It’s time for North Carolina to dig deeper to salvage some of the season.
Notre Dame has reached that point as well. The Fighting Irish clearly are in a more desperate situation, however.
The two teams that find themselves in uncomfortable spots will meet on Saturday with a late-morning tipoff in Chapel Hill, N.C.
“It’s just going to be difficult at times,” North Carolina coach Hubert Davis said. “You are going to be met with adversity so in those times you have to be connected to the discipline and the details and the things we talk about and drill in practice every day.”
The Tar Heels (10-5, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) defeated Wake Forest on Wednesday night, a step that they hope will signal a surge in the right direction after a stretch of uneven performances.
“It’s just time,” North Carolina forward Armando Bacot said. “It’s time for us to show how good of a team we are. We have the talent. We just have to be more disciplined.”
Notre Dame (8-7, 0-4) has even more problems, particularly coming off a 70-63 loss at Boston College.
“It has been frustrating because three of our four league games we’ve been there but haven’t been able to get over the hump,” Irish coach Mike Brey said. “I’m trying to figure out how to help us more.”
The Tar Heels are 7-0 at home. This season, they’re 4-0 when RJ Davis scores 20 or more points — and 9-0 in a three-season stretch when he does so.
But the biggest boost Wednesday night might have been fifth-year player Leaky Black’s career-high 18 points. He hit three 3-pointers in the first half.
“This is something I’ve been working on,” Black said. “It has always been there. It’s a matter of capitalizing on my opportunities. If I see one go in, I’m going to keep shooting.”
Coach Davis’ message to his team: “Find the joy in how hard it is to be the best you can be individually and as a team.”
Notre Dame forward Ven-Allen Lubin will miss the game with an ankle injury sustained at Boston College.
Without a significant interior presence offensively, Brey said the Irish probably need to make 13 or 14 shots from 3-point range to win ACC games.
“We’re searching, baby,” Brey said. “What an opportunity playing down there. … Great college basketball atmosphere playing at Carolina. Our kids will be excited.”
–Field Level Media