Miami Hurricanes at North Carolina Tar Heels – NCAAM February 8

Miami (7-11, 3-10) at North Carolina (12-6, 7-4)

  • Time: 4PM PST | 6PM CST | 7PM EST
  • Location: Dean Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
  • TV: ESPN

Tip-Off

The Tar Heels and Hurricanes meet as two teams going in different directions. The Hurricanes have lost five out of their last six by an average of 15.8 points as the limited roster size due to the ongoing injury situation has taken them out of an upper division ACC team.

The Tar Heels are fresh off Saturday night’s win over Duke and have to refocus in time for this match up some 48 hours later. Carolina has won four out of five and seven out of nine in ACC play.

Vs. The Spread

Miami:

  • The Hurricanes are 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games
  • The ‘Canes have seen the total go UNDER in 4 of their last 6 games
  • Miami and UNC have fashioned the OVER in 4 of the last 5 games in Chapel Hill

North Carolina:

  • The Tar Heels are 5-10 ATS in their last 15 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of the last 7 Tar Heels’ games
  • UNC is 8-0 SU in their last 8 home games

Last Time Out

Miami dropped a heartbreaker, 80-76, to Virginia Tech in Coral Gables on Saturday. The Hurricanes battled up-hill all afternoon before Isaiah Wong hit a triple to give ‘The U’ a 74-71 lead with two seconds remaining in overtime. Virginia Tech’s Hunter Catoor tied the game and sent it to overtime with one second remaining. VT outscored the ‘Canes 6-2 in the OT for the win.

Carolina’s Caleb Love scored a season-high 25 points as the Tar Heels shaded Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium, 91-87. North Carolina shot 53 percent from the floor and made 10-of-15 threes and this was the first time since 1960 that the Tar Heels and Blue Devils played and nether team was ranked.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Miami +9.5 (-110) +385 O 141 (-115)
North Carolina -9.5 (-110) -475 U 141 (-105)

Advantage, Miami

Isaiah Wong has proven to be one of the most dynamic scorers in the nation and he has had to be with the injury attrition that Jim Larrañaga’s squad has suffered through again this season. Wong averages 17.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game and needs to get on a scoring roll this evening where he is dominating the game with his playmaking and shot making. Manufacturing offense has been a chore for the Hurricanes with such a limited roster as they have shot only 49 percent or more in four of their 18 games.

Key Hurricanes’ Stat:

Carolina turns the ball over (15.1 tpg.) and the Heels are generally not a three-point threat (32.4% -3). Miami’s ability to pressure in the half-court with longer and more experienced athletes could help them to force the Tar Heels into some turnovers which could allow for easy baskets.

X-Factor:

Getting Kam McGusty back and into a rhythm and flow beside of Wong pick up the offense as he has averaged 13.8 points while dishing 13 assists in his six games since his return. Anything Miami can get from their Nysier Brooks (6.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Anthony Walker (7.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg) on the inside is a plus as neither has proven to be a consistent scorer that can help the guards off the dribble.

Advantage, North Carolina

Roy Williams’ teams are always a fixture on the glass and with big men Day’Ron Sharpe (7.8 rpg), Armando Bacot (7.4 rpg) and Garrison Brooks (7.1 rpg) leading the way, Miami will have major problems keeping up with the Heels who outrebound their opponents by 11 per game. Carolina is averaging 14 points per game off the offensive glass in their last five. Pounding the paint and feeding Bacot, Brooks, and Sharpe vs. Nysier Brooks and Anthony Walker will be the first order of business.

Key Tar Heels’ Stat:

North Carolina’s opponents find the three-ball and shoot it at a 36.3 percent clip and are at an alarming 38.3 percent inside the ACC. Miami has only made 78 threes and shot 31.5 percent on the season as the ‘Canes made only 6-of-20 on Saturday against Virginia Tech after combining for 16-of-29 vs. Duke and Wake Forest.

X-Factor:

Carolina would like to see Caleb Love bottle his 25 points in 31 minutes on Saturday and use this with consistency throughout the rest of the season. The Tar Heels’ perimeter struggles to hit the three and there are still too many turnovers as Love has 61 of the team’s paltry 271. Kerwin Walton has been the most productive guard in making 32-of-70 triples, but he rarely gets to the line which is something UNC needs to get with more consistency out of it’s guards.

Winner: North Carolina (-9.5) 79, Miami 67
Over-Under: Take OVER 141

The Bets
North Carolina Tar Heels -9.5
-110
OVER 141
-115
Sub Categories:
Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.