MIAMI HURRICANES (16-3)
at NORTH CAROLINA STATE WOLFPACK (16-5)
Tip-off: Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET
Line: Miami -1, Total: 134.5
No. 19 N.C. State will look to hand No. 14 Miami its first ACC loss as the two teams square off Saturday afternoon in Raleigh, NC.
The Hurricanes have rolled through ACC play, winning all seven of their games SU and going 5-1-1 ATS with a scoring margin of 12.9 PPG. While the Wolfpack have struggled, losing three of their past five games SU, they own quality wins against No. 5 Duke and North Carolina, and are 5-3 (SU and ATS) in the conference. The question in this game will be if Miamiís athletic frontcourt will be able to tame NC Stateís big men that have led them to a 50.3% FG on the season, the fourth-best clip in the nation. Another big question though, is if Wolfpack PG Lorenzo Brown (12.7 PPG, 6.9 APG, 4.3 RPG) will be available to play on his injured ankle that limited him to 10 minutes in Tuesday's loss.
Will Miami keep its win streak intact on Saturday? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Dave was a perfect 5-0 ATS on Best Bets Thursday and Friday, giving him a 10-3 ATS (77%) mark in the past five days and 54% ATS (109-93-3) for the season. StatFox Gary is 4-1 ATS (80%) in his past three days of Best Bets, boosting his season record to 56% ATS (67-53-1).
NC State SF C.J. Leslie (15.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG) owned Miami when these two teams met in Raleigh last season, going off for 21 points (on 7-for-10 FG) and 11 rebounds. This season, has been one of the ACCís most efficient bigs, hitting 55.7% FG, though he has struggled with 3.0 turnovers per game. PF Richard Howell (12.7 PPG, 11.0 RPG) averages a double-double and isnít slowing down, having recorded double-digit rebounds in nine consecutive games with 13.3 RPG in that span. SG Scott Wood (11.6 PPG) is the teamís sharp-shooter and led the Wolfpack to victory when they visited Coral Gables last season, hitting 4-of-6 three-pointers en route to a game-high 21 points. This season, Wood is knocking down 2.6 threes per game on a 42.2% clip. Brown leads the conference in assists, but could be unable to go, thrusting freshman SG Rodney Purvis into an even larger role with this team that typically plays only seven guys. Purvis (9.6 PPG) has the skills to become an elite scorer, but has yet to consistently find that form and is averaging just 6.5 PPG in the teamís past two games after dropping 18 against Wake Forest. Six-foot-8 freshman F T.J. Warren (12.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG) has had a much more efficient freshman campaign than Purvis, hitting a remarkable 63.3% of his field goals this season. However, he is coming off a terrible game at Virginia Tuesday, with more fouls (4) than points (3), making just 1-of-7 FG. But in his past two home games, Warren has 20.0 PPG on 18-of-23 FG (78%).
Miami C Kenny Kadji (13.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG) seemingly gets better every game for Miami and is averaging 17.0 PPG in the teamís past three contests, wins against Duke, Florida State and Virginia Tech, making 67% FG in that span. Heís joined in the frontcourt by 292-pound bull, senior C Reggie Johnson (9.9 PPG, 9.2 RPG), who will be playing in just his fourth game since returning from a thumb injury. He has struggled to return to form in these games, averaging just 3.7 PPG on 2-of-14 FG, but remains a threat on the boards as shown by his 10-rebound performance against the Hokies on Wednesday. PG Shane Larkin (12.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 4.0 APG) runs the offense and is a defensive menace with 2.2 SPG. He grinds out a remarkable 36.2 MPG and is coming off a 25-point performance Wednesday in which he nailed 5-of-10 three-pointers and made all four of his two-point field goals. The Hurricanes will also look for a nice contribution off their bench from junior SG Rion Brown (6.1 PPG) who averaged 12.5 PPG in the two meetings between these teams last season.