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Friday, April 19, 2024
The Observer

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Underdog Irish look to upset No. 7 North Carolina on Tuesday night

After a rocky start to the season, head coach Micah Shrewsberry and the men’s basketball team are hot, having won five out of their last six games. The only loss during the stretch came at Syracuse by three points. The Irish upset Wake Forest and Clemson in their last two games at home, but now they travel to face ACC frontrunner North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Tuesday. 

The Irish are a young team. Freshman point guard Markus Burton has been playing some great basketball as of late. He led the way against Clemson with 21 points and had a career high against Wake Forest last Tuesday with 31 points. The Irish have been putting together upsets recently by staying in the game early and then pulling away late. The Irish have been playing spoiler and will look to do the same against a very good UNC team Tuesday.

The Tar Heels are also coming in hot, riding a four-game winning streak into Tuesday’s game. On Saturday, they overcame a halftime deficit to beat in-state rivals NC State. They are led by NBA-caliber big man Armando Bacot, who is averaging 14 points per game this season. The star center will be looking to have a good day against a solid Irish defense. UNC holds a narrow lead in the ACC, just one game ahead of rivals No. 9 Duke.

It’s also worth noting that the Irish will be up against a former player: Cormac Ryan. Ryan was a key player in Notre Dame's 2021-2022 March Madness run. This will be Ryan’s first time playing against his former team. The last time these two teams met was in South Bend last year. Ryan was Notre Dame’s leading scorer with 14 points in a 63-59 loss for the Irish.

History favors the Tar Heels who have won 8 out of the last 10 matchups against the Irish. In fact, Notre Dame hasn’t beaten North Carolina at Chapel Hill since the 2014-2015 season. That was the same season in which the Irish beat the Tar Heels in the ACC championship to claim their first-ever tournament title.