NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS (13-5)
at NORTH CAROLINA STATE WOLFPACK (15-4)
Tip-off: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: NC State -5, Total: 156
No. 18 North Carolina State tries to remain in second place in the ACC standings when red-hot rival North Carolina makes the short trip to Raleigh on Saturday night.
UNC has won three straight games (SU and ATS), holding its opponents to a mere 62.3 PPG. NC State has dropped two of its past three contests (SU and ATS), but is a perfect 11-0 SU (6-3 ATS) at home this season. Although the Wolfpack are the nationally-ranked and favored team here, the Tar Heels have won 13 straight meetings SU and are 9-2 ATS over the past 11 times they have met.
Which Tobacco Road rival will get the big win on Saturday night? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Gary has a sparkling 56.1% ATS (60-47-1) record for the season for college basketball Best Bets, while StatFox Dave is 53.3% ATS (97-85-3) on the year. StatFox Brian is 12-9 ATS (57%) since Jan. 12, with 11 non-losing days out of these 14 days. StatFox Scott is 6-4 ATS (60%) in the past six days. The four experts are collectively 52% ATS (265-250-9) on college basketball Best Bets this season.
North Carolina is one of the more potent offenses in the nation with 78.7 PPG (14th in nation) despite a mediocre 44.5% FG clip (115th in D-I). The Tar Heels also grab the most rebounds in the nation (43.1 RPG) while dishing out 18.1 APG (3rd in D-I). PF James Michael-McAdoo leads the club in scoring (14.7 PPG) and rebounding (8.3 RPG) and is averaging 15.7 PPG and 9.3 RPG during the three-game win streak. Junior swingman Reggie Bullock (14.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG) has also been strong during the win surge with 17.7 PPG on 50% FG. Bullock averaged 9.0 PPG and 6.7 RPG in the three meetings with NC State last season. SG P.J. Hairston (11.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG) is the other double-figure scorer for Carolina. In the team's last road game, he lit up Florida State for 23 points on 9-of-14 FG. He also scored 15 points in just 17 minutes in Wednesday's win. A big reason UNC scores so many points is the decision making of PGs Marcus Paige (6.7 PPG, 4.4 APG) and Dexter Strickland (7.9 PPG, 4.9 APG). Paige has 12 assists over the past two games, while Strickland has a 2.77 Ast/TO ratio for the season, with 72 assists and only 26 turnovers.
NC State scores 79.2 PPG (9th in D-I) and makes an impressive 51.0% FG (3rd in nation). This team has six players that score at least 9.9 PPG, led by the impressive trio of SF C.J. Leslie (15.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG), PG Lorenzo Brown (12.8 PPG, 6.9 APG, 4.5 RPG) and PF Richard Howell (12.6 PPG, 10.9 RPG). All three of these players had huge games in the near upset of then-No. 4 UNC in last season's ACC Tournament. Leslie had 22 points (9-of-14 FG) and seven rebounds, Brown poured in 16 points, six assists, four rebounds and four steals, while Howell posted a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. When it comes to shooting well from downtown, senior SF Scott Wood is usually called upon with his 42% clip from three-point range this season.