North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Clemson Tigers Pick 3/2/19
North Carolina Tar Heels (23-5 SU, 17-9-2 ATS) vs. Clemson Tigers (17-11 SU, 12-16 ATS)
When: Saturday, March 2, 2019 – 6 p.m. ET
Where: Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, South Carolina
Point Spread: UNC -4.5 / CLEM +4.5 (MyBookie Sportsbook)
Total: O/U 147.5
Last Time Out: North Carolina beat Syracuse 93-85 / Clemson beat Pittsburgh 62-48
Scouting the Tar Heels:
The Tar Heels are red hot right now as they have now won 4 games in a row. This win streak includes a blowout win at Duke just over a week ago. Granted Duke lost Zion Williamson in the first 30 seconds of that game, the Tar Heels still played a fantastic game and deserved the win. The Tar Heels are now 13-2 in the ACC and are tied for 1st alongside Virginia. The problem is Virginia already beat the Tar Heels head to head, which means North Carolina must win out if they are going to secure at least a share of the regular season ACC title.
Scouting the Tigers:
The Tigers have a 2-game win streak of their own working for them, but now face one of the best teams in the conference and the country. The Tigers are currently sitting squarely on the bubble and are projected to be one of the last four in by ESPN Bracketologist, Joe Lunardi. However, the Tigers cannot get complaisant and must play their best ball to impress the committee further. A win would also move them back to .500 in conference play, giving them a better chance to earn a bye in the opening round of the ACC tournament.
Head to Head:
North Carolina has overall dominated Clemson, as they have won 9 of the last 10 meetings. Their 9-game win streak over the Tigers was finally snapped when Clemson got the better of them in the 2018 meeting.
The battle on the boards. North Carolina is the best rebounding team in the country. While the Tar Heels are averaging 43.4 rebounds per game, Clemson is 25th in the nation at limiting rebounds and allow just 28.3 per game. Just in their last 3 games, the Tar Heels are outrebounding their opponents by an average of 11.3 rebounds, so look for the Tigers to be physical inside the paint to limit the number of second-chance points for North Carolina.
Notable Betting Trends:
When coming off a win, North Carolina plays exceptionally well on the road. This season they are 7-1 both straight up and against the spread in road games after a win. As for Clemson they are 8-1 at home straight up and 5-4 against the spread when coming off a win.
North Carolina will Cover if:
They have another balanced scoring night. The Tar Heels currently have three players who average more than 14 points per game. Cameron Johnson is the leading scorer with 16.7 points per game. Coby White averages 15.9, and Luke Maye averages 14.9. All three of these guys can take over a game at any point, but all three of them need to contribute for the Tar Heels to win. Luke Maye especially will need to have a good game after shooting 2 for 12 against Syracuse and only posting 9 points.
Clemson will Cover if:
They can slow this game down and limit the number of possessions for the Tar Heels. Clemson’s offense is clearly outmatched in this game as their offense efficiency is 1.009 and ranks at 176th in the country. Compared to North Carolina, which has an offensive efficiency of 1.115, which ranks 15th in the country. Not only are the Tigers outmatched in this category, but North Carolina also averages 87.3 points per game compared to Clemson, who averages 69.3 points per game. This game will likely come down to how the Tigers defense plays. If they hold the Tar Heels under 80 points, they will have a shot to pull off the upset. If the Tar Heels can speed up the game and score 80+ again, they will put the Tigers back into the loss column and hurt their chances of making the Big Dance.
Matt’s Pick to Cover the Spread:
Yes, this game is on the road for the Tar Heels, and yes, the Clemson fans will be rocking. However, North Carolina is playing its best basketball as of late and are even starting to look like a legitimate National Championship contender. MyBookie only has the Heels giving up 4 points, and with the success the Tar Heels have had on the road and Littlejohn Coliseum they will manage to win, cover, and keep the pressure on the Virginia Cavaliers for 1st place in the ACC.