If you refer to past history, the North Carolina Tarheels (13-5, 3-2) have to feel good about themselves in which they’ve beaten the 18th ranked North Carolina State Wolfpack (15-4,4-2) 13 consecutive times.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET on Saturday at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. This game can also be seen on ESPN.
5 Dimes Sportsbook lists the Wolfpack as a 5 point betting odds favorite.
A win here would look good on the Tarheels resume and the way that N.C. State has been playing, this one’s up for grabs.
Losing to ACC Bottom feeders
Quite frankly, I’m a bit surprised that the Wolfpack are still in the AP top 20. A bottom feeder in the ACC is considered a team that’s still above the .500 mark, but these are teams of lesser talent, just the same. N.C. State has been unable to capitalize in these meetings.
In their most recent effort, the Wolfpack gave up 51 -2nd half points in a loss to Wake Forest. Nothing really stood out except for N.C. State’s lack of defense and ability to capitalize on free throws. The Wolfpack were just 14 of 25 from the charity stripe and in an 86-84 loss, that’s the difference between winning and losing.
The Wolfpack are a very dominant team offensively. Each player fits their role well.
Point guard, Lorenzo Brown, will quicken the pace of this game with his pure speed, C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell, dominate the middle with great efficiency, a great touch, and the ability to control the glass, while Scott Wood waits on the outside ready to knock down the 3 ball. This team should be a lot better than what they’ve displayed thus far.
The one person that has been the backbone of the team has been Mr. Double-Double, Richard Howell. Howell is averaging nearly 15 rebounds in his last 4 games. Controlling the boards and getting those second chances are the keys to success in this game. Look for Howell to play big against a young team.
The Tarheels have had a respectable season. This hasn’t been one of their strongest years due to youth. North Carolina has one of the youngest teams in the country. The Heels might not be a top 25 team, but they’re surely a threat to any team in the ACC and are definitely a candidate for the NCAA Tournament. N.C. State is vulnerable at the moment and a win here could catapult the Tarheels into the top 25 and be a nice win on their resume.
The Momentum Factor
While North Carolina might be the more inexperienced team, momentum is totally on their side. They’re coming off of 3 consecutive ACC victories and had an easy time of it in their last game.
In their most recent effort, the Heels held the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to just 36% from the field while never relinquishing the lead en route to a 79-63 victory.
Look for James Michael McAdoo and Reggie Bullock to lead the way against the Wolfpack. Bullock is coming off of a strong 17 point effort against the Yellow Jackets while McAdoo has scored in double figures in every game this season except for one. When North Carolina needs a necessary basket, they look for McAdoo. He should get plenty of opportunities against the Wolfpack’s defense.
Expect the Tarheels to try to slow the tempo of the game down, but I could see McAdoo putting up at least 20 points in this game.
This game is all about how well each team has played lately. Yes, the Wolfpack have the home court advantage, but their defense has been atrocious and they’ve played poorly overall. North Carolina has all of the momentum and confidence coming into this game and I expect this game to go down to the wire. You should take them as the dog for your NCAA basketball picks.
NCAAB Picks: North Carolina +5 at 5 Dimes