The Virginia Tech Hokies will head on the road to Chapel Hill, North Carolina on Monday evening as they prepare for a tough Atlantic Coast Conference showdown versus the North Carolina Tar Heels at the Dean E. Smith Center.
North Carolina comes in with a 14-4 overall record and they already have five Quadrant One victories on their resume this season. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech is fresh off of its first conference defeat of the season against No.1-ranked Virginia. Can the Hokies bounce back at home against a Tar Heels’ team that is starting to gain some confidence?
Hokies fall to Virginia
Virginia Tech snapped a nine-game winning streak and took their first loss in conference play last Tuesday, falling on the road to No.4-ranked Virginia 81-59. Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored a team-high 19 points, while Ahmed Hill chipped in 14 for the Hokies, who merely couldn’t get stops on the defensive end. The Cavaliers shot 58.5 percent from the floor and 13 of 24 from beyond the arc versus the Hokies defense en route to the blowout win.
The bench came to play 👊
Our reserves put up their most points in ACC play (25) this season, including this one off the glass from Wilkins 👅
— Virginia Tech Men's Basketball (@HokiesMBB) January 20, 2019
On offense, Virginia Tech is one of the most proficient 3-point shooting teams in the country, so it is no surprise that the Hokies do most of their damage from beyond the arc. They have attempted 43.3 percent of their total field goal attempts from downtown (74th in the NCAA) and 39.2 percent of their total points have come from beyond the arc (31st in the NCAA), where they are shooting a healthy 41.8 percent (3rd in the NCAA) through their first 16 games. That has helped the Hokies sport the fourth-best effective field goal percentage in the nation at 58.7 percent. However, through four ACC games, they are scoring just 110.1 points per 100 possessions (3rd in the ACC) and shooting just 33.0 percent from beyond the arc (7th in the ACC). However, Virginia Tech has done a good job of taking care of the basketball, turning the ball over on only 14.7 percent of their offensive possessions during league play.
North Carolina improves to 4-1 in ACC play
North Carolina won its second straight game on Saturday, defeating Miami 85-76 on the road behind a balanced scoring effort. Cameron Johnson scored 22 to lead five Tar Heels’ players in double-figures on the night, while Kenny Williams chipped in 16 points and handed out seven assists to help the Tar Heels get the victory.
Roy Williams’ squad comes into Monday’s matchup ranked No. 10 in the latest KenPom rankings after starting the ACC season with a 4-1 record through their first five games. The Tar Heels play at one of the fastest pace in the entire country, averaging 76.1 possessions per game (6th in the NCAA) and only 13.7 seconds per offensive possession (3rd in the NCAA). North Carolina comes in scoring 115.0 points per 100 possessions (19th in the NCAA) and they are allowing just 91.9 points per 100 possessions (16th in the NCAA) on the defensive end of the floor, however, both of those numbers have been trending downward since the start of the conference season. Through five league games, the Tar Heels are scoring just 106.5 points per 100 possessions (6th in the ACC), while turning the ball over on 19.9 percent of their offensive possessions (13th in the ACC). The Tar Heels have shot just 47.2 percent from inside the arc (10th in the ACC) and 36.6 percent from 3-point range (5th in the ACC) during conference play this year.
On defense, North Carolina is allowing 99.3 points per 100 possessions (5th in the ACC) during league play, while limiting opposing teams to an offensive rebounding rate of only 25.3 percent (4th in the ACC).
- Tar Heels are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
- Tar Heels are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
- Tar Heels are 17-8-2 ATS in their last 27 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Hokies are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Hokies are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
- Hokies are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 vs. Atlantic Coast.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Tar Heels lost some of their allure during the non-conference season by losing three times in a span of six games, however, they’ve responded with a strong start to ACC play. North Carolina is deep and Cody White is starting to blossom into his own for the Tar Heels. Take the Tar Heels to cover the spread at home in the Dean E. Smith Center on Monday night.
Prediction: Pick: North Carolina -4
Full-Game Total Pick
Virginia Tech has struggled on the defensive end during conference play, allowing ACC teams to sport an effective field goal percentage of 56.4 percent (15th in the ACC). The Hokies don’t turn the ball over on offense and they force turnovers on the defensive end of the floor, which should help push this game over the projected total versus a fast-paced North Carolina team. Take the over in this ACC showdown in Chapel Hill on Monday night.
Prediction: Over 155