Purdue vs. UNC Odds & Predictions 11/20/21
When: Saturday, November 20, 4 p.m.
Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn.
TV: ESPN News
Point Spread: PUR -6/UNC +6 (MyBookie - Get a 100% real cash bonus on your first deposit there when you use promo code PREDICT100)
Moneyline: PUR Off/UNC Off
Last Time Out:
Purdue routed Wright State 96-52; North Carolina beat Charleston 94-83.
About the Matchup:
It’s baptism by fire time for Hubert Davis, as North Carolina faces what might be the best opponent on its schedule, Duke included. The Tar Heels have played three warm-up games to this point, and while they’ve looked great on offense, they have not played well on the defensive end of the floor.
On the other hand, Purdue has looked excellent at both ends of the court so far, which has the Boilermakers thinking they could be a Final Four team. Purdue has looked like a team with something to prove so far, as the Boilers lost to North Texas in the first round of last year’s NCAA tournament and had to watch while the tournament went on in their home state without them. Beating the Tar Heels would go a long way toward making their case.
Scouting the Tar Heels:
North Carolina has always been great at getting extra possessions, but this year, the Heels are trying to do it with their shooting as opposed to their rebounding. Instead of a rebound-heavy squad as they were under Roy Williams, the Tar Heels have made their living on running the court and taking good shots.
The strategy has worked to some extent, as North Carolina has scored 90 points per game on the season. But the Tar Heels have zero covers because they have played virtually no defense. Despite playing a schedule of Loyola-Maryland, Brown, and Charleston, the Heels give up 79 points per game and usually haven’t come close to getting a cover. In order to start covering these numbers, the Heels have to get more consistent shooting and actually get out and deny opponents decent looks at the basket. Allowing lesser teams to hang around isn’t great, but allowing them to score at this clip is alarming. If the Heels can bring the opposing field goal percentage to an acceptable number, they have a chance for the win.
Scouting the Boilermakers:
Unlike North Carolina, which still appears to be figuring things out on defense, Purdue looks legitimate at both ends of the court. The Boilers haven’t scored less than 92 points in a game this season, and with the Heels still struggling to defend anyone, this could be a time where Purdue’s shooting and experience come into play.
Stopping Zach Edey from taking over the game represents a nightmarish situation for any defense, as Edey can both score and rebound and has yet to find anyone who can keep him from doing both on a consistent basis. Purdue ranks 11th in the nation in rebounding and has held opponents to a mere 22.7 rebounds per game, which says that the Boilers are both shooting the ball well and keeping opponents from getting the ball when they do miss. So far, if there is a weakness, it’s not making itself apparent.
North Carolina will Cover If:
Armando Bacot can hold his own inside. Bacot has been more of a defensive-type player than Edey by a wide margin, but in this game, he’s either going to need to slow Edey down or become a bigger threat himself. The one thing he can’t do is allow Edey to dominate in the paint.
Purdue will Cover If:
The Boilers can hit their shots early and avoid falling into a funk in the first few minutes. Purdue didn’t even shoot all that well against Wright State, but the Boilers were just so much better than their opponents that it didn’t even matter. That won’t happen here, so avoiding the early problems is key to winning this game.
Dan’s Best Prop Bets
Even though it’s a high number, the over seems all but inevitable. North Carolina doesn’t play defense well at all this year, and Purdue is able to run and is more than willing to do so. Points should come fast and furious here.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
This spread is a little bit surprising, given that Carolina has a first-year coach and has yet to prove a thing. But the teams were both coming off first-round flameouts, so it’s a bit understandable that expectations were lowered a bit for both sides at first. But Purdue has shown it can handle the pressure in a big way, and it looks to be stronger in this situation.
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