UNC Wilmington (6-8) at North Carolina (9-3)
A Tune Up
What better way for North Carolina to get their game together as they face the Seahawks in what appears to be an automatic win. Although North Carolina has had difficulties in dealing with teams of much lesser talent, they’re a huge 22.5 point betting favorite and I feel a blowout coming to close out non-conference play.
The Heels are coming off of a 75-60 victory over the inferior Northern Kentucky Morse in which head coach Roy Williams let his bench start the 2nd half along with Marcus Paige as he was visibly upset with his teams played.
The team responded as Paige and Leslie McDonald both had 11 points in the 2nd half while James Michael McAdoo added 12 of his team high 14 points in the last 20 minutes. A little intimidation of losing their job worked and expect Carolina to come out in this game with a sense of urgency or Roy Williams could cut their playing time.
The Seahawks have a tall order here as they’ve lost 23 out of their last 24 games against ranked opponents. This is a team that has lost their last 3 consecutive games and the one time that they faced a top ranked opponent, they were blown out of the building by Iowa, 82-39.
One player that North Carolina will need to focus on will be Cedrick Williams. The junior forward has averaged 14.7 points and 9.7 rebounds in his last 3 games. UNC Wilmington will need much more than Williams to step up, but Williams could keep this game respectable as North Carolina has been known to play down to the level of their opponent.
Take UNC in a blowout as one of your final NCAA basketball picks to close out 2013.
Pick- North Carolina -22.5 at Bet 365
N. Illinois (5-5) at #13 Iowa State (11-0)
“Kane” Delivers On Christmas
Iowa State has had a superb season and looks to stay undefeated before Big-12 inter-conference play starts. A major reason for their success has been the play of 5th year transfer, DeAndre Kane. Kane has made the most of his only year as a member of the Cyclones.
Cane is coming off of a huge 23 point performance on 4 of 6 from 3-point land as the Cyclones held on to defeat Boise State, 70-66 in the Cyclone’s most recent game. Iowa State didn’t get a single point from their bench. As for Kane, this is a menacing player that can play bigger than his actual 6 foot 4, 200 pound frame. He can score, rebound, distribute the ball, and play more than one position. On the season, Kane is averaging 14.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game.
Iowa has the 6th ranked offense in the country in points scored. The Cyclones have 2 efficient scorers in Melvin Ejim (18.8 ppg.) and Georges Niang (16 ppg.). They also have a double-double machine in Dustin Hogue and Kane is the “X-Factor” of this very talented group of ball players.
This Could Get Ugly
Northern Illinois, on the other hand has proved to be very ineffective on the offensive end. This is a team that averages just 66.3 points per game on 40% shooting from the field, and just 9.2 assists per game. They’re on a 2 game winning streak, but their schedule is as weak as it gets until they meet Iowa State tonight.
The Huskies don’t even have a player that averages double figures in points. They’re led by Dontel Highsmith and Darrell Bowie. On a positive note, Highsmith is coming off of a huge 27 point performance in a victory over UC Riverside. This is a player that can shoot the 3-ball and has scored in double figures in 4 out of his last 5 games.
The Huskies just don’t have the talent to compete with the ferocious offense of Iowa State. Expect the Cyclones to win by 30 plus points here.
Pick- Iowa State -24 at Bet 365