UNC vs. Notre Dame: Preview, game info and more

DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 29: Head coach Mike Brey of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish reacts against the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 29, 2018 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 29: Head coach Mike Brey of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish reacts against the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 29, 2018 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

UNC returns to action on Monday, hosting Notre Dame at the Dean E. Smith Center

Monday will present the opportunity for the North Carolina Tar Heels to win their fourth-straight game and complete a tough three-game stretch in a five-day span with wins.

After beating rival Duke and then NC State on Saturday, UNC closes out this tough stretch by hosting a Notre Dame team that is struggling to say the least.

The Fighting Irish enter the game 15-10 overall and 5-7 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. But Notre Dame enters the game on a two-game win streak by beating Boston College and Florida State.

Prior to that, the Fighting Irish lost seven-straight games including a home loss to North Carolina back in January.

Notre Dame is struggling without their leader Bonzie Colson and even lost Matt Farrell for some time this season. Neither played in the first matchup against the Tar Heels but Farrell will play on Monday.

As mentioned before, UNC is hoping to make it four-straight wins before they enter the final stretch of the season.

Just two weeks ago we were talking about a double bye in the ACC Tournament as being doubtful but now the Tar Heels are in position for one and a win on Monday night would go a long way.

UNC will have a nice break before playing Louisville on Saturday night but they can’t look ahead to the Cardinals.

Notre Dame almost beat UNC in the first meeting and had two shots at the rim in the final seconds of the game. It was a sloppy one for the Tar Heels at times and they were beat on the boards 45-37.

But going into Monday night, this appears to be a rejuvenated Tar Heels squad and will have the home crowd backing them.

One Notre Dame player to watch…

We are going with Matt Farrell in this one.

The senior missed the home game against UNC in the first meeting but returns for this one on Monday.

Farrell is averaging 16.5 points per game and has been on a tear of late. He scored 28 in the win over Florida State on Saturday, coming up big for the Fighting Irish.

Prior to that, Farrell 16 against NC State and 19 against Boston College.

The guard is shooting 44 percent from the field this season including 40 percent from behind the three-point line. He averages three made three-pointers per game this season and with UNC struggling to defend the perimeter he could be the key for the Fighting Irish.

One UNC player to watch…

Garrison Brooks will have to have an impact, especially on the boards.

The Tar Heels struggled against the Fighting Irish on the glass in the last meeting with Notre Dame grabbing 20 offensive rebounds. That’s a big number, especially against a UNC team that is usually really good at rebounding.

Brooks likely won’t start as Williams will probably deploy his smaller lineup but he will be inserted early in the game.

The freshman center will need to lock down on the defensive end and be good on the boards.

If he can do that, it will go a long way for a UNC win.

Matchup to watch..

Rebounding will be the big key to the game for both teams. Senior Theo Pinson has been very good on the boards in the past two UNC wins against Duke and NC State.

Despite being a win, Pinson has gone into the paint and become a key player.

Big men like Brooks and Sterling Manley should give the Tar Heels some valuable minutes on Monday night. If they can control the boards, they should come out victorious.

Last meeting…

It was a wild game that UNC could have very easily lost.

The Tar Heels entered that game fresh off a win over Boston College but struggled in South Bend early on.

After trailing 40-37 at halftime, Notre Dame made a big second half run and even led by six with just over five minutes to play. UNC stormed back to take a 67-66 lead late before a pair of free throws by TJ Gibbs gave the Fighting Irish the 68-67 lead.

Joel Berry then drained two free throws with six seconds left to give the Tar Heels the lead for good at 69-68. Notre Dame missed both of their last-second attempts and UNC survived a scare.

Next: E.J. Montgomery set to visit UNC

What you need to know…

What? Notre Dame 15-10 (5-7 ACC at UNC 19-7 (8-5 ACC)
When? Monday, February 12th at 7:00 p.m. ET
Where? Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Radio? Tar Heels Sports Network
All-time series? UNC leads 22-7
Line? UNC -9.5
Prediction? UNC 89, Notre Dame 82