NORTH CAROLINA STATE WOLFPACK (4-1)
at MICHIGAN WOLVERINES (5-0)
ACC/Big Ten Challenge Ė Ann Arbor, MI
Tip-off: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Line: Michigan -6, Total: 135.5
No. 18 North Carolina State will look to give No. 3 Michigan its first loss of the season Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten challenge.
The Wolfpack began the year as the top-ranked team in the ACC, but have since fallen from atop that perch after a loss to Oklahoma State and a two-point close call with UNC-Asheville. But the talent on the Wolfpack squad is undeniable, with six players averaging double-digit points. But they will need to harness all that potential to topple the Wolverinesí elite duo of guards, Tim Hardaway Jr. (18.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG) and Trey Burke (16.4 PPG, 6.8 APG). They have helped pace this Michigan squad that is hitting 53.5% of its field goals to start the year, ranking fourth in the country.
Can Michigan win and cover the moderate point spread? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The StatFox experts have been on top of their game in the past four days, going a collective 20-12-1 ATS (63%) on college basketball Best Bets. The group is now 53.4% ATS (71-62-3) for the season, led by StatFox Gary at 58% ATS (14-10). StatFox Dave is at 56% ATS (29-23) for the season after going 65% ATS (20-11) since Nov. 17. StatFox Brian has gone 6-3-1 ATS (67%) in the past five days.
NC Stateís last two games have been ugly, but there have been bright spots. Senior forward Richard Howell had a season-high 23 points and 15 rebounds against UNC-Asheville, and he will certainly be the most physical big man Michigan has seen all season. And heís joined in the paint by 6-foot-9 F C.J. Leslie, who is also coming off a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman F T.J. Warren (team-high 14.8 PPG) is hitting 68.1% from the field this year, while fellow freshman G Rodney Purvis (10.8 PPG) is an electric scorer, hitting 10-of-17 threes (59%). And donít forget about the teamís other sharp-shooter, senior F Scott Wood (10.6 PPG), who has continued to stroke from deep this year with 2.6 threes per game with a strong 45% accuracy rate.
The task of battling Leslie and Howell on the boards will fall to Glenn Robinson III (12.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG) and Mitch McGary (5.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG), two freshmen forwards who form the teamís top three rebounders with Hardaway, who has been incredibly efficient this season with just 1.4 TOPG and hitting 62% of his shots, including 48% from downtown. The teamís other main scoring threat besides Robinson, Hardaway and Burke is 6-foot-6 freshman swingman Nik Stauskas, who has been hot to begin the season with 11.6 PPG on 59% shooting. He will try to match Wood and Purvisí shooting on the wing, as he averages 2.0 threes per game on 59% shooting (10-for-17), numbers identical to Purvis. A final veteran body who could become useful is junior F Jordan Morgan (5.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG) who isnít flashy, but is strong and seasoned, a critical element for battling Howell and Leslie.