Northern Kentucky (4-7) at #19 North Carolina (8-3)
Playing Down to Inferior Opponents
Thus far this season, the North Carolina Tarheels have been quite unpredictable. They seem to beat the opponents that they’re expected to lose to and occasionally will lose to a team that they should destroy. Carolina is expected to destroy the Northern Kentucky Norse. The Norse are coming off of a 72-65 victory over Navy. There’s no chance of an upset here, but 27 points are a lot to give. Can the Norse keep this game relatively close and cover the betting spread?
The Tarheels have been playing some highly competitive games and once again they played down to their most recent opponent, the Davidson Wildcats (4-8). It took North Carolina 2 overtimes to put away the Wildcats at home in a 97-85 victory. The Tarheels were just too much for the Wildcats in the end as they outscored Davidson 18-6 in the 2nd overtime session. This could’ve been an embarrassing loss as this was a simple tune up for the Tarheels for the ACC inter-conference matchups that almost went bad. Now, the Heels have a 2nd crack at beating an overmatched basketball team.
On the Right “Paige”
Marcus Paige has been the leader for the Tarheels and it’s due to the hustle and consistency that he’s shown on the court this season. Paige does it all; he’s scored in double figures in every game this season, plays great defense, can shoot the 3-ball, can rebound, and is an overall efficient shooter.
Although the Heels won’t have last year’s leading scorer, P.J. Hairston, reinstated, they got senior Leslie McDonald back and this will only make them a better team. McDonald is a complimentary player that will come in handy in when UNC faces the likes of Duke and N.C. State.
3 Straight Wins
Can we take Northern Kentucky serious as a 27 point betting underdog. The Norse have come back strong after a 1-7 start to the season to revive their season. Their 3 victories were against low level teams, but the Norse have played top-rated teams such as Purdue and Kentucky. While the Wildcats crushed Western Kentucky by 30 points, the Norse lost by just a point to a good Purdue team. Which team will show up tonight?
This is not a strong offensive team. Junior guard, Jordan Jackson, leads the way for the Norse at 14.3 points per game, but simply doesn’t look for his shot enough. Dealing with Carolina at Chapel Hill will be a tall order, even on a 3 game winning streak.
I have no doubt that UNC will win, but 27 points seems to be too much to lay going on their past history in their first 11 games of the season.
Pick - Northern Kentucky +27 at Bet 365
Struggling to Remain Undefeated
After a mind-blowing 64-61 victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the Buckeyes can take a sigh of relief as there’s only UL Monroe standing in their way until they get to the Big-Ten inter-conference matchups.
OSU almost didn’t make it out of Madison Square Garden undefeated as they trailed the Irish by 8 points with 49 seconds to play, but thanks to Lenzelle Smith Jr, the Buckeyes live to see another day as an unbeaten team.
The Warhawks are a different story. They’ve lost 3 consecutive games and have averaged just 59 points on 37.5% shooting in these games. We all know that OSU has one of the best defenses in college basketball. UL Monroe will be lucky to see 50 points against the like of Aaron Craft, Amir Williams, and LaQuinton Ross.
At 75 points per game, the Buckeyes won’t overwhelm a team offensively, but their defense is 2nd to none. The Buckeyes haven’t allowed an opponent 70 points in a game all season. Their level of competition has been suspect, but the Warhawks don’t have the firepower to compete with OSU.
Louisiana-Monroe will look towards their leading scorer, Amos Olatayo, to lead the way. Olatayo isn’t an efficient shooter from the field, but is a respectable 3-point shooter and a consistent rebounder. I’m expecting Olatayo to have a difficult time dealing with the Ohio State defense.
The point spread is a bit low and it can possibly be attributed to OSU’s last game in which they struggled. Lay the points as your NCAA basketall pick; UL Monroe is no match for OSU.
Pick – Ohio State -24.5 at Bet 365