College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Michigan vs. North Carolina: High-Scoring Matchup Ahead?
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: R.J. Davis
- Michigan travels to Chapel Hill to take on North Carolina in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
- The Wolverines have two losses to Seton Hall and Arizona.
- Alex Hinton breaks down the matchup and offers up his top pick.
Michigan vs. North Carolina Odds
-110o / -110u
|North Carolina Odds|
-110o / -110u
Growing up in Michigan, I got into college basketball just after the fallout of the Fab Five scandal. As a Michigan football fan, I liked its basketball team, but I wouldn't have considered myself a huge fan at the time. Mainly, I hated Michigan State.
I was drawn to North Carolina, partially because of the fast-paced offense Roy Williams implemented and partially because of its dominance against Michigan State.
As I got older, I did get more into Michigan basketball, especially after attending and graduating from the school. Being a Michigan and UNC fan never really conflicted much with them being in separate conferences, even with the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Michigan and North Carolina did not meet again between 1994 and 2016. However, this year's matchup will be the fourth time the programs have met in the last five seasons. Michigan has won two of the last three meetings to bring the all-time series to even at four wins apiece.
This year's matchup will feature two offenses that are top 20 in offensive efficiency and one awful defense. Could that lead to a high-scoring matchup?
Offensively, the Wolverines are led by center Hunter Dickinson and guard Eli Brooks.
The seven footer, Dickinson, is averaging 14.8 points, eight rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game on nearly 61% shooting from the floor.
Brooks is averaging 15.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists on nearly 43% shooting from 3. The Wolverines are still waiting for a third scorer to emerge to compliment them.
Ideally, it will be Caleb Houstan. The five-star forward has gotten off to a slow start, shooting 25.8% from 3, but he is the best shooter on the club and can provide the spacing that Michigan needs around Dickinson.
Coastal Carolina transfer DeVante' Jones has struggled with decision making while running the point and foul trouble. He is averaging four turnovers and 4.4 fouls per 40 minutes.
I would not be surprised if freshman Frankie Collins started to earn more minutes. Collins had six points and four assists (and just one turnover) in 15 minutes against Tarleton State.
Michigan has played at a slow pace this season, ranking 255th in adjusted tempo. However, the Wolverines have converted their opportunities at a high rate, ranking 12th in adjusted offensive efficiency. The Wolverines are 10th in adjusted defensive efficiency.
While Roy Williams has retired, the Tar Heels still love to get up and down under first-year coach Hubert Davis. North Carolina is 47th nationally in adjusted tempo and 28th in scoring at 83.2 points per game. The Tar Heels have five players averaging in double figures this season.
Like Michigan, UNC likes to pound the rock inside. Junior center Armando Bacot is averaging 15.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Stretch forward Brady Manek is averaging 14.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, while forward/center Dawson Garcia is averaging 10. 7 points and 6.5 rebounds.
Guards Caleb Love and R.J. Davis split the point duties for UNC. Love averages 15.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists, while Davis is putting up 13.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and four assists per game.
Early on, UNC looks to have its best 3-point shooting team in the last few years. The Tar Heels are shooting 41.4% from downtown, which is 15th nationally. Davis, Manek, Garcia and swingman Kerwin Walton are all shooting 38% or above from 3 on more than two attempts per game.
However, defense has been an issue for the Tar Heels this season.
North Carolina is 114th in adjusted defensive efficiency so far this season. It also ranks 324th in points allowed (78.7) and 306th in defensive rating.
UNC's own turnovers are playing a role in its defensive issues. The Tar Heels are averaging 13.5 turnovers — while only forcing 8.7 — and its opponents are attempting eight more shots per game.
Michigan vs. North Carolina Betting Pick
The Tar Heels held UNC Asheville to 53 points in their last game. However, UNC allowed 93 points to Purdue and 89 to Tennessee in its two games against Power 5 opponents. It also allowed 87 points to Brown and 83 to the College of Charleston. The totals in those four games averaged 174.
North Carolina's defense could be just what Michigan needs to wake up offensively. North Carolina has struggled defending dribble penetration so far.
If Jones, Brooks and/or Collins are able to get into the lane, they will create opportunities for themselves and others. That will be particularly useful in setting up Dickinson and lob opportunities for forward Moussa Diabate.
North Carolina will fill it up as well. The Tar Heels will look to play inside out and establish Bacot first. However, keep an eye on Love. Michigan has struggled defending on the perimeter this season and Love will not be bashful. He leads UNC in shot attempts.
The over is 4-2 in UNC games this season and I expect the Tar Heels to be involved in another high-scoring battle. I like the total over 148.5 and I would play it up to 151.