College Basketball on Sunday night and wee will see the Wake Forest Demon Deacons play host to the 19th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels in the ACC opener for each side. The game has a start time of 8:00 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on ESPN U. Current odds have North Carolina listed as 6 point favorites, while the total sits at 144.
Analysis: The Tar Heels are off to a solid 10-3 start, with 3 of their wins coming vs Louisville (93-84), Michigan State (79-65) and Kentucky (82-77). Very impressive, however, the Heels looked less than mediocre during losses to Belmont at home and UAB on the road. The Tar Heels have been impressive a both ends of the floor this year, as it shoots 47.4% from the field for 80.1 ppg, while allowing just 68.5 ppg on 37.9% shooting. Marcus Paige has been outstanding this year, scoring 18.4 ppg, while sporting hitting 64-of-69 from the charity stripe, while James Michael McAdoo (14.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg), Brice Johnson (11.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and J.P. Tokoto (10.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg) are all important factors down low. Leslie McDonald (12.3 ppg) has also been a factor in his four games since returning from suspension.
Wake Forest (10-3) has been impressive in its own right this season, especially at LJVM Coliseum, where it has gone unbeaten in nine outings. Codi Miller-McIntyre (17 points) is the leading scorer while fellow sophomore Devin Thomas (11.5 points, 9.3 rebounds) has played well despite battling foul trouble repeatedly. For the year Wake Forest averages 75.6 ppg (for a +8.7 scoring margin) on 45% efficiency from the field, while also proving to be an outstanding rebounding club, grabbing 42.8 per game for a +7.3 margin. Despite the solid offensive numbers the Deacons have set a season low for points scored in each of their last two games - 59 against UNC Greensboro on Dec. 21, then 53 in a 15-point loss to Xavier one week later.
Pick: I will be taking the Heels in this one. Wake is off to a good start this year, but they have scored a total of 112 points in their last 2 games and have faced just 3 marquee teams this year (Kansas, Tennessee and Xavier) and all three games were losses, with each loss being by 9 points or more. The Heels are playing very good right now and already have wins over Louisville, Michigan State and Kentucky on the resume, plus getting back McDonald has really given this team a boost. Carolina is the better squad here and should have little problems in winning this one by 10+ points.
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