Observations: Notre Dame Fighting Irish Men’s Basketball Blown Out By North Carolina In ACC Tournament, 101-59
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Observations: Notre Dame Blown Out By North Carolina In ACC Tournament

Notre Dame’s stay in Greensboro, N.C., for the ACC Tournament ended after two games.

The No. 11-seeded Fighting Irish lost to No. 6 North Carolina 101-59 in the second round Wednesday night in what is likely their final game of the season. The loss dropped their record to 11-15.

The Tar Heels outscored the Irish 42-11 in the game’s final 17:22, including a 37-2 run.

BOX SCORE

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Some observations from the game:

• This game was going to be about rebounding damage control for Notre Dame, a below- average team grabbing boards on both ends, against the nation’s best offensive rebounding team.

There was certainly rebounding damage. No control, though. North Carolina didn’t even need eight minutes to grab 10 offensive rebounds and had 18 in the first half. The Tar Heels missed 23 shots in the opening half — that’s a 78.3 percent offensive rebounding rate. The physicality of North Carolina’s two-big lineup causes problems for opponents on the glass, but Notre Dame seemed disinterested in even mixing it up.

All told, Notre Dame allowed North Carolina to grab 25 of its 38 missed shots, which equates to 65.8 percent. The Irish were out-rebounded 54-31.

North Carolina led 50-36 at halftime. To put up a 50 in a half, an offense usually has to shoot at least 50 percent or make a lot of threes. The Tar Heels did neither.

For the game, they shot 50.6 percent and averaged 1.46 points per possession.

• Notre Dame forwards Juwan Durham and Nate Laszewski combined for 10 rebounds. North Carolina had three players with at least 10 on their own.

• Notre Dame switched between man and zone, as it often does. The zone was a predictable move against a low volume, low-accuracy three-point shooting team, but it made rebounding and boxing out even harder.

On first shots, though, Notre Dame’s defenders fared fine on North Carolina forwards Day’Ron Sharpe, Armando Bacot and Walker Kessler. The Irish started by sending double-teams on Sharpe, a chiseled 6-11, 265-pound future draft pick, but he had some single coverage and took advantage of it. Bacot and Kessler did, too.

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• When head coach Mike Brey and his assistants watch the film, they ought to be not too upset with the defense on North Carolina’s first shot in the first 25 minutes. UNC committed 10 turnovers in the first 26 minutes and didn’t roast Notre Dame off the dribble, unlike prior opponents who scored in the 80s or above.

The second half got away from the Irish, with some threes from unlikely sources, easy interior baskets and transition makes due to Notre Dame turnovers and missed shots, but they could’ve lived with 30 percent shooter Caleb Love going 3 of 6 on threes if it managed to get more than a handful of defensive rebounds and keep pace on offense.

• To mitigate rebounding problems, Notre Dame had to make shots. It didn’t. The Irish shot 31.1 percent and were 7 of 26 (26.9 percent) on threes. Two of those came in the final two minutes.

North Carolina played mostly man defense and switched everything, a defensive look that has given the Irish problems this year. They committed 16 turnovers, had just eight assists and were swallowed up in the second half, where they posted a 2-to-9 assist-to-turnover ratio and scored two points over a 13-plus minute stretch. Both assists were in the final two minutes.

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