Irish eye big ‘opportunity’ against Heels
By LaMond Pope firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-2691 February 7, 2014 8:56PM
Updated: March 9, 2014 6:22AM
Notre Dame coach Mike Brey called it a “Duke opportunity.”
It is another chance to knock off one of the ACC’s traditional powers at home.
Notre Dame (12-11, 3-7 ACC) opened conference play with a win against the Blue Devils.
Now, North Carolina visits Purcell Pavilion.
“What a great opportunity,” Brey said during a teleconference Thursday. “It’s again, kind of a program day for us, to play this program coming into our building and the history of it. I know we’re going to have a fabulous crowd.”
It’s the Tar Heels’ first visit to Notre Dame since 1994.
“Let’s let it all hang out,” Brey said.
North Carolina (15-7, 5-4) has been inconsistent. But the Tar Heels have played better in recent weeks.
“They beat Michigan State, Louisville and Kentucky (earlier this season) and then they lose some tough ones,” Brey said. “Just reading a little bit of (North Carolina coach) Roy’s (Williams) comments, I don’t think he was pleased with them defensively.”
Brey sees improvements in that area. As a result, the Tar Heels have won four straight games.
“I think what they are doing is pressuring more in the halfcourt,” Brey said. “They are back to contesting and they are back to trapping more, the old run-and-jump that (former UNC coach) Dean (Smith) put in way back. They are trapping more stuff out of timeouts.”
Opponents are averaging 14.1 turnovers per game against the Tar Heels. Notre Dame is averaging 10.6 turnovers.
“They’ve turned people over and got transition,” Brey said. “We were watching the Maryland game, (the score is) 17-3, they are out of the gate running. We’ve got to be good with the ball. We’ve had issues with the ball at times. If we have issues with the ball, it’s not going to be a fun afternoon.”