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Miami at No. 8 North Carolina
When and Where: Saturday, Feb. 9, Dean Smith Center, Chapel Hill, N.C., 12 p.m. EST.
A seventh straight win would result in at least a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference lead for eighth-ranked North Carolina, which hosts Miami on Saturday.
‘Canes seek first true road win, back-to-back ACC victories
A season that started with promise and hopes of reaching the NCAA Tournament for a fourth consecutive year has given way to a season of struggle for Miami (10-12, 2-8 ACC), which was never able to truly get going as the Adidas scandal that rocked college basketball recruiting claimed starting forward Dewan Hernandez, who lost his last appeal for eligibility last month.
The Hurricanes are in a four-way tie for last in the conference but dragged Notre Dame into the cellar with them after a 62-47 win over the Fighting Irish on Wednesday night.
The Lykes Show™️ was in full effect tonight. https://t.co/ESQ87KXYps
— Canes Hoops (@CanesHoops) February 7, 2019
Dejan Vasiljevic and Anthony Lawrence II each had double-doubles in points and rebounds as Miami had four players score in double figures and got all but two points from its starting five. The Hurricanes shot 4 for 22 from 3-point range but forced the Irish into a 4-for-28 effort from deep while holding them to 32.1 percent shooting overall.
“Miami’s defense bothered us,” said Notre Dame coach Mike Brey to the Miami Herald. “If you score 47 points, you’re not going to win a league game. (Chris) Lykes changes the game with his ball pressure. He disrupted our whole flow. Their personnel’s pretty good even though they only have seven of them.”
Miami, though, has been abysmal on the road as it goes to Chapel Hill with a 0-5 record and four losses by double digits. The Hurricanes have shot 37 percent or worse in the last three, averaging 53.7 points while hitting 16 of 68 (23.5 percent) from beyond the arc.
Rebounding has been a problem without Hernandez as Miami has been outrebounded by 2.6 boards per game overall but 6.0 per contest in ACC play. North Carolina pulled down 13 offensive rebounds and totaled 14 second-chance points while outrebounding the Hurricanes 38-23 in an 85-76 win in Miami on Jan. 19.
Five of their eight losses in league play have come against AP Top 25 teams. Miami, however, did beat then-No. 8 North Carolina 91-88 at Chapel Hill last season on a buzzer-beating 30-footer by Ja’Quan Newton.
Tar Heels try to avoid looking ahead to showdown with Hoos
With ACC co-leaders No. 2 Duke and No. 3 Virginia playing each other Saturday, a win by the eighth-ranked Tar Heels (18-4, 8-1) would assure them of at least a share of the conference lead on a quick turnaround for Monday night’s showdown at home versus the Cavaliers.
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) February 6, 2019
North Carolina completed a sweep of one of its Tobacco Road rivals, racing past North Carolina State 113-96 on Tuesday night. Luke Maye had 31 points and 12 rebounds while freshman Coby White added 21 points as the Tar Heels set a school record for points against the Wolfpack in the 236th meeting between the teams.
“We kind of go in waves,” forward Cameron Johnson told The Associated Press after chipping in 17 points and going 3 for five from 3-point range. “Some guys have big nights, and the next guy has a big night the next game … and that’s pretty special to our team and bodes well going forward.”
White is third on the team in scoring at 15.1 points per game but has found a groove of late with a pair of 20-point efforts in his last four contests while averaging 18.8 points in that span. He is a streaky 3-point shooter, though, going 2 for 11 from deep in his last two games after making 10 of 20 in the previous two.
Johnson hit 5 of 7 from beyond the arc and finished with 22 points in last month’s win at Miami. The Tar Heels shot 55 percent in that game and recorded 26 assists on their 33 field goals.
They have won three straight at home since losing to Louisville on Jan. 12 and have averaged 97.0 points while shooting 43.4 percent from long range and 49.8 percent overall. North Carolina has not swept Miami since the 2011-12 season but has lost three of its last four home games to the Hurricanes.
North Carolina is:
- 15-7-2 ATS in its last 24 games as a home favorite of 13 or more points.
- 5-0 ATS in its last five games vs. ACC opponents.
- 7-3-2 ATS in its last 12 games as a favorite of 13 or more points.
- The over is 6-2 in its last eight games after scoring 90 or more points in its previous game.
- The over is 7-2 in its last nine games after allowing 90 or more points in its previous game.
- 7-16 ATS in its last 23 games vs. ACC opponents.
- 7-21 ATS in its last 28 games following an ATS win.
- 1-9 ATS in its last 10 games after allowing fewer than 50 points in its previous game.
- The over is 10-4 in its last 14 road games.
- The over is 9-4 in its last 13 road games vs. teams with an above-.600 home record.
- The over is 8-3 in its last 11 games as a road underdog.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
A big number yes, but one thing Roy Williams-coached teams are good at is focusing on the task at hand. With the Cavaliers looming Monday, the Tar Heels need to get things right in this game given the grind that comes with playing Virginia. Additionally, North Carolina is operating on all cylinders offensively and has the depth to wear down a Miami team going only seven deep.
Prediction: Pick: North Carolina -17
Full-Game Total Pick
The Tar Heels are going to do the heavy lifting in this one, with an expectation they will get to 90 or more points — something they have already done 10 times this season. White is the X-factor here — he scored 15 points in the first meeting between the teams and North Carolina scored 85. If he reaches that mark again, the over should deliver.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 157 points
Half-Time Side Pick
The teams played to a stalemate in the first 20 minutes in Miami before North Carolina found separation in the second 20. The Tar Heels have trailed only twice in 11 home games this season and led by double figures on eight occasions, including their last two games.
The Hurricanes have trailed in four of their last five road games at intermission, including their last three in ACC play. This is as much as North Carolina’s recent form and Miami’s struggles.
Prediction: Pick: North Carolina -9
Half-Time Total Bet
The teams combined for 74 points in the first meeting, and while the Hurricanes have made it a point to slow things down recently — they combined with Virginia for 49 in their last road game and 51 with Notre Dame last time out — North Carolina is adept at speeding things up.
The Tar Heels have also reached 76 and higher in three of their four ACC home games and have been held below 70 just twice in 11 overall.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 74.5 points