No. 9 North Carolina (23-9 SU, 17-13-1 ATS) vs. Miami-Florida (22-8 SU, 11-14 ATS)
Date/Time: Thursday, March 8, 2018, at 9:00 PM ET
Where: Barclay’s Center
by Rich Crew, Expert NCAA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UNC -5.5 / MIA +3.5
Over/Under Total: 151
The North Carolina Tar Heels and the Miami Hurricanes will take to the floor of the Barclay’s Center in a neutral site game. The oddsmakers appear to have a consensus line of UNC -5.5 with the total line on the college board at 151.
The Tar Heels are fresh off an impressive 78-59 victory over the Orange last night in their ACC Tournament opener. Offensively the team didn’t have the best shooting day with a 43.9 FG%, but it was sufficient for a defense that held Syracuse to a shockingly low 31.7 FG%. The win put an end to a two-game slide against Duke and Miami and broke off a three-game ATS losing streak with their easy cover. The 137 points scored by the two squads fell short of the 141.5 total line for the second consecutive UNDER game.
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The Hurricanes come into this game rested after playing the Hokies back on March 3rd where they got the narrow 69-68 victory. The win was their four straight after a cold stretch back in the middle of February. The four opponents may not seem all that daunting at first glance, but the four of them have played exceptionally strong down the stretch with VTech even knocking off Duke and Clemson. Miami is a club that is playing with a lot of heart right now.
Tonights neutral site game will be the second meeting between these two teams. In the earlier meeting just back on Feb/27 Miami headed to Chapel Hill and came away with a surprising 91-88 road victory as a double-digit dog. Over the last ten matches, the Hurricanes hold a 6-4 edge straight up and against the spread. This season’s game went well OVER the total line of 151.5, but they had gone 1-4 versus the O/U line in the previous five.
The Tar Heels are the higher scoring team with a scoring offense of 82.8% per game overall and 80.53 in Atlantic Coast Conference games. UNC also is marginally lower on the FG% metric, but hold an advantage in 3-point shooting averaging 8.34 per game on 37% shooting compared to Miamis 7.90 PG on 36.5%. Defensively the Hurricanes have the better scoring defense allowing opponents 67.6 PPG, but the Off vs. Def scoring differential goes to North Carolina with a plus 9.25 point per game average compared to Miami’s positive number of 6.9 PPG.
Some may say that North Carolina was in a bad spot against Miami. They were coming into the game riding a six-game winning streak, were at home against a mediocre opponent with a road game against Duke on deck. Some may also say that the Tar Heels will be playing with revenge tonight in the rematch and that should give them the boost to take over this game and extend the margin. I’m not under either of those opinions. The Hurricanes are playing great ball right now. Their confidence level is at a high, and they proved their mettle with four straight close games winning by a combined eight points.
Rich Crews Pick: Take the Miami Hurricanes +5.5 at a sportsbook that offers -105 lines on college basketball bets! >>> 5Dimes