College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for NC State vs. North Carolina (Saturday, January 29)
Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images Pictured: Dawson Garcia #13, Kerwin Walton #24, R.J. Davis #4, Armando Bacot #5 and Leaky Black #1.
- The NC State Wolfpack and North Carolina Tar Heels go to battle in an in-state rivalry game.
- The Tar Heels have been underwhelming in a down ACC, but there may be value on them Saturday.
- Check out Alex Hinton's full betting guide and pick below.
NC State vs. North Carolina Odds
|NC State Odds|
-120o / -102u
|North Carolina Odds|
-120o / -102u
The Duke-North Carolina rivalry is the one that gets the national attention. North Carolina will host Duke next Saturday, but first it must deal with another rival. While Duke and North Carolina hate each other, there is also a feeling of mutual respect. The NC State-UNC rivalry may be even more intense and bitter.
NC State and UNC are separated by 25 miles and are two of the top public universities in the state. Familiarity breeds contempt as many friends and family members grow up together and often end up on opposite sides. Former North Carolina coach Roy Williams went so far as to say he would rather beat North Carolina State than eat. Williams did not starve too often as he went 32-4 against the Wolf Pack.
Williams retired after last season, and it is now Hubert Davis’ show in Chapel Hill. Will UNC continue to dominate the rivalry now that it is Davis vs. Kevin Keatts?
NC State comes in at 10-11 and 3-7 in the ACC. It has lost four of its last six games and defense has been the main culprit. NC State ranks 219th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 318st in defensive rating.
For the season, the Wolfpack are 290th in scoring defense (73.7 PPG), 311th in field goal percentage defense and 295th in three-point field goal percentage defense. In ACC play, the Wolfpack are 12th in the conference in scoring defense (72.9 PPG), 14th in field goal percentage defense and dead last in three-point defense. Those numbers look worse when you consider that NC State is 212th in adjusted tempo.
While NC State struggles defensively, it can fill it up at the other end. The Wolfpack has three players scoring in double digits. Sophomore guard Dereon Seabron leads the way and is averaging 19 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists. He is converting 57.4% of his two-point attempts.
Senior forward Jericole Hellems is averaging 14.5 points and 4.5 rebounds, while freshman guard Terquavion Smith averages 14.4 points and 3.8 rebounds. Hellems and junior Casey Morsell are both shooting 41% from deep. They will look to exploit a UNC defense that is allowing opponents to make 35.4% from three in ACC play.
North Carolina is 14-6 overall and 6-3 in ACC play. Thus far, its season has been defined by inconsistency. The Tar Heels are 11-0 at the Dean Dome, but just 3-6 away from home with those wins coming against College of Charleston, Boston College and Georgia Tech.
One player that has been consistent for UNC is center Armando Bacot. The junior is averaging 16.3 points and 12.1 rebounds, which he has increased to 17.1 points and 15.1 rebounds. He is second nationally with 15 double-doubles and is third in rebounds per game.
Guards Caleb Love and RJ Davis are both averaging 15 points and shooting over 40% from beyond the arc in ACC play. Forward Brady Manek can also stretch the defense from the perimeter. In conference play, he is shooting 39% from deep, in addition to averaging 13.6 points and 5.8 rebounds.
North Carolina has been able to overwhelm most opponents with its size because of Bacot, Manek and Dawson Garcia. However, it will be without Garcia — and his nine points and 5.5 rebounds — for personal reasons. The Tar Heels should still be able to control the glass against NC State. In addition to Bacot (who may grab 20 himself) and Manek, forward Leaky Black is a good rebounding wing as well as defender.
North Carolina is inconsistent at the defensive end and 61st in adjusted defensive efficiency (fourth in the ACC). However at home, the Tar Heels are allowing only 60.9 points per game. If that mark holds for the whole season, it would be the fewest points per game the Tar Heels have allowed at home in the shot clock era.
NC State vs. North Carolina Betting Pick
North Carolina has been a different team at home this season. It has outscored its opponents by 15.7 points per game and includes double-digit victories over Michigan, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
The three ball should be a big factor with Love, Davis and Manek firing away against NC State’s porous three-point defense. The Tar Heels should also be able to control the glass against an undersized NC State team. The Wolfpack are 298th in rebounds allowed per game, and UNC is +9 in rebounding margin for the season and +10 in ACC play.
While NC State can score, it is also inefficient at times. I have UNC getting enough stops to pull out a double-digit victory.