Notre Dame basketball hosts the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Purcell Pavilion on Saturday afternoon.
The Notre Dame basketball team is coming off a frustrating–but maybe slightly encouraging–loss at North Carolina on Tuesday. In that game, John Mooney continued a strong start to the season, logging 16 points and 17 rebounds. In the end, though, the Irish couldn’t come up with enough firepower to hold off the Tar Heels.
North Carolina State
On Saturday, the Irish have the opportunity to reverse their fortunes against the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
Notre Dame has been bitten by the injury bug this season, but the Irish might benefit from the injury bug biting the Wolfpack Saturday.
Junior guard Markell Johnson will not play for the Wolfpack. Johnson is North Carolina State’s second-leading scorer, averaging 11.6 points per game so far this season. An efficient scorer, Johnson is shooting 56% from the field and 46% from behind the three-point arc this season. In short, his presence will be missed for the Wolfpack today.
Coming in to Saturday’s game, the NC State has been reeling. Last Saturday, the Wolfpack struggled past Pittsburgh following Johnson’s injury and the ejection of big man Wyatt Walker. In their next game, the Wolfpack mounted a furious rally, but fell short to Wake Forest, 71-67, after shooting only 37% from the field.
For Mike Brey’s Irish, the key to the game will be the defensive end of the floor. Prior to Markell Johnson’s injury, North Carolina State was humming on offense and boasting depth that has been the envy of most ACC teams. The Wolfpack’s bench has averaged nearly 36 points per game this season.
All season, Notre Dame has struggled with their offensive consistency. That usually is the case with a team as young as Mike Brey’s. Notre Dame will have the opportunity to keep pace with a high-powered North Carolina State team on Saturday, but will need to get shots to fall to win the game and ultimately set up its defense on the other end. If they can, Notre Dame has the opportunity to steal a game against a team with a terrific resume.
The game is scheduled for a 2 PM tip-off on ACC Network.