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The North Carolina Tar Heels will travel to Indiana to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish this Monday evening in an ACC battle. North Carolina is having one of their worst seasons in recent memory. With only three wins in conference play, they are all the way at the bottom of the ACC. Notre Dame is not doing amazing in their won right with a losing conference record, holding the eighth spot in the ACC. North Carolina will desperately try to break their five-game losing streak while Notre Dame will aim to move toward .500 and improve their seed for the conference tournament.

Tar Heels drop to the bottom of the ACC

The North Carolina Tar Heels have one of the richest histories in all of NCAA sports, so this will certainly be a season to forget. They are now on a five-game losing streak and are in dead last in the ACC. Despite the bad look of a five-game skid, they have not always been getting blown out. North Carolina took Duke to overtime, lost to Virginia by two, Boston College by one, and Florida St. by six. The Tar Heels were either leading, tied, or trailing by one possession headed into half time in each of those games. This North Carolina team clearly has talent, they have just not been able to finish off close games. With only two wins all season coming in away games, the Tar Heels have a big challenge on their hands here.

A lack of offensive depth has made it hard for North Carolina to keep up with the best teams in the country. They have their top scorer Cole Anthony back in the lineup, but they are still missing Brandon Robinson, their third-leading scorer. Three active players average double figures, but after them, no one has more than 6.0 points per game. This forces those top three scorers to play over 30 minutes per game, pointing toward the lackluster finishes to games. When the starters get tired, North Carolina does not have much to fall back on. To get a win on Monday, the Tar Heels will need to build a big lead going into the break to give themselves some room for error.

Fighting Irish come back to South Bend

After dropping back to back away games to Virginia and Duke, Notre Dame will be glad to come back home where they have been dominant all season. The Fighting Irish are 12-3 on their home court. The defense has been a key to victory for Notre Dame all season. They allow an average of 68.6 points per game. With that being said, they tend to go on streaks of defensive supremacy then end up giving up 80 or 90 to teams like Duke, Pittsburgh, and Georgia Tech. This comes from a rebounding deficiency and a lack of possessions. The Fighting Irish pull in fewer boards than their opponents on average. Rebounding is a very strong point of this North Carolina team so Notre Dame will have to be competitive on the board to get a win.

Offensively, Notre Dame has been hot and cold. A lot of their success comes from shooting the three where they are 34 percent on over 700 attempts. TJ Gibbs is absolutely deadly from long range, shooting 42 percent on nearly 150 tries for an average of 13.2 points per game. North Carolina does not give up a ton of three-point attempts, but when they do, opponents shoot 34 percent. The Fighting Irish are sure to find ways to get deep shots off on Monday night. Against a Tar Heels team that has been struggling to put up points, a good shooting performance from Notre Dame would almost certainly cause them to run away with this one.

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The only real advantage North Carolina has here is their rebounding but it is not wide enough of a gap to completely change the game. Notre Dame has been a completely different team on their home floor and North Carolina has struggled severely on the road. As the game presses on, expect a North Carolina team with a shallow bench to fade while the Irish pull away. As long as Notre Dame has a decent night of shooting, this is their game to take.

Prediction: Notre Dame Fighting Irish -4

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In recent games, Notre Dame has ended up in more defensively minded battles. North Carolina is not going to punish them for defensive mistakes the way Duke did, so the under makes sense here. The Tar Heels are known to slow down in the second half and they will also be without one of their top scorers on Monday night. As long as Notre Dame doesn't have an unreal game from three, the under is the more likely outcome here.

Prediction: Under 147.5
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Written By Nick Cowie

Nick graduated with an environmental science degree and is a freelance writer, covering anything from fighting to forestry. He is a washed up swimmer and a sports and comedy enthusiast.