Carolina Gets the Respect
Both of these teams open up their inter-conference schedules Sunday night in what should be a battle. The Tar heels are the road favorites with huge wins over Kentucky, Michigan State, and Louisville. The perplexing thing about this team is that they can beat the cream of the crop and then lose to teams like UAB and Belmont. In essence, with the huge wins that they have under their belt, this should be one of the top teams in the nation.
Wake Forest on the other hand, has no win that stands out and are coming off of a demoralizing 68-53 loss to Xavier. Momentum and key victories are the reason why the Tarheels are such an extreme favorite on the road.
North Carolina is coming off of a very easy 84-51 victory over UNC-Wilmington. In this game, James Michael McAdoo led the Heels with 23 points and 10 rebounds in 23 minutes of play. We know that UNC-Wilmington is a weak opponent, but the Tarheels will go as far as McAdoo takes them. Marcus Paige is the leader of this squad, but McAdoo is the “x-factor.” If he plays well, the Heels can go deep into the NCAA Tournament.
Thus far this season, McAdoo has underachieved, but an 11 for 14 shooting performance against the Seahawks going into inter-conference play, is just what the doctor ordered for this junior forward out of Norfolk, Virginia.
Wake Forest will rely on the offense of guard, Cody Miller- McIntyre (17 points, 4 assists, 3.5 rebounds) and the inside play of forward Devin Thomas. Thomas is a wide body that averages a near double-double on the season; a Charles Oakley type of player if you will.
Although 5 points seems like a lot, North Carolina is the big money team here and my NCAA basketball pick for this game.
Pick- North Carolina -5 at Bet 365
Providence (10-4) at #11 Villanova (12-1)
The Wildcats have played a pressure packed schedule and have come up big thus far. This is a team with wins over USC, Kansas, and Iowa. They’re also coming off of a nice bounce back victory in overtime over Butler after a disappointing loss to Syracuse.
The Friars, who are a 12.5 point underdog, will have their work cut out for them as they look for their first Big East win after a disappointing loss to Seton Hall by 1 point in their last game. It doesn’t seem likely that Providence has a chance in this game.
After getting Butler’s leading scorer, Kellen Dunham into 1st half foul trouble, the Wildcats capitalized and took this game down to the wire in Hinkle Fieldhouse which is a tough place to play. JavVaughn Pinkston led the way for the Wildcats with superb play on both sides of the ball. Pinkston led Villanova with a team high 22 points and 3 blocks for the game.
Senior, James Bell, is also a key figure on this team, but he’s been marred in a slump as of late. In his last 5 games, Bell has put up 2-25 point games and then has been non-existent in the other 3 games ,averaging 6 points per game on a collective 7 of 26 shooting from the field. If Villanova has any chance of covering such a large spread, Bell will need to play a lot better.
A Tough Loss
Providence is coming off of a double overtime loss to Seton Hall in their first Big East game of the season. This was a game in which Providence had to claw their way back into it as they were down by 12 points with 12 minutes to play.
Leading scorer, Bryce Cotton, played all 50 minutes and he led the Friars with 25 points although he was ineffective from 3-point range. Cotton has been a beast as of late, averaging 23 points per game in his last 4 games. Cotton will definitely be one of Villanova’s focuses on the defensive end. Unless stretched to overtime, Nova is one of the better defensive teams in the country and this could be a low scoring game.
A Different Play
I’m going to go to 5 Dimes Sportsbook and make a different type of play on this game; and individual team totals play. Take the OVER 61 for Providence. Although Villanova’s defense is top notch, this total is a bit low.
Pick- Providence OVER 61 at 5 Dimes