Armando Bacot of North Carolina is one of three players to rank in the top 10 in the ACC in both scoring and rebounding. He is also the conference leader with a field goal percentage of 63.3. He is a major reason why North Carolina leads the ACC in rebounding margin.
Notre Dame takes a different approach and leads the ACC with an average of nine three-pointers per game.
Something to consider for those who bet online: Notre Dame is 5-0 at home, including a win over Kentucky. The last two times the Fighting Irish played host to North Carolina, the teams split one-point victories.
North Carolina is 3-0 on the road.
The Tar Heels (+450) entered the season with the third-best odds to win the ACC title, trailing only Duke and Florida State. They are now at +550, which trails only Duke, while Notre Dame checks in at +3300, tied for ninth.
Game: North Carolina (10-3) at Notre Dame (7-5)
Location: Purcell Pavilion, South Bend, Ind.
Day/Time: Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET
|North Carolina||-2 (-110)||-135||144 (-110o)|
|Notre Dame||+2 (-110)||+115||144 (-110u)|
North Carolina Tar Heels at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
UNC Top Scorer Loves ACC play
There is no truth to the rumor that Caleb Love is planning to change his number from 2 to 22, although there is no questioning that the No. 22 would fit the sophomore guard just fine.
In the Tar Heels’ first 13 games, Love not only topped the 20-point mark on five different occasions, but he finished with exactly 22 points each time.
It started with Love going off for 22 points in the season opener against Loyola (MD). Exactly a week later, he finished with 22 points once again against the College of Charleston. Proving that his scoring exploits aren’t limited to mid-major programs, he hit for 22 again in a game against Michigan on Dec. 1, and 10 days later had 22 against Elon.
More recently, Love had 22 points in 26 minutes as the Tar Heels improved to 2-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 91-65 win at Boston College.
Love has 39 points, seven three-pointers, 19 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and only one turnover in 62 minutes of action in conference play.
Love leads the Tar Heels in scoring with an average of 15.6 points per game and is also the team leader with 27 three-pointers, 46 assists and 17 steals. He has plenty of help as five players are averaging at least 10 points.
With Notre Dame up next for North Carolina, this is a good time to remind everybody that Love filled up with stat sheet with 15 points, four rebounds, six assists and two steals the last time the Tar Heels played the Fighting Irish.
North Carolina has beaten Notre Dame in nine of the last 10 meetings and covered against the college basketball odds in four of the last six.
Newcomers Making Impact for Irish
Blake Wesley and Paul Atkinson took different paths before arriving at Notre Dame, but the Fighting Irish faithful are thrilled to have both of them in the lineup.
Wesley is a freshman from South Bend who has scored in double figures in 10 of his 12 career games. In his first career start at Purcell Pavilion, he hit the game-winning shot with 12 seconds left to give Notre Dame a win over nationally ranked Kentucky.
Blake Wesley pulls up for the 2 pointer and Drills it with 11.7 seconds left for Notre Dame to upset #10 Kentucky 66-62 pic.twitter.com/ZIYz3YVzrU
— NCAA Buzzer Beaters & Game Winners (@NCAABuzzerBters) December 12, 2021
The first public school men’s basketball player from South Bend to sign with Notre Dame since 1985, he became the first freshman in program history with 20 points in his Fighting Irish debut since Chris Thomas in 2001. He is third among ACC freshmen in scoring and his 13.3 points per game average is eighth among all major college true freshmen.
Atkinson, a graduate student from West Palm Beach, Fla., was the Ivy League Player of the Year during the 2019-20 season. He didn’t play a year ago because the Ivy League canceled the season as a result of the global pandemic. The Ivy League leader in field goal percentage in each of his three seasons at Yale, Atkinson transferred to Notre Dame and is contributing 12.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Atkinson is the team leader with 28 offensive rebounds and 12 steals.
Wesley and Atkinson are trying to get Notre Dame to reverse a negative trend, as the Fighting Irish has failed to cover against the Las Vegas odds in 15 of the last 19 games.
Teams Look to Stay Hot
Something will have to give as visiting North Carolina has won its last two games while Notre Dame has won three in a row.
Three of the last seven games between the teams have been decided by one point.
Those who bet online might be interested to know that North Carolina failed to cover in 10 of its last 14 road games.
The total has gone under in four of the last six games between North Carolina and Notre Dame.
It can be dangerous to pick against Notre Dame vs. a high-profile opponent, but North Carolina should be able to take care of business in this one.