Tar Heels vs. Blue Devils Predictions 3/5/22
North Carolina Tar Heels (22-8 SU, 14-15-1 ATS) vs. Duke Blue Devils (26-4, 17-11-2 ATS)
When: Saturday, March 5, 6 p.m.
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, N.C.
Point Spread: UNC +11.5/DUKE -11.5 (MyBookie – Get a 100% bonus when you use bonus code PREDICT100)
Moneyline: UNC +475/DUKE -700
Last Time Out:
North Carolina beat Syracuse 88-79 in overtime. Duke routed Pittsburgh 86-56.
About the Matchup:
It’s a Senior Day unlike any other at Cameron because this time, Duke is saying goodbye to a legend. Saturday marks the final time that Mike Krzyzewski will ever coach Duke in the historic gym. Appropriately, his final game at Cameron is against a North Carolina squad that desperately needs a win to make it to the NCAA tournament.
And that makes this game a tough one to peg because the mindsets of both teams will be tough to get a handle on in this situation. We know that Carolina will come in desperate but also eager to spoil a celebration that has been 42 years in the making. On the Duke side of the ledger, will the Blue Devils be ready to set aside distractions in the opening minutes and just play basketball, or will they get so caught up in celebrating their coach that the Tar Heels get the break they need to earn the cover? It’s certainly a dilemma, one that’s worthy of a rivalry that could really use a good second act this year after the first meeting turned out to be one-way traffic.
Scouting the Tar Heels:
ESPN analyst Jay Bilas loves to say that Duke-Carolina always delivers, but the game in Chapel Hill was a total letdown unless you picked the Blue Devils to hammer the Tar Heels. In order for this to be different this time around, Carolina has to do three things differently. First, the Heels have to actually show up on the boards. Carolina didn’t get outrebounded ever under Roy Williams, but in Hubert Davis’ first time as the man in charge against Duke, the Heels got waxed 36-22 in rebounding.
Second, the Heels have to get someone other than Brady Manek to knock something down from distance. Manek got hot and shot 6-for-10 from beyond the arc, but he did most of that after Duke blitzed Carolina in the game’s opening minutes, making all of his shots garbage-time baskets. Plus, the rest of the Heels only shot 3-for-13 from deep, and Armando Bacot only managed 12 points inside. That equation does not work.
Finally, Carolina can’t let Duke shoot 58% from the field. The Blue Devils have the more talented and the deeper roster, and the Heels can’t compound that by letting Duke do whatever it wants from the floor. North Carolina must be better on defense.
Scouting the Blue Devils:
This Duke team doesn’t really need to beat you with 3-pointers the way some past ones did (usually to their detriment; re: 1997 flameout in round 2 vs. Providence and 2014 flameout in round 1 vs. Mercer), because it’s good enough to get the ball inside and smart enough to know that’s where its strengths lie. The Blue Devils get a ton of attention for their two big men of Paolo Banchero and Mark Williams, but small forward AJ Griffin did much of the damage against the Heels in Chapel Hill, hitting 8-for-11 from inside the arc and scoring 27 points.
Duke’s problems this year tend to come from the immaturity of not putting teams away when they have the chance to do it. The Blue Devils have shown signs of getting better in this regard, as they’ve slammed Pitt, Syracuse, and Florida State by 18 or more, but they allowed Boston College to stick with them on a recent trip and famously left Virginia alive long enough for the Cavaliers to beat them at the buzzer. When Duke wants to be, it’s as good as anyone in the nation. But the immaturity issues do show up from time to time, and when they do, it’s a fast way to a backdoor ATS defeat.
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North Carolina will Cover If: The Tar Heels can hold their own on the glass. North Carolina cannot afford to give Duke a second chance after a second chance because the Blue Devils are just too good inside for that. The Heels have to at least fight Duke to a draw inside.
Duke will Cover If: The Blue Devils can weather the storm in the first 10 minutes. The first part of this game is likely to be both the hardest stretch of the game for Duke and the one that dictates how the rest of the game goes. Carolina is likely to come out fired up to ruin Krzyzewski’s retirement part, and Duke is likely to be overzealous because of playing for its coach. The Blue Devils have to avoid the early deficit that could make it tough for them to build the lead up to the number.
Dan’s Best Prop Bets
This is likely to be an up-and-down game between two teams who don’t mind pushing the tempo. This is not Carolina-State, which famously features no defense at all, but the over managed to cash last time, and I think it will do so again here.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
This is going to be a tough one to pick and might be one I wait to live bet so I can see how Duke’s young team reacts to Krzyzewski’s retirement ceremony. My guess is that it takes a few minutes for Duke to get settled down and get its mind on basketball.
When you’re dealing with a double-digit spread, even a slight mental lapse makes it hard to hit. I think that early ceremony will come back to bite Blue Devil backers; give me Carolina and the points. et your UNC/Duke pick and ALL your bets today for FREE by taking advantage of a 100% REAL CASH bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $1000 at Betnow Sportsbook! It’s the best sportsbook bonus you’ll ever find on the web!
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