On Saturday, a quite capable team in the North Carolina Tarheels (16-6,6-3) pay a visit to the Bank United Center in a high pressure atmosphere. Can the Heels pull off the upset?

The #8 Miami Hurricanes (18-3, 9-0) have stormed out of the gate and never looked back as they continue to dominate the ACC Conference. 

Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 pm ET in Coral Gables, Florida and can be seen on ESPN.

5 Dimes Sportsbook currently lists Miami as a 7.5 point betting odds favorite and the total for the game is 138.

Changing of the Guards

Image previewAlthough Duke is the higher ranked team, Miami has dominated ACC play and currently holds a 2 game lead in the conference. North Carolina is 4th in the conference, 3 games behind, but a victory here would be huge for the Tarheels, who have yet to knock off a legitimate contender. Their biggest win to date was a victory over UNLV, who were in the top 25 at the time. This is the type of victory that the Tarheels need when the NCAA Tournament selection committee gets involved.

Unexpected Contributions

In their last game, Miami breezed pass the Boston College Eagles in front of a sparce crowd of just 5,149 people. Miami’s “Big 3” in Durand Scott, Shane Larkin, and Kenny Kadji all scored in double figures and made their presence felt on the court but reserve, Rion Brown, stole the show.

Brown poured in a game high 22 points on 5 of 7 shooting from 3 point range. Rion Brown duplicating or even having anything close to another performance like this against a stronger North Carolina team is highly unlikely, but we’ll have to see if he brings some momentum in this game in which he’s a part-time player.

As a team, the Hurricanes shot 11 of 22 from 3-point range and come into Saturday’s game with full momentum. The pressure is definitely on North Carolina.

If Statistics Equated to Wins….

If this was the case, the Tarheels would be an easy top 25 team and somewhere  near the top of the ACC Conference.

They rank 7th in the nation in points (79.1), 3rd in rebounds (42.2), and 2nd in assists (18.3). By no means will this be a cakewalk for Miami despite North Carolina’s inability to beat the higher ranked opponents. This should be a close game and 7.5 points are a lot to give to a team like this.

3 Consecutive Wins

The Heels are on a mini winning streak and a big reason for this is the play of leading scorer, James Michael McAdoo. McAdoo is the best player in this game and will only get better as the season moves along.

In his last 4 games, McAdoo has recorded 3 double-digit rebounding efforts along with averaging 18 points per game. This is a player of substantial size that can shoot ,rebound, and play effective defense. Look for this sophomore to play well; North Carolina has some momentum and a win here is an opportunity to move up in every sense of the word.

Miami is 0-5 against North Carolina since joining the ACC.

Outcome

Look for North Carolina to give the Canes a run for their money in this game. McAdoo is playing well and North Carolina has a bit of momentum coming into this game. 7.5 points are too much to give to the Tarheels. Take the points with UNC for your NCAAB picks.

NCAAB Picks: North Carolina +7.5 at 5 Dimes