UNLV REBELS (11-1)
at NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS (8-3)
Dean E. Smith Center – Chapel Hill, NC
Tip-off: Saturday, 2:00 p.m. ET
Line: Noth Carolina -3.5, Total: 158.5
Still in search of its first marquee win of this season, North Carolina will host No. 20 UNLV and the nation’s top freshman Anthony Bennett on Saturday afternoon.
Bennett has been a one-man wrecking crew this season, single-handedly carrying the Rebels with 19.5 PPG and 8.5 RPG. But he faces a balanced Tar Heels attack that is third in the nation in points (84.0), third in rebounding (45.8) and first in assists (20.1). Roy Williams' fast-paced offense has seen mixed results this season, but the team has the upside to be among the nation’s best.
Who will win this clash of in-state titans? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The StatFox experts continue to roll in the past two weeks, posting a collective 46-27-1 ATS (63%) record since Dec. 14. StatFox Scott is 10-5-1 ATS (67%) over this stretch, while StatFox Dave is 16-11 ATS (59%) in these 15 days. The experts now have a collective 54% ATS mark (160-138-7) in college basketball Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Gary, who is a whopping 8-1 ATS since Dec. 19, and sits at 62% ATS (36-22) for the season, while Dave is at 54% ATS (58-50-2) on the year with StatFox Brian at 51% ATS (34-33-2).
What makes Bennett’s play most remarkable is that he hasn’t been overworked, playing just 27.8 MPG this season. He is shooting 55.7% from the field, but owns a solid jump shot, averaging 1.0 threes per game. Especially without Moser, it gets dicey in terms of his supporting cast. Khem Birch (11.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG) has been good in his three games back, while Katin Reinhardt (10.0 PPG) has been able to put up some points despite his poor shooting (37.9% FG). The key, though, to stopping UNC and its ball movement may be PG Anthony Marshall (10.3 PPG, 5.3 APG), the only Rebel to play more than 30 MPG. Marshall must also keep up his hot shooting in this one, as he is hitting 51.7% from deep in the 2012 campaign.
Talented sophomore James Michael McAdoo (15.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG) leads the Tar Heels attack, but he needs to become more efficient on the offensive end—he’s turning the ball over 3.1 times per game and hitting just 47.1% of his shots, too low of a clip for somebody who takes all of his shots close to the basket. Reggie Bullock (13.1 PPG, 5.7 RPG) has been the team’s next best scorer and he has found his shooting stroke this season, nailing 2.4 threes per game on a 47.5% clip. He’s difficult to guard with a 6-foot-7 frame and the ability to score all over the court. P.J. Hairston rounds out the double-digit scorers with 12.2 PPG. The engines to the offense, though, are Dexter Strickland (8.8 PPG, 4.8 APG) and Marcus Paige (7.0 PPG, 4.4 APG), who has the potential to be one of the nation’s best freshman point guards. He’s hitting just 35.7% of his shots so far though, and is currently more of a threat to just pass than score.