College Basketball Odds & Picks for North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech: Hokies to Take Advantage of Tar Heels’ Poor Defense

College Basketball Odds & Picks for North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech: Hokies to Take Advantage of Tar Heels’ Poor Defense article feature image

Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images. Pictured: Keve Aluma.

  • Virginia Tech hosts North Carolina on Saturday looking to extend its six-game win streak.
  • Meanwhile, the Tar Heels are looking for their second victory of the season over the Hokies.
  • Mike McNamara explains why this time around may not result in another victory for Hubert Davis & Co.

North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech Odds

Saturday, Feb. 19
4 p.m. ET
North Carolina Odds
-114o / -106u
Virginia Tech Odds
-114o / -106u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

It might be the bubble game of the day on Saturday when North Carolina heads to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech.

The Tar Heels suffered a disastrous home loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, and as a result, they are likely barely hanging in the NCAA Tournament field.

As for the Hokies, there isn't a hotter team in the ACC right now. VT has won six in a row and has put itself right back in the discussion for an NCAA Tournament bid. A slow start to conference play has left Tech with minimal room for error, so it likely needs to keep the winning streak going to have a real chance at a bid.

These two teams met back in January, and North Carolina pulled away late to win that one, 78-68.

Will Virginia Tech exact some revenge and extend its winning streak to seven games? Or will the Tar Heels get back on track after a bad loss to Pitt? Let's find out.

North Carolina Tar Heels

The roller coaster of a season continued for North Carolina on Wednesday night. After routing Florida State, 94-74, last Saturday in a game that wasn't even as close as that final score, the Heels came out completely flat against Pitt.

As a result, UNC suffered the type of loss that no bubble team wants to suffer in mid-February. Carolina now needs to add some Quad 1 wins to its resume to feel good about things on Selection Sunday, and Saturday offers one of those chances.

The only other opportunity that the Tar Heels will have to add such a win in the regular season will be when they head to Durham to face Coach K in his final game at Cameron Indoor.

To win Saturday, Carolina will need to be much better on the defensive end of the floor against a potent Hokie offense. UNC ranks outside the top 180 in the country in defensive effective FG%, and it checks in at 348th out of 357 D1 teams when it comes to forcing turnovers on the defensive end.

Virginia Tech has the athletes to get to the rim and the shooters to space the floor, which makes this a precarious matchup for Hubert Davis' team.

If the Tar Heels want to win this game, they're likely going to have to outscore the Hokies.

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Virginia Tech Hokies

After a 2-7 start to conference play, things were looking pretty grim in Blacksburg.

Mike Young kept his team together, however, and the results started to turn. The Hokies could not buy a close game to begin the year, so they started taking matters into their own hands and have been putting opponents away.

The biggest reason for the current streak has been a boom on the offensive end of the floor. Virginia Tech is now inside the top 20 in KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency rankings, and the Hokies have gone for 70-plus points in six of their last seven outings.

Keve Aluma and Justyn Mutts combine to form a very respectable duo on the interior for the Hokies. Both are athletic, long, and use their length to contest shots at the rim and rebound the basketball.

I'd put Hunter Cattoor up there with just about any pure shooter in the country, and the results have backed that up in recent weeks.

Young knows his team needs to keep its winning ways going to get into the Big Dance, so I expect the Hokies to come out very focused for this one.

North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech Betting Pick

I'm not betting against Virginia Tech right now. The Hokies are playing their best basketball of the season, and the offensive efficiency numbers have been off the charts in this recent winning streak.

North Carolina continues to be very mediocre on the defensive end, which should result in the Hokies' shooters finding a ton of good looks from the outside.

Couple that with a revenge angle for VT and plenty of motivation to add a big win to the tournament resume, and I think this is a great spot for Tech.

I'm laying the points and backing the Hokies to cover the number in what should be a fun game in Blacksburg.

Pick: Virginia Tech -4

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