UNC vs NC State Odds, Pick, Prediction: ACC Basketball Betting Preview
Pictured: Armando Bacot #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
UNC vs NC State Odds
-110o / -110u
|NC State Odds|
-110o / -110u
On Jan. 21, North Carolina defeated NC State 80-69 in Chapel Hill. Since, the Tar Heels have lost four of their past six games and have fallen to 16-10. After entering this season as the preseason No. 1 team in the country, North Carolina finds itself on the bubble. It will look to stop the bleeding and complete the season sweep of its in-state rival.
NC State’s tournament status looks to be on solid footing as it is 20-7 overall and 10-6 in the ACC. However, it is coming off an 1-2 road trip with losses to Virginia and Syracuse. The Wolfpack are returning home, where they are 13-1 this season.
During the last two decades. North Carolina has had its way with its in-state rival. It has won 36 of the past 41 meetings in the series and is riding a four-game winning streak (also 4-0 ATS) over the Wolfpack. This time, North Carolina will be a short underdog.
North Carolina is led by its veteran trio of Armando Bacot, Caleb Love and RJ Davis. They account for 50 of North Carolina’s 78 points per game. Bacot also leads the ACC and ranks seventh nationally with 11 rebounds per game. Considering that he is the most efficient of the three — not to mention his dominance over NC State — North Carolina would be wise to play through Bacot in this one.
In Bacot’s past two games against NC State, he is averaging 25.5 points and 16 rebounds. He also has four double-doubles in seven career games against the Wolfpack.
North Carolina will need more from Pete Nance to pull out a road victory. In his past four games, Nance is shooting 7-for-30 from the field and he scored two points or less in three of the games. He is averaging 9.7 points and six rebounds this season.
Led by Bacot, North Carolina is one of the best rebounding teams in the country. It ranks 16th nationally and outrebounds its opponents by nearly five per game. Opponents get less than nine offensive rebounds per game against the Tar Heels.
North Carolina is 50th in adjusted defensive efficiency. It leads the ACC in 3-point percentage as the only team holding opponents below 30%. North Carolina has a true shutdown defender in forward Leaky Black. He will likely draw Terquavion Smith again. Black held Smith to 5-of-15 shooting in 23 minutes before Smith left with an injury last time they faced off.
NC State is led by guards Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner. Smith is a volume scorer, who is averaging 18.3 points and 4.5 assists per game. He recently became the fastest ACC player in the past 15 years to record 1,000 points, needing just 58 games.
Joiner is averaging 16.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. He is coming off his first career triple-double on Tuesday against Syracuse, during which he tallied 15 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Guard Casey Morsell and center DJ Burns are double-digit scorers for the Wolfpack as well.
NC State recently got back one of its key glue guys when Jack Clark returned against Boston College after missing 10 games. The junior guard leads the team in rebounds (7.2) and steals (1.8) per game.
NC State averages 78.7 points per game and is 38th in adjusted offensive efficiency. It shoots 35% from 3 and 38% in its wins this season. NC State is holding opponents to 30.8% from beyond the arc this season and ranks 36th nationally.
North Carolina vs. NC State Betting Pick
Last season, North Carolina went to Raleigh in a similar spot — searching for a win to boost its NCAA Tournament resume. North Carolina won that game 84-74 and I expect the Tar Heels to come out on top once again.
Look for UNC to go to Bacot early and often in this matchup and I would expect another double-double. Bacot, as well as timely buckets from Love and Davis, will push UNC. At the other end, guarding the 3-point line will be key.
NC State shoots 38% from 3 in its wins, but just 27.7% in its losses. Smith will likely get his average since he takes 16 shots per game. However, he may struggle to be efficient with Black defending him.
North Carolina is just 2-6 in true road games this season. However, it has won 18 of 23 meetings against NC State at PNC Arena. I’m betting that success will continue. You can take +1.5 to be safer, but I will take the plus money on the Tar Heels to win outright.
Pick: North Carolina Moneyline
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