North Carolina vs. Notre Dame Pick 2/17/20
North Carolina Tar Heels (10-15 SU, 9-16 ATS) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (15-10 SU, 13-10-2 ATS)
When: Monday, February 17, 7 p.m.
Where: Purcell Pavilion, South Bend, Ind.
Point Spread: UNC +4/ND -4 (Cheapest Basketball Lines -105!)
Total: O/U 147.5
Last Time Out:
North Carolina lost 64-62 to Virginia; Notre Dame got routed 94-60 by Duke.
Scouting the Tar Heels:
Say this for Roy Williams and the Heels: they haven’t thrown in the towel on what has been a miserable season in Chapel Hill, even though they have no hope at finishing above .500 in the ACC and have to run the table just to be eligible for the NIT. Carolina is doing an excellent job staying in just about every game it plays. Still, the Heels haven’t been able to close the deal, losing in overtime three times and falling to Boston College, Florida State, and Virginia by a combined nine points.
The Heels lost a heartbreaker to Virginia less than 48 hours ago, but they did get excellent production out of Garrison Brooks in the defeat, as he scored 20 points and shot 64 percent from the field. Unfortunately, Brooks hasn’t really been one for consistency. Over the past five games, he’s hit double figures three times, but he’s followed each one up with a single-digit game, mirroring his team’s inconsistency. When Brooks has played well during this stretch, the Heels have lost by two or less each time. When he didn’t, the Heels struggled to score at Florida State and got ripped at Wake Forest. Cole Anthony receives the most attention, but Brooks is the one who needs to perform for the Heels to succeed.
Scouting the Fighting Irish:
Notre Dame was working its way back into contention for not having to play on Tuesday in the ACC tournament and possibly earning an NIT bid, but consecutive losses to Virginia and Duke have shoved that to the back burner. Now the Irish simply need to get some positive momentum going after getting drilled at Cameron, and what they need to do is get T.J. Gibbs back on track. Gibbs has scored just six points in the Irish’s past two games, and he’s been on the court for 68 of 80 minutes in those games. Notre Dame isn’t going to be beating much of anyone without getting real production out of Gibbs, as he’s proven to be one of the Irish’s best scorers throughout a difficult season. When Gibbs gets held to single digits, the Irish are 1-4, and the one win was over Howard, which is 2-24 and has beaten exactly one Division I team all season. Put simply, to beat anyone worth anything, Notre Dame needs to have Gibbs scoring.
Approach. This game means nothing literally to North Carolina. The Tar Heels know that their season will come down to the ACC tournament, where they must win five games in five days or end their season because they still have to go to both Duke and Louisville. If they lose both, they’d need to reach the ACC title game to even be eligible for the NIT, and at that point, they might as well win the thing. So it’s anyone’s guess as to how Carolina is going to treat this game because this game and the remaining five are all about preparing for the ACC tournament. Not so for Notre Dame, which could play its way into the NIT over the remaining six games, which would be a substantial accomplishment for the Irish. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of approach the Irish take against a team that’s going to be experimenting from the opening minute.
North Carolina will Cover if:
The Tar Heels can play tough defense the way they did in the first meeting between these teams. North Carolina really hasn’t been all that great on defense this season, which is why the Heels have been finding ways to lose each week. But Carolina has the potential to put together a solid performance on defense, which it did against Virginia and Florida State. If the Heels can play solid defense, they’re going to be in good shape.
Notre Dame Will Cover if:
The Irish can get a big game out of John Mooney. North Carolina might be having a wretched season, but the one thing that the Heels do better than anyone is controlling the glass. Mooney, however, has become the best rebounder in the ACC, ripping down nearly 13 boards per game. In the teams’ first meeting in Chapel Hill, Mooney got held to eight rebounds, and the Irish got crushed on the boards, a large part of why the Heels won that opening game. Mooney has to get the job done for Notre Dame to get a win.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread:
Carolina’s been showing a pulse as of late, but the Heels are also in a completely different situation than most teams would be at this point. Plus, they’ve thrown in a bit of a knack for inconsistency on the road as of late. The Heels have been playing teams tough, but other than a trip to Tallahassee, where Florida State might not have been taking Carolina all that seriously, they’ve really struggled away from the Smith Center. Meanwhile, Notre Dame had been showing real signs of life prior to getting blown out by Duke, and I think the Irish will be anxious to even the score from the first game with the Heels.
The change in mindset with Carolina gives me reason to pause, and the line is small enough that I’m going to go with Notre Dame here. As for the total, I’m going to go with the over, because unless Virginia is the opponent, neither of these teams are all that great on the defensive side of the ball. Given that both teams gave up more than 90 points to Duke, I think 74 points each is a reasonable expectation. Bet tonight’s college basketball games for FREE by taking advantage of a 100% REAL CASH bonus where you deposit anywhere from $100 to $300 and get matched with the same amount in free bets! This is a limited time (unique only to Predictem readers) offer at one of the biggest and best bookmakers on the web –> MyBookie! Must sign up through this link and use promo code PREDICT100.
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