Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey goes for history against NC State

Photo Credit: Matt Cashore- USA TODAY Sports

When the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-3, 1-0 ACC) return to Purcell Pavilion on Wednesday night (9 p.m. ET, ACC Network/WatchESPN) to play the North Carolina State Wolfpack (10-4, 0-1 ACC), Irish head coach Mike Brey could make history. With a victory, Brey would become the winningest coach in Notre Dame history with 394.

With Notre Dame’s 68-59 victory over Georgia Tech to open ACC play, Brey tied legendary coach Digger Phelps with his 393rd victory at Notre Dame.  Phelps is going to be in attendance on Wednesday night – situated in his normal seat on press row.

The Irish are looking to begin conference play 2-0 for the second consecutive year and for the third time in five years in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Looking to bounce back from a 78-62 loss in the ACC opener to Clemson Tigers, the Wolfpack will be led offensively by Allerik Freeman (15.4 PPG) and Torin Dorn (13.5 PPG). The 6’5” Dorn leads the team in rebounds, averaging 7.8 a night. 

NC State will continue to miss sophomore guard Markell Johnson, who is currently suspended following an arrest in November. Despite missing the last four games for the Wolfpack, Johnson still leads the team in assists with 66.

As a team, the Wolfpack control the ball well and do not commit many turnovers. So far, NC State has averaged 12.4 turnovers per game this season.

The Irish will be missing All-American forward Bonzie Colson, who suffered a fractured foot in practice earlier this week.  The Irish announced on Tuesday that Colson will miss at least eight weeks with the injury.  Colson averaged a league-high 21.4 points per game and 10.4 rebounds before the injury.

If Colson’s eight-week timetable is correct, then the Irish star could return for the team’s regular season finale against Virginia on March 3rd.

With Colson out of the lineup, the Irish will look for increased production from Matt Farrell and TJ Gibbs, who are averaging 16.4 and 14.1 points per game, respectively. In the frontcourt, John Mooney, Elijah Burns, DJ Harvey, and Austin Torres could all see increased playing time.

The matchup between Notre Dame and NC State will be the 12th time meeting all-time, with the Irish leading the all-time series 7-4, including wins in each of the last three meetings.