North Carolina (11-3, 1-0) vs. Notre Dame (14-1, 2-0)
Chapel Hill, N.C. - Dean E. Smith Center
Monday, 7:00 p.m.
ESPN (Sean McDonough, Shane Battier)
"It's our chemistry, how we move the ball, how unselfish we are. Everybody is passing, everybody is getting a look. Guys aren't hunting their shot. They know their shot is going to come." – Notre Dame Jerian Grant on his team’s early season success
"Our offensive efficiency is an unbelievable weapon for us, even when we're having defensive lapses or people are getting to us. Our offensive efficiency has been excellent. We're improved defensively and that's helped us." – Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey
Season to Date: No. 14 Notre Dame enters Monday’s contest with a 14-1 (2-0 ACC) record. The Fighting Irish’s lone loss came back on Nov. 23 in the Hall of Fame Tipoff, dropping a 75-74 decision to former Big East foe Providence. Mike Brey’s squad has reeled off 11 straight since then, including a 79-78 overtime win over Michigan State and conference victories over Florida State (83-63) and Georgia Tech (83-76, 2OT).
Back and Better Than Ever: Jerian Grant was dominant through 12 games in 2013-14, averaging 19.0 points and 6.2 assists per game, before becoming an academic casualty entering the spring semester. Now back in uniform for a fifth season in South Bend, the 6-foot-5, 204-pound guard has equaled that level of production in leading Notre Dame with 17.9 points on 53.1 percent shooting to go along with 6.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game. Grant leads the ACC in assists and assist-turnover ratio (4.6).
Irish Shooting Lights Out: The Fighting Irish’s offensive statistics are staggering, highlighted by the nation’s best field goal percentage (55.3). They’ve also been lethal from 3-point range in knocking down 40.4 percent of their attempts (12th nationally). Notre Dame leads the nation in effective field goal percentage (63.0) and 2-point field goal percentage (64.4), according to kenpom.com, while also ranking second in adjusted offensive efficiency (118.3) and 11th in 3-point field goal percentage.
Weak Schedule: Those offensive stats absorb a significant blow when you factor in a strength of schedule that ranks 349th nationally, according to kenpom.com. The Fighting Irish is 3-1 against top-100 teams and 5-0 against teams ranked north of 300 through 15 games.
Ball Control: Notre Dame’s offensive efficiency numbers are helped by a minimal number of lost possessions. The Fighting Irish rank second nationally in assist-turnover ratio (1.66), third in turnover percentage (14.2) and 29th in turnover margin (plus-3.3). Four of the five starters boast positive assist-error ratios.
Heavy Minutes for Starters: Three Notre Dame starters are averaging more than 33 minutes per game, which helps explain the heavy concentration of points scored in the starting lineup (81.3 percent). Grant leads the way with 34.6 minutes per game.
Last Meeting: The Tar Heels held off the Fighting Irish, 63-61, at the Smith Center on March 3, 2014. UNC led Notre Dame by 14 at halftime, but fell behind by three with less than eight minutes to play. The Tar Heels held the Irish without a field goal the rest of the way. James Michael McAdoo led UNC with 14 points and nine rebounds, while Marcus Paige added seven points and six assists.
Series History: UNC leads the all-time series with Notre Dame, 18-4. The Tar Heels have won five in a row and seven of the last eight meetings.
11 Demetrius Jackson (6-1, 198, So.) - 14.2 ppg, 3.2 apg
22 Jerian Grant (6-5, 204, Sr.) - 17.9 ppg, 6.2 apg
32 Steve Vasturia (6-5, 211, So.) - 9.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg
24 Pat Connaughton (6-5, 218, Sr.) - 13.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg
30 Zach Auguste (6-10, 240, Jr.) - 14.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg
3 V.J. Beacham (6-8, 200, So.) - 7.5 ppg, 1.3 rpg
1 Austin Torres (6-7, 228, So.) - 3.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg
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