Wake Forest vs. North Carolina, 01/11/17 - Expert Prediction
Written by: Brian Spaen
No. 12 North Carolina Tar Heels (14-3 SU, 9-6-1 ATS, 5-10 O/U) vs Wake Forest Demon Deacons (10-6 SU, 6-8 ATS, 7-6-1 O/U)
When and Where: Wednesday, Jan. 11, 8:00 PM ET, Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, NC
Line: North Carolina -7.5
North Carolina is looking for its third straight victory when it goes on the road at Wake Forest on Wednesday night. Snow didn’t slow down the Tar Heels as they crushed their in-state rivals last Sunday afternoon. The Demon Deacons got unsurprisingly blown out at Virginia. UNC has won the last three meetings in this matchup.
Nothing but fireworks for UNC’s offense
North Carolina made their in-state competition, NC State, look rather insignificant in a 107-56 demolition. The Tar Heels at one point had a 20-0 run in the first half and they had the same amount of points at halftime as NC State had at the end of the game (56). UNC fired up 79 shot attempts and converted nearly 50 percent of them. They went 12-of-27 from downtown, had a 50-36 advantage on the glass, and had 17 steals to aid in NCST’s 26 total turnovers. The only place where UNC struggled was going 17-of-25 from the free throw line, but that was still much better than NCST’s 3-of-11.
Junior forward Justin Jackson (17.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg) was the player of the game with a team-high 21 points. He went 6-for-11 from 3-point range. Junior guard Joel Berry II (15.4 ppg, 4.4 apg) also chipped in with 19 points (went 3-for-7 from downtown), 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. UNC also had 21 total assists, boosting their already great average of 18.4 dishes per game (8th nationally).
Offense sputters at Virginia
Wake Forest struggled to generate anything against Virginia’s defense, a feat that most teams have to deal with. The Demon Deacons finally lost control halfway through the second half when the game was tied at 46, and the Cavaliers cruised to a 79-62 victory. WF was held to 40.4 percent shooting and had an even more dismal time from 3-point range making just 6-of-21. Sophomore forward John Collins (16.4 ppg, 9.3 rpg) had the best performance with 16 points and 6 rebounds.
The offense will be forced to find some rhythm, and it will be pivotal for Wake Forest to pass the ball well. Sophomore guard Bryant Crawford (14.3 ppg, 5.9 apg) leads the team in assists and has improved in the assist-to-turnover ratio in the last two games, recording 13 assists to 3 turnovers. That’s been much better than the first two ACC games of 7 assists to 12 turnovers.
North Carolina is:
- 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games against ACC teams
- 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games following an ATS win
Wake Forest is:
- 5-16 ATS in their last 21 home games
- 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall
North Carolina simply has too many advantages across the board for Wake Forest, including an eye-opening 8.6 more rebounds per game. Yes, UNC had a weird no-show at Georgia Tech, but the Tar Heels also have a chance to reach the century mark at any given time. It’s safer to ride with UNC even on the road.
Pick: North Carolina -7.5
Blogging journeyman and sports handicapper. His passion for statistics, analyzing team reports, and watching multiple hours of sports daily gives him an edge for picking who will beat the spread. Also writes about technology and video games. Hobbies include enjoying life in the big city, spending way too much time on YouTube, and discovering new craft beer and whisky.
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