UNC travels down the road to rival NC State today looking to stake their claim at the top of the polls after Duke's loss on Wednesday. The Heels survived a tough road test on Wednesday holding off FSU on the road. NC State beat Miami in a thrilling OT home win after two straight ACC losses.
North Carolina 18-2, 4-2, 4-1 (away)
NC State 11-7, 2-4, 10-2 (home)
Keys to the Game:
1. When Hansbrough Gets The Ball...Don't Foul!
The Tar Heels go as Hansbrough goes. Teams have been able to slow the senior this year somewhat by putting their tallest defenders on him. NC State's tallest guys are Brandon Costner and Ben McCauley, but they stand just an inch taller than Hansbrough at 6'9". One must for State is not to foul Hansbrough because he ranks number one in the ACC for FT made and FT attempted averaging eight points per game from the line.
NC State likes to slow the game down and play half court offense. North Carolina can't run fast enough for Roy Williams. The Heels are averaging 92 points per game to the Wolfpack's 71. If this game gets into the 80s then I favor North Carolina. If it is in the 60s I favor NC State.
3. Offensive Glass
UNC averages 15 rebounds per game on the offensive side of the ball and its not because they shoot poorly because they are hitting 49 percent from the field this season. McCauley, Costner, and Co. have to keep guys like Hansbrough and Deon Thompson off the boards. NC State already has enough to overcome with talent and depth against UNC. They cannot afford to give UNC more than 10 second chances offensively.
Stats to Watch:
Tyler Hansbrough FT attempts
North Carolina Offensive Rebounds
NC State Turnovers
North Carolina has won nine of the last 10 in the series and has dominated since the 1980s. It would have to be a calamity of errors from UNC and excellent shooting from State for the Wolfpack to pull of this upset.
North Carolina wins by 12-18 points
Other ACC Games This Weekend:
Boston College over Virginia Tech
Tough game to figure out here. BC has been on a mini hot streak as of late while Virginia Tech is coming off a home loss to Clemson. The Hokies have been great against the top teams and average against the middle teams under Greenberg. I’ll take BC at home.
Miami over Maryland
A game pitting two teams that are suffering through losing streaks as of late in Miami and Maryland. The pressure is starting to mount against Gary Williams in College Park. I’ll take Miami in a close road win.
Duke over Virginia
The Blue Devils cannot be happy about losing their first game as No. 1 on Wednesday. I don’t think UVA has a chance.
Season: 9-9 SU through 1/30