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UNC vs. NC State State Expert Pick – February 19, 2023

UNC vs. NC State State Expert Pick - February 19, 2023

UNC VS. NC STATE EXPERT PICK - FEBRUARY 19, 2023 - A year ago, North Carolina shocked everyone with a stunning run to the national championship game, only to fall to a furious second-half comeback against Kansas.

But year two of the Hubert Davis era hasn’t gone smoothly in Chapel Hill. Rather than building on that success, the Tar Heels have gotten stuck, finding themselves in major peril as March creeps closer. Carolina owns 16 wins on the season, but none are Quad 1 victories and only two have come in true road environments.

And now they’ll face a highly motivated rival that’s sick of losing to them.

N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts finally appears to have things going in the right direction after four years of mediocrity and one absolute disaster.

While the Tar Heels made their run to the national title game, the Wolfpack were finishing last in the ACC. But transfers D.J. Burns Jr. and Jarkel Joiner have turned State around, and the Wolfpack should be on the right side of the bubble if they can keep things rolling.

After nine losses to Carolina in 10 tries, including an 11-pointer in Chapel Hill, State needs a win over the Heels in the worst way.



The Odds

Matchup

Open

Spread

Points

Moneyline

North Carolina

(16-10 SU, 8-17-1 ATS)

O152

+1.5

O152

+100

N.C. State

(20-7 SU, 12-13-2 ATS)

-1.5

-1.5

U152

-120

Tipoff

When: Sunday, February 19th at 1:00 pm EST

Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.

TV: ESPN

Public Bets: 64% on N.C. State

Public Money: 81% on N.C. State

Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of February 19th, 2023

North Carolina vs. N.C. State In-Season Trends

State’s home form hasn’t been the greatest in regards to the spread. The Wolfpack do carry a 13-1 record in Raleigh and their only home loss came to ACC leader Pittsburgh, but they let most visitors hang around too long. Over seven league home games, the Wolfpack are just 2-5 ATS, only covering against Duke and Florida State in blowouts.

On the other side of the ledger, Carolina has been simply awful away from home. The Heels have just two road wins on the year, at Syracuse and Louisville. When you consider the spread, it gets even worse. Their only road cover came at Louisville on Jan. 14, and they’ve failed to cover in six of their past eight games, including three failed covers at home.

But something about State brings out the best in Carolina, and it’s probably the Wolfpack’s aversion to defense. Against Kevin Keatts, the Heels have gone 11-2 SU and won by double digits eight times. Additionally, Carolina has scored 80 or more in 11 of 13 against State and has never failed to hit 75 against Kevin Keatts.

The Difference-Makers

It’s easy to see why State lost the matchup in Chapel Hill: Terquavion Smith didn’t shoot well and the rest of the Wolfpack ran into foul trouble.

State’s not that deep of a team and prefers to play Smith, Joiner, and Casey Morsell for 35 minutes or more. But against the Heels, Morsell fouled out and Joiner and Burns both carried four personals, allowing Carolina to shoot 39 foul shots to State’s 12.

Carolina got bailed out by the whistles last time, as Armando Bacot was the only one who really played well. The Heels rely heavily on Bacot to take over games: over their past 10 contests, they’re 4-0 when Bacot’s combined points and rebounds totals 30 or more and 1-5 (Syracuse) when he doesn’t get there.

R.J. Davis has been scoring more of his points from the field over the past three games (averaging six made baskets per game), and Carolina will need more of that here to keep State from focusing solely on Bacot.

The Pick

Eventually, State’s going to figure out how to play against Carolina. I think the whistles won’t be as favorable toward the Heels as they were in Chapel Hill, which should make a difference for the host Wolfpack.

They’re comfortable in front of their crowd, they enjoy playing at a fast pace and they know a win here can deprive Carolina of a resume point it badly needs.

With Carolina struggling to do anything right away from home, I expect State to put on a show. That should mean both points and an N.C. State cover.

Dan's Picks

N.C. State ML (-120)

N.C. State -1.5

Over 152 Points

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Author

  • Dan Angell, Contributor

    Dan is originally from Virginia and has covered basketball games across the country over the past 18 years. He now resides in Indianapolis and loves a good defensive showcase. His Twitter @danangell11.

Author

  • Dan Angell, Contributor

    Dan is originally from Virginia and has covered basketball games across the country over the past 18 years. He now resides in Indianapolis and loves a good defensive showcase. His Twitter @danangell11.

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