By Greg Dempson
What could go wrong did go wrong for the Tar Heels at games’ end as they let one “get away” vs. hated arch rival Duke. This afternoon, (a 1:00 ET tip on CBS,) North Carolina will try and regroup with first place on the line when they host a very good Miami Hurricanes team.
Up 68–60 with 6½ minutes remaining, and playing a Duke team that was shorthanded due to the loss of Jones earlier in the game, North Carolina surrendered that 8 point lead and ended up losing 74–73. The Tar Heels have been on the wrong end of the score vs. Louisville, Notre Dame and Duke and are tied with Miami at this juncture of the season.
The Hurricanes have faced only one tough opponent in their recent climb to the top, Notre Dame, and they won that contest, (79–72,) laying 5.5 points. The “U” has reeled off five consecutive wins, (4–1 ATS,) and following this marquee game vs. North Carolina, they have upcoming ranked games vs. Virginia and Louisville at home before a rematch on the road vs. the Fighting Irish.
In last years’ meeting vs. Miami, North Carolina had 17 points on 13 Miami turnovers and they rank among the conference leaders in takeaways this season. Johnson also had 22 points on 11 of 15 shooting as well as 11 rebounds in that Tar Heels road win, (73–64.)
The Hurricanes have been good at not turning the ball over and in their last seven games, averaging a paltry 9.1 turnovers per contest while holding opponents to 59.0 PPG in their last three wins. Since Larranaga became the Hurricanes head coach he’s 4–3 st. up vs. Roy Williams, (4–1 ATS) in their last five meetings. Larranaga is also 23–06 ATS as a road underdog or pick.
From Beyond the Arc
· This is where the Tar Heels’ woes remain. In their loss vs. Duke they went 1 of 13 when shooting 3’s. For the season they are averaging only 30.9%, last in the ACC. In their past 10 games their average has dipped to 25.7%
· The Hurricanes’ senior guard, Sheldon McClellan, who leads the Hurricanes in scoring at 16.1 PPG on 52.1% shooting, has come up big against the best as he’s averaging 17.3 points on 57.1% shooting vs. the five ranked foes Miami has beaten.
· North Carolina is 03–12 ATS in home games against conference opponents the last two seasons.
· Miami is 10–02 ATS off a home win this season.
· My computer generated power rating in this game favors North Carolina by almost 5 points.
· North Carolina is 04–16 ATS after having won 12 or more of their last 15 games the last three seasons.
· From game 16 out the past two seasons, N. Carolina is 3-12 ATS versus good shooting teams, making 45% or more of their shots.
· Play on an underdog in a game involving two excellent free throw shooting teams making 73% or more of their free throws, a good ball handling team, (Miami,) committing 14.5 or less turnovers per game when playing against a poor pressure defense that forces 14.5 or less turnovers per game. This system is 147–87 = 63% ATS the past five seasons.
Miami vs North Carolina Pick
My Every Edge Saturday Afternoon NCAA selection is on the Miami Hurricanes at +6.5 or more points.