movie again? You need a guy or two to just kind of take charge and do it and I don’t know if we’ve had that enough. I don’t want to take it all from them, but how do we get over the hump, fellas?” — Notre Dame coach Mike Brey on his team’s second-half struggles closing out conference contests 

—Tom Noie