Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#753 North Carolina (UNC) vs.
#754 UNCW
Friday, November 8, 2019 at 7:00pm EST
Written by Benjamin Hayes



#753 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
#754 University of North Carolina at Wilmington


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No. 9 North Carolina takes on UNC Wilmington on from Trask Coliseum in Wilmington. Last season, the Tar Heels crushed the Seahawks, 97-69 at home.

UNC opened their season on Nov. 5 with a 76-65 win over Notre Dame from Chapel Hill in a very early ACC contest. UNCW had an easy win over a non-Division I opponent in Johnson & Wales (103-83) on Tuesday.

Anthony is legit

The last Anthony from New York who dominated college basketball was named Carmelo. Cole Anthony is a 6-3, 190-pound point guard, whose father played in the NBA (Greg) and was a very good player at UNLV. But Greg's son has even more talent and showed that on opening night against Notre Dame with 34 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists on 12-of-24 shooting (6-11 3pt). About the only thing he did wrong was to turn the ball over four times. His 34 points set a record for a freshman debut at North Carolina, which says something considering the lineage of great players there (Jordan, Perkins, Worthy, etc.).

UNC basically reloaded this season after losing Nassir Little (9.8ppg), an incredibly hyped freshman who left early and didn't really produce. They also lost Coby White (16.1ppg, 4.1apg), Luke Maye (14.9ppg, 10.5rpg) and Cameron Johnson (16.9ppg, 5.8rpg) from a team that lost in the Sweet 16. But Anthony heads a talented freshman class along with center Armando Bacot (6-10,2 32), who scored seven points and grabbed eight boards in the first game. One thing that head coach Roy Williams will have to attempt to build is a bench. They have four players with injuries that are out indefinitely including shooting guards Brandon Robinson (ankle), freshman point guard Jeremiah Francis (knee) and freshman guard Anthony Harris (knee).

Sims has to lead the squad

Johnson & Wales is a Division III team in Charlotte. UNCW turned the ball over 23 times and shot 44.6% from the field in their win on opening night. That last number might be a little disconcerting for head coach C.B. McGrath, whose teams have gone 21-44 in his first two seasons at the helm of UNC Wilmington. The longtime Roy Williams assistant took over two seasons ago for Kevin Keatts, who left for NC State.

McGrath has two starters returning from a team that finished 10-23 overall and last in the CAA (5-13). Fortunately, they return sophomore point guard Kai Toews (8.8pp, 7.7apg), who set the conference record for assists in a season in his freshman year and finished second in the nation in assists per game. Wing Jalen Sims (5.7ppg, 34.9% 3pt) will need to step up this year with Devontae Cacok (15.2ppg, 12.3rpg) gone along with several other transfers. Sims led the Seahawks with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting in the opener. They are also without dynamic guard Ty Gadsen (11.5ppg, 47.5% 3pt) who is out the first month due to hernia surgery.

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That's a lot of points to lay on the road, but this isn't really a road game. Trask will probably be filled with half Tar Heels fans. The only reason the Seahawks are playing at home is that McGrath was an assistant at North Carolina. Unfortunately for UNCW, they are still in transition after losing so many players in the offseason. The biggest loss was the graduation of Cacok, who was a beast on the boards. They just don't have the size to hangle the Heels or the speed to keep up with Anthony.

Prediction: North Carolina -21.5

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North Carolina scored 76 points in their opener against an Irish team that likes to play slower tempo. UNCW likes to push the ball. They gave up 80 points and 86 points in their two CAA conference tournament games last season. They weren't good defensively last season. In fact, they were the worst in program history and they lost talent. They ranked 339th in adjust defensive efficiency, allowing 1.15 points per possession.

Prediction: Over

Written By Benjamin Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!