NC State Wolf Pack at (15) North Carolina Tar Heels (-8.5, 153.5 o/u)
The No. 15 North Carolina Tar Heels (19-8, 9-5 ACC) rebounded from back-to-back losses by obliterating Georgia Tech on the weekend, 89-60. Now, Roy Williams’ squad will try to make it two impressive wins in a row as they host the NC State Wolf Pack (16-11, 7-7 ACC) tonight at the Dean E. Smith Center (8:00 p.m. Eastern).
The Tar Heels lost a dramatic game to Duke last Wednesday (92-90 OT). The Tar Heels had a big second-half lead, but couldn’t contain Duke’s Jahlil Okafor and Quinn Cook down the stretch. Even with the massive win over the Yellow Jackets, UNC has lost four of its last six games and sits four full games back of Virginia in the ACC standings.
North Carolina State, meanwhile, is on a two-game winning streak, including arguably its best win of the year: 74-65 on the road over then-No. 9 Louisville (which still had guard Chris Jones at that point). Guard Anthony Barber had 21 points in the win, including 10/13 from the charity stripe.
The Tar Heels and Wolfpack – two fierce in-state rivals – have already met once this year; on January 14, Tar Heel guard Marcus Paige led his team to an 81-76 road win, scoring 23 points and adding nine assists. (Though the Wolf Pack covered as 4.5-point home dogs.)
On that night, NC State proved it can hang with its bigger brethren, but couldn’t recover from a slow start.
“I didn’t think in the first half we had the movement, the quickness,” Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said after the loss. “We just seemed to be going slow motion in my mind. The second half we came out and played basketball. … But we didn’t do it for 40 minutes. We did it for 20 minutes.”
North Carolina opened as 11-point favorites, but that number has dropped to 8.5. North Carolina State is 5-11 ATS in its last 16 against UNC, while four of the last five meetings have gone over.
(Photo credit: Triple Tri (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)