Tar Heels-Fighting Irish Saturday Meeting First of Its Kind in ACC
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UNC leads the all-time series 16-4 and snagged the last meeting between the two schools in November of 2008 by a 102-87 margin to claim the Maui Invitational trophy.
Head Coach Roy Williams says he was happy with his team’s effort in the Maryland win on Tuesday, but the up-and-down foul shooting leaves him with something to worry about.
“We’ve still got to do some work on the free throw line. Somebody asked me if I was really pleased at the press conference the other day and what did I tell you? No. It’s a daily thing. Some days I make a lot of putts, and some days I don’t make any. For us, just answering their charges and pushes was the biggest point of the game,” Coach Williams says.
Notre Dame got off to a promising start in its inaugural ACC campaign with a victory over Duke on Jan. 4 but has lost traction since then, losing seven of the last nine games.
Coach Williams had a couple of his not so uncommon dizzy spells in Carolina’s victory over Maryland Tuesday, but he says Brice Johnson had a lot to do with the episodes.
“If Brice would stop dunking and screaming instead of running his butt back on defense, that would probably help some of it. I told him I was going to kill him. I know that’s not proper in today’s times, but I don’t want to read any junk about how I shouldn’t say that. He knows, no he thinks, I won’t do that. That’s probably a good way to put it,” Coach Williams says.
Despite Coach Williams’ frustrations, Johnson put together an impressive evening of basketball, netting 19 points.
Johnson says his defensive play is something he’s continuing to work on.
“I have to stand there and not try to block every shot, and maybe I won’t give up so many of those reverse layups that they’re getting. I have to keep working at it and get down lower in the stance,” Johnson says.
Notre Dame averages knocking down 7.1 three-point attempts per game, so Carolina will need to be alert, get out on the perimeter and contest shots in order to hold down the Irish attack.
No. 11 Duke is looming large for UNC after this one, but it’s important that the Tar Heels are not caught looking ahead to Wednesday too early.