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North Carolina Solid Underdog At Duke In ACC Showdown
College basketball's best rivalry is renewed for the first time this season and the 239th time overall on Wednesday night at what will be a raucous Cameron Indoor Stadium as No. 15 North Carolina visiting No. 4 Duke, with the Blue Devils opening as 7-point favorites on Bovada.
Heels Going Wrong Direction
UNC (18-7, 8-4 ACC is a very good offensive team, leading the nation in assists (17.6 per game), No. 2 in rebounding (43.2 per game) and 17th in scoring (78.7). However, the defense sometimes leaves much to be desired and it's a big reason why the Heels have dropped three of four to see their chances of winning the ACC regular-season title vanish. In Saturday's 89-76 loss at Pittsburgh, the Heels allowed Pitt to shoot 64.9 percent overall, the highest ever allowed under Roy Williams, and 53.3 percent from long range. The Panthers scored the game's first 10 points and never trailed. Six Panthers scored in double figures and Pitt had 30 assists on 37 field goals, the second most the Tar Heels have allowed in school history. UNC star guard Marcus Paige managed just eight points, six below his season average. The junior made just 3 of 11 shots, including 1 of 7 3-pointers.
Williams had a feeling he needed to jump-start his team even before a Feb. 7 victory at Boston College. He shook up the starting lineup, inserting guard Nate Britt and forward Isaiah Hicks for junior forward J.P. Tokoto and sophomore center Kennedy Meeks. It proved to be the right touch against the Eagles. But it provided no lift against the Panthers. The Heels had just four turnovers against the Panthers, which marked the fourth time in ACC play that they’ve been in single digits. However, they have just a 2-2 record in those games because their defense hasn’t held up.
Blue Devils Can Score On Anyone
Duke is one of the nation's best offensive teams, ranking No. 8 in scoring (80.3 points per game) and No. 6 in shooting (49.7 percent). The Blue Devils won at Syracuse 80-72 on Saturday for their fifth straight victory since a close loss at ranked Notre Dame. Duke freshman star Jahlil Okaford had 23 points and 13 rebounds in the win. Okafor logged his 10th game with at least 20 points this season, which ties him for third in program history for 20-point games as a freshman. Okafor is the first player in Duke history to shoot 75 percent or better in 10 games in a single season.
Duke and UNC each won on the other's floor last year. The Blue Devils have won eight of the last 11 meetings in the series (since the start of the 2009-10 season). UNC had won six of seven from 2006-09. Duke has won four of the last five meetings in Durham after Carolina won four in a row over the Blue Devils in Cameron Indoor Stadium from 2006-09. UNC is 4-4 against ranked teams this season (wins over Florida, UCLA, Ohio State and Louisville and losses to Kentucky, Notre Dame, Louisville and Virginia).
Key betting trends: Tar Heels are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Wednesday games. Tar Heels are 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall. Tar Heels are 3-13-1 ATS in their last 17 vs. ACC. Blue Devils are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 Wednesday games. Blue Devils are 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win.
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