Willie’s NCAAB season picks record: 29-25-2 (+2.70 units)
Tuesday, 9 p.m. (ET) (ESPN)
Free NCAAB Pick: UNC ATS
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
Week 10 of the college hoops campaign finds the ACC conveniently divided between the unbeaten and winless. That will begin to change Tuesday night when the North Carolina Tar Heels take a short bus ride down Tobacco Road to face the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
The Tar Heels and Wolfpack are among the unbeaten teams coming out of the first week of conference play, and the tight spread on the NCAA basketball odds board reflects a game one would expect between rivals that are just a few rungs apart in the top 25 rankings. A healthy total in the 170s is also what bettors should expect from two of the top-scoring teams in the country.
Both Sides Begin ACC Action With Road Wins & Covers
Roy Williams’ 16th ACC schedule began with an easy win Saturday at Pittsburgh where the Tar Heels took control early with a 16-0 run over a 7-minute span in the first half. North Carolina’s defense held the Panthers to just over 30% from the field, and 2-of-19 from 3-point range in the victory. Cam Johnson scored 15 in his first return to Petersen Events Center since playing for Pitt (2014-17), and Luke Maye recorded his fifth double-double of the season (17 pts, 11 reb).
Kevin Keatts’ club also returned home with a road win last Thursday to begin their conference slate, but the Wolfpack found the going tougher at Miami where Bookmaker had them laying 3. Trailing by 10 in the second half, NC State rallied behind a 13-0 spurt in the 87-82 final as Markell Johnson came off the bench to spark the team with 20 points. Hustle on the glass was a key factor in the outcome with the Wolfpack owning a 51-29 edge in rebounding,18 of those boards coming on the offensive end.
Heels 4-1 ATS Last 5 Clashes
Road wins were also popular in the rivalry last season, the Wolfpack pulling off the 95-91 upset in overtime at Chapel Hill in the first meeting and UNC avenging that loss with a 96-89 decision in Raleigh. North Carolina took a 156-78 all-time lead in the series with the follow-up victory, and has won 28 of the last 32. The Wolfpack are looking for their first win at PNC Arena in six years, and first home cover in nearly four. Both contests a year ago got past the totals to leave the “over” on a three-game run.
With Pitt, Wake Forest and Notre Dame the next three on NC State’s schedule, a win Tuesday could catapult the Wolfpack into being honest-for-goodness conference contenders. At the same time, two road wins to begin ACC play would be huge for the Heels, and I just can’t ignore their dominance in the series when making my free NCAA basketball pick.