North Carolina vs. NC State Expert Pick and Prediction – January 10, 2024
NORTH CAROLINA VS. NC STATE EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – January 10, 2024 — It’s proving time for N.C. State, which hasn’t yet shown that it’s ready for this level. The Wolfpack have again played their typical soft non-conference schedule, and last year it resulted in them barely scraping into the NCAA tournament.
That’s better than North Carolina a season ago, as the Tar Heels went from national runner-up to missing the field entirely. But the Heels have bounced back this season and are off to an 11-3 start without a bad loss on their record. They’ve pulled off two straight road wins to start their ACC slate, and they’re sitting in a first-place tie at 3-0 in the league.
Of course, they’re in a first-place tie with N.C. State, which comes off a rout of Virginia and badly needs a big win on its resume. With the ACC likely down across the board again, State really only has three options: Duke, Carolina or Miami. The Wolfpack get all three at home, and if they’re going to put together a tournament-worthy resume, they’ll need to start here.
(11-3 SU, 8-6 ATS)
(11-3 SU, 7-7 ATS)
When: Wednesday, January 10 at 8 p.m. EST
Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.
Public Bets: 62% on North Carolina
Public Money: 86% on N.C. State
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of January 9th, 2024.
North Carolina vs. NC State In-Season Trends
There’s one major rule in this rivalry: Carolina doesn’t lose two in a row to State. The Heels haven’t lost two straight to the Wolfpack since 2003, and since then, they’re 36-6 SU against them.
Usually, the Heels put on a show when facing the Wolfpack. In each of their past 12 wins in the series, they’ve scored at least 75 points, and they’ve gone over 80 in 11 of those 12. State usually plays along with the high scoring show, as the Wolfpack have hit 75 or more in 10 of the past 12 matchups between the teams.
They’ve been on a scoring tear at home this season, hitting the over in four of their past five games in Raleigh. Over the course of the season, the Wolfpack haven’t scored fewer than 72 points in their building.
State’s offense is built on volume more than efficiency, and nobody embodies that trend better than D.J. Horne. Horne shoots just 42.6% from the field, and he’s actually better from behind the arc than he is in front of it. The other half of the Wolfpack’s inside-outside combo is forward D.J. Burns, but Burns has a major weakness at the free throw line. He’s the only one of State’s top scorers who shoots better than 43% from the floor, but he evens that out by shooting a weak 58.6% from the stripe.
Carolina isn’t a great shooting team either, but the Tar Heels consistently rebound and are deadly from the stripe. It always makes life easy when your best player is your best free throw shooter, and that’s the case with R.J. Davis. Davis shoots 95.1% from the stripe, which could really come into play given that Carolina ranks seventh in the nation at getting to the foul line.
State’s gotten off to a decent start, but the Wolfpack are in with the big boys now. They haven’t proven that they can handle a team of this caliber, and the Tar Heels have shown that they don’t stay down for long in this rivalry.
Unless the Wolfpack can clean up the foul problems, this is going to go a lot like it usually does. Carolina should be the pick, and it’s likely to be another high-scoring Triangle rivalry game.
North Carolina -4.5