After a devastating 1 point loss to Kentucky on Saturday, the North Carolina Tarheels (6-2) return to Chapel Hill and look to take their frustration out on the Evansville Aces (3-3). Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET at the Dean E. Smith Center in, Chapel Hill North Carolina.
NCAA basketball odds have North Carolina as a 25.5 point favorite and the total
is listed at 152.
Can Evansville make this game interesting or will the Heels rip apart an inferior opponent after a tough beat? Lets take a more in-depth look at this matchup and decide on which NCAA Basketball picks have the best chance of cashing for us tonight.
If you asked me or anyone else where the UNC Tarheels
would be after 8 games, nobody would've guessed
that they would have 2 losses on their record. North Carolina was been upset by
the UNLV Rebels and were defeated by the number 1 team in the land, the
Kentucky Wildcats, 73-72 in their most recent game.
The Kentucky loss hurts much more because these are two teams that were the two
favorites to win the NCAA Championship
. Kentcuky is filled with a bunch of
freshman and inexperienced players while North Carolina is made up of mostly
juniors and seniors. Experience should give the Heels the edge
but thus far,
youth has won out. The pressure is now on the backs of the Tarheels.
How do the Tarheels heal their bruised ego? They get a major underdog in
Evansville coming into their house and they should blow the Aces out of the
Hairston has heart
Hairston injured his wrist in attempt to brace himself in a fall against
Wisconsin and North Carolina and Hairston both stated that he wouldn't play
against Kentucky. The rookie sharpshooter played limited minutes (14 minutes)
but proved that he has intestinal fortitude by shooting 3 of 4 from the field
and 3 of 4 from 3 point range for 11 points. If Hairston was able to play
longer, North Carolina most likely would've defeated Kentcuky. I don't expect Hairston to put in many minutes in this game as Coach Roy Williams will use his star rookie guard sparingly against an inferior
team in Evansville.
Look for sophomore guard Kendall Marshall to run the show and create opportunities for the Tarheels' bigmen, getting them involved early and possibly running away with this game in the opening half. Marshall averages 10 assists per game and he'll come
into this game with a "pass first" mentality.
Crashing the boards
Rebounding will play a big role in this game and it's something that
double-double man John Henson excels at. The Aces are a poor rebounding team, and North Carolina should have an easy time of gaining control of the boards and
getting second chances. On the season, John Henson averages 10.5 rebounds per
game while his team is ranked 16th in the nation.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Evansville Aces are totally outclassed
in this category, ranking 314th in the nation in rebounding. Evansville will
have to gain position and make some type of attempt in grabbing possession or
this will be a major blowout.
Don't underestimate us!
Yes, it's true that Evansville doesn't play the level of competition to that of
North Carolina and they're just .500 on the season but they've been victorious
against the likes of Butler and TCU, both in overtime ,and we all know where Butler
has been the last two seasons. The Aces also average 73 points per game and
haven't allowed a team over 77 points this season. It will be tough to face a
team like UNC, but maybe the Aces caught the Tarheels at a vulnerable time, as they are coming off of a loss.
Ace in the hole
The Evansville Aces have many viable options in guard/forward senior Kenneth
Harris (13 points, 6 rebounds, 54.5 % field goal shooting) and guard Ned Cox
(10.5 points, 2.8 assists, and 1.3 steals) but the main ace up their sleeve is
guard/forward junior Colt Ryan.
Quantity over quality
Colt Ryan isn't the most accurate shooter, at just 41.3%, but there are a lot of
other facets to his game that he bring's to the table and is the leader on this
team. Ryan can score, rebound, pass, shoot an occasional three pointer and get
to the free throw line. In his last game in an overtime victory over TCU, Ryan
poured in 31 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals on 14 of 16 from the free throw
line. On the season, Ryan averages 19.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and
2.3 steals per game. Look for Colt Ryan to play well against North Carolina at
Outcome of the game
North Carolina will be looking to demolish the Evansville Aces after the
heartbreaking loss suffered at the hands of Kentucky. North Carolina is clearly
the better team here and playing at home, but I don't think that they're fully
running on all cylinders yet. Take Evansville and the points.