NCAAB Odds, Pick for UNC vs Miami: Bacot to Feast

NCAAB Odds, Pick for UNC vs Miami: Bacot to Feast article feature image

Photo by Nicholas Faulkner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Armando Bacot (UNC)

UNC vs Miami Odds, Pick

Saturday, Feb. 10
4 p.m. ET
North Carolina Odds
-110o / -110u
Miami Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAB odds here.

Welcome to another ACC showdown between the North Carolina Tar Heels and Miami Hurricanes.

The Canes are coming off a historically terrible offensive showing against Virginia.

It wasn’t much better in Chapel Hill, as North Carolina fell to Clemson to mark its first home loss of the season.

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North Carolina Tar Heels

In North Carolina’s most recent game against Clemson, a few strange potential worries leveled to the surface.

First, the Heels struggled communicating in ball screens, allowing multiple clean 3-point looks for the Tigers.

Second, UNC struggled on the glass, which has seldom occurred this year (second-best defensive rebounding percentage in the conference).

These issues seem like a one-off to me, as the Heels were coming off an emotional win over Duke. They were coming back two days later to play a desperate — yet talented — team.

For much of the season, the question for UNC was: Where was this supposed All-American in Armando Bacot? Most people — including myself — lumped Bacot into the Zach Edey/Hunter Dickinson discussion, but the gap between the three appeared bigger than most anticipated.

On the offensive end, Bacot appeared reluctant to assert his offensive will and showed more passive tendencies. In the past two games, though, Bacot scored 24 against Duke and 25 against Clemson, showing some serious signs of life next to likely ACC Player of the Year, RJ Davis.

Davis is everything for this UNC squad, and the divorce from backcourt partner Caleb Love has certainly played a role in Davis’ improvement. As a senior, Davis is averaging a career-best 21.2 points per game while shooting over 41% from 3.

After the 2022-23 team served as a tremendous disappointment, North Carolina can thank defensive improvements for the tremendous bounce back season. The Heels' strong defense ranks eighth in defensive efficiency, headed by elite perimeter defense (30% opponent 3-point percentage) and reliable rim protection.

In 2024, the Tar Heel State will launch North Carolina sports betting fully online. Keep up with the latest legal happenings.

Miami Hurricanes

You could make a convincing argument for Miami as one of the sport’s most disappointing teams. They entered the year as a clear-cut top-25 team that was fresh off a Final Four, but instead, they've looked like an NIT team.

So, why has Miami struggled so dramatically?

The defense is still an issue, as the Canes rank 106th in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.

But they overcame an awful defense last year. The biggest differences this year is no Isaiah Wong, which directly correlates to Miami’s major offensive regression. The Canes ranked sixth in offensive efficiency a year ago, but now sit 57th. That’s a whole different weight class from one season to the next.

Wong could muster a solid 15-20 points even on inefficient shooting nights. There’s nobody — maybe outside of Norchad Omier — who consistently scores a similar amount of points. There just isn’t a guard creator who breaks down the defense and makes plays happen.

Sure, Wooga Poplar and Nijel Pack are capable, but it doesn’t happen as often as the Canes need it to.

That's particularly true of Poplar, who looked incredible during the non-conference play but has regressed during ACC action.

Pack is always capable of scoring 20+ on the right night; he's just an incredibly streaky scorer, and is shooting a career-worst 36% from 3.

North Carolina vs. Miami

Betting Pick & Prediction

Miami’s poor perimeter defense will struggle against the dribble penetration from speedy freshman Elliot Cadeau and Davis.

Miami ranks 270th in opponent 2-point field percentage, and many of the easy looks stem from poor guard defense.

Bacot should feast, but it’s not like Omier is some dreadful defender. Despite being “undersized,” he’s a very solid defender down low.

I’m expecting some big assist numbers from the guards to Bacot and some triples from Harrison Ingram and Cormac Ryan as a side dish.

Pick: North Carolina -4.5 (Play to -5.5)

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