Notre Dame-Virginia a rare ACC matchup

While many teams in this year's ACC tournament are quite familiar with each other and will be meeting for the third time this season, Thursday night's quarterfinal matchup between No. 3 seed Notre Dame and No. 6 seed Virginia seems a bit foreign.

The teams met just once during the season, the Cavaliers winning 71-54 on Jan. 24 in South Bend, Ind., and have played each other just three times in the last three years. At least one of the teams has been in the ACC championship game in each of those seasons, with Virginia beating Duke in 2014, Notre Dame beating North Carolina in 2015 and Virginia losing to UNC last year.

Only one of them will have a chance to reach the tournament final again. Thursday night's matchup will be much bigger than the previous three meetings as they will be vying for a spot in Friday's semifinals.

The Fighting Irish haven't played since a 71-64 loss to Louisville in their season finale Saturday. Notre Dame struggled to a 41 percent shooting performance, including 7 of 25 from 3-point range -- their bread and butter.

"We had opportunities, but Louisville played great," Notre Dame forward Bonzie Colson said after the loss. "They hit big shots when they needed to."

Despite the loss, Notre Dame still received the three seed in the conference tournament, which earned the Irish one of the four double-byes awarded to the top four teams.

Notre Dame will be facing a Virginia team that had received a double-bye in its last three conference tournaments but warmed up this time with a 75-63 win over No. 14 seed Pittsburgh in the second round Wednesday night.

The Cavaliers continued their hot shooting, tying a school record for the ACC tournament with 11 3-pointers. Freshman Kyle Guy led the way with 20 points in his first postseason game.

"I knew that we needed a bucket, but it wasn't like, 'We need a bucket so let me shoot it no matter what,'" he said. "Like Coach (Tony Bennett) said, I'm not really afraid of the moment. But, whatever the team needs from me, I'm willing to do."

Guy was not afraid of the moment against Pittsburgh, and he will be on an even bigger stage against Notre Dame in the late game Thursday, with a chance to face Virginia Tech or Florida State in the semifinals.

Notre Dame has not conquered Virginia since joining the ACC, but the tournament would be a good place to get their first win against Bennett's club.

"Their system is hard to deal with for us, and I think a lot of people have had a hard time dealing with them," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said of the Cavaliers. "I'm glad we don't play them twice. They have not been a good matchup for us, and we take our hat off to them, because they're really good."