Willie’s NCAAB season picks record: 24-16-2 (+7.15 units)
Saturday, 5:15 p.m. ET, Chicago (CBS)
Free NCAAB Pick: Heels ATS
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
One way or another, a college basketball blueblood is going to walk out of Chicago’s United Center with a third loss on Saturday when John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats go up against Roy Williams and the North Carolina Tar Heels.
A rematch of an Elite Eight clash a couple of NCAA Tournaments ago, the No. 19 Wildcats and No. 9 Tar Heels square off at the CBS Sports Classic, each sporting 8-2 records. One of two contests between ranked squads on Saturday’s NCAA basketball odds card, North Carolina draws the short chalk line and with two of the top-scoring teams in the country, it will be interesting to see where the total eventually settles.
‘Cats Coming Off Best Shooting Performance Of Season
Life without former star recruit Quade Green began with a resounding win for the Wildcats last Saturday, UK taking care of business at home with an 88-61 decision over Utah as 16-point chalk at Bookmaker. Green saw his minutes reduced earlier this month, and announced he would be leaving Kentucky for Washington. His absence against the Utes certainly didn’t show up in the box score where the Wildcats shot a season-high 58% and had their best night from outside by sinking 12-of-21 tries from 3-point range.
Williams just signed an 8-year extension to remain in Chapel Hill through 2027-28, and brings the Heels to the Windy City off last week’s 103-90 win over then-No. 4 Gonzaga. It marked the fourth time North Carolina topped the 100-point plateau, and the Tar Heels’ second win since a rather embarrassing performance against Michigan in late-November. A couple more non-con tilts against Davidson and Harvard await UNC before beginning the ACC slate at Pittsburgh.
UNC 9-3-2 ATS Last 14 Matchups
The 40th meeting between the schools finds UNC with a 24-15 advantage against UK , the Tar Heels 12-5 in neutral site affairs. It’s the 7th-straight clash with both teams ranked, two of those taking place in the NCAA Tournament. The last get-together was in the Elite Eight of the 2017 tourney, Luke Maye hitting a last-second jumper to give North Carolina the win as 2-point chalk. The previous encounter came three months before that at the 2016 CBS Sports Classic in Las Vegas, Kentucky posting a 103-100 decision to cover as a 1-point favorite. The March 2017 matchup halted a string of three successive ‘over’ winners in the rivalry.
Both teams have seen their scoring averages reduced the past few games, so the total could end up as low as 165 or as high as 170, depending on how the action goes. I’ll take the Tar Heels minus a couple of buckets for my free NCAA basketball pick.