North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. North Carolina Tarheels Preview and Pick

North Carolina State Wolfpack (14-9) +20 at No. 3 North Carolina Tarheels (23-2) -20 Dean Dome, Chapel Hill, N.C., 8:00PM Eastern, Wednesday
By Jay Horne of

The No. 3 ranked North Carolina Tarheels will host inner-state rival North Carolina State in college hoops actions at the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill on Wednesday night. This rivalry game previously was more back and forth than what it has become in the Roy Williams era at North Carolina. These two schools have battled for countless ACC Titles, but Roy Williams is a strong 16-1 against the Wolfpack in his tenure as coach in Chapel Hill. North Carolina will be trying to avoid an upset as they contend with Oklahoma for the nations number one ranking this week considering Connecticut was beaten on Monday night. North Carolina State on the other hand will be trying to pull of the big upset similar to when they defeated Wake Forest when they were also ranked inside the top 10.

North Carolina State has been struggling since starting conference play with a dismal 4-6 record in the ACC. The Wolfpack are sporting a 73.6 scoring average on the year in one of the higher scoring conferences in America. North Carolina State started the season strong winning 7 of their first 8 games and have been mere possession away from knocking off some really quality teams. The Wolfpack have shot fairly well from the field knocking down 47% field goal percentage as a team. However, it will be the Wolfpack defense that will need to play solid against one of the best offenses in the country on Wednesday night.

North Carolina will get the luxury of hosting this rematch in Chapel Hill. The Tarheels defeated North Carolina State 93-76 back in late January and they will be looking to do the same on Wednesday. In the previous match-up, Tyler Hansbrough lead the way for the Tarheels posting a 31 point performance and North Carolina State must contain Hansbrough as he is one of the most dangerous players to ever take the court in the ACC. The Tarheels sport the countrys 2nd best scoring offense that is averaging 92 points per game and also lead the country in rebounding with 42.7 boards every outing. Safe to say that North Carolina on paper is the best team in the land, but they are also the deepest team in the country as well as they have 6 players averaging double figures.

The initial betting line is favoring the No. 3 North Carolina Tarheels by 20 points even over the North Carolina State which is more than the 17 points they beat the Wolfpack by in January. The over/under for the contest has been set at 159 due to the Tarheels extremely high scoring potential

The Wolfpack have 3 key players that they will turn to in attempt to carry on the upset. Brandon Costner has been the most solid performer for North Carolina State this season with 15 points and 6 rebounds per game. Ben McCauley has also been a big force with 13 points and 8 rebounds while senior Courtney Fells is also posting 12 point per game. McCauley and Costner will need to come up big on the board considering how North Carolina has dominated nearly everyone this season in rebounds. However, if the Wolfpack can knock down some shots and keep the Tarheels off the glass then perhaps they can keep it closer than the experts predict.

North Carolina is lead by senior Tyler Hansbrough who is averaging 21 points per outing. Hansbrough sits in 2nd place in the ACC all-time scoring list with the opportunity to still break JJ. Redicks record. Wayne Ellington has been a big performer for the Tarheels down the latter part of the year posting 15 points per game. Ellington will share the backcourt with an equally dangerous threat Ty Lawson. Lawson has scored 20 or more points in 4 of his last 6 games and will likely be ready to put together another big performance on Wednesday.

Betting Trends
North Carolina State is 5-2-1 ATS on the road this season. North Carolina only sports a 5-8 record ATS at home this season. However, the Tarheels have won the last 10 games SU against North Carolina State while going 7-3 ATS in that stretch as well.

Jays Pick – Tarheels have the explosiveness to win really big, but I will go against them and say NC State keeps it within the points possibly making it close. Take NCSU +20.