#740 Wake Forest University Demon Deaconsvs.#739 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tar Heels
Written by Chris Kubala
#11 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)
NCAAB: Wednesday, January 11, 2017, Lawrence Joel Coliseum, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 8 pm ET
Spread: North Carolina -9; Over/Under: 165
It’s a battle of schools from the Tar Heel State in an ACC clash. The #11 North Carolina Tar Heels take the short road trip to take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons Wednesday night. North Carolina has won two straight and four of five after destroying NC State 107-56 at home Sunday. Wake Forest lost for the third time in four games after falling 79-62 at #11 Virginia Sunday. North Carolina has won seven of the last eight meetings between the teams. That includes an 87-71 win in the last meeting here on January 21, 2015.
North Carolina, after winning narrowly at Clemson in a game that had a heated post-game confrontation between Roy Williams and Brad Brownell, blew NC State out of the water. This one was over early as the Tar Heels ran to a 56-23 edge at the half and never looked back. North Carolina shot 49.4 percent from the field in the game while knocking down 12 of their 27 three point attempts in the contest. The Tar Heels controlled the boards by a 50-36 margin and they forced a staggering 26 turnovers by NC State. Justin Jackson led North Carolina with 21 points in the win.
The Tar Heels are 7th in the nation in scoring with 89.1 points per game. North Carolina is currently leading the nation in rebounding by collecting 45.1 boards per game and 18th in assists with 18.4 dimes per contest. The Tar Heels are an above average team defensively as they are 103rd in the nation allowing 68.6 points per game. North Carolina is shooting 47.4 percent from the floor. The Tar Heels are averaging 7.3 threes per game and shoots 37 percent from three point range. Jackson leads the team with 17.6 points plus 5.7 rebounds per game. Joel Berry II contributes 15.4 points, 3.9 rebounds plus 4.4 assists a game, Kennedy Meeks chips in 12.6 points plus 9.6 boards a night and Isaiah Hicks adds 12 points a night. Tony Bradley, Kenny Williams, Nate Britt and Luke Maye each average five points a game. The recent return of Theo Pinson will be a major boost to the Tar Heels’ rotation as well.
Wake Forest fell to 1-3 in conference play and resides in the basement of the ACC after their defeat at the hands of Virginia. The Demon Deacons have faced some good competition as they lost to two ranked teams in addition to a five point home loss to a tough Clemson squad. Wake Forest led by one at the half but wilted in the second half as they were outscored 51-33. The Demon Deacons were held in check as they shot 40.4 percent from the field in the game. Wake Forest clanked 15 of their 21 three point attempts in the game while allowing Virginia to shoot 49.4 percent from the field. John Collins led the Demon Deacons with 16 points plus six boards in the loss.
The Demon Deacons have been sharp on the offensive end, ranking 57th in the nation by putting up 79.8 points per game. Wake Forest is 148th in rebounding with 37.3 rebounds per contest and 63rd in assists with 16.2 per game. The Demon Deacons are below average on the defensive end as they are 222nd in the country by allowing 73.6 points a game. Wake Forest shoots 47.1 percent from the floor as a team this season. The Demon Deacons connect on 8.3 triples a night while shooting 38.8 percent from beyond the arc. Collins leads the team with 16.4 points plus 9.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks a night. Bryant Crawford chips in 14.3 points plus 5.9 assists a game while Keyshawn Woods (12.8 points, 4.8 boards) and Konstantinos Mitoglou (10.6 points, 6.4 boards) each are scoring in double figures. Wake Forest needs more secondary scoring though: only Austin Arians, Mitchell Wilbekin and Brandon Childress put up even three points a game.
The Demon Deacons played well in their non-conference slate but they’ve had problems in conference play. Their thin rotation has proven costly as they failed to deliver secondary scoring. North Carolina has an embarrassment of riches in their rotation, which works in their favor. The return of Pinson is a major boost for North Carolina as well. The Tar Heels should roll to a victory here and keep their momentum going.
Both teams are among the upper echelon in the nation when it comes to putting points on the board this season. We just saw North Carolina hang 107 on NC State in their last contest but that was at home. This one is on the road, where we’ve seen the Tar Heels lose by 12 at Georgia Tech in addition to a three point overtime win at Clemson. Wake Forest is good offensively but they like to play a bit more reserved than the Tar Heels to try and control the tempo.
North Carolina has gone under the total in their last four games after scoring at least 90 points. The Tar Heels have also gone under in seven of their last eight Wednesday games, in nine of their last 11 after a straight up win by at least 20 points and in eight of their last 10 as a road favorite. Wake Forest has gone under the total in five of their last six ACC matchups, four of their last five Wednesday games and four of their last five as an underdog. This one could go either way but I’d lean toward the under given the recent trends.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.