9 p.m. ET – Notre Dame vs. North Carolina (-6½) O/U: 151
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Notre Dame||+6½ (-105)||+235||O 151 (-110)|
|North Carolina||-6½ (-115)||-290||U 151 (-110)|
The 11-14 Fighting Irish, seeded 11th, take on the 16-9 Tar Heels, the No. 6 seed, on Wednesday night in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Notre Dame advanced past the first round on a deep Trey Wertz 3-pointer at the buzzer that capped a 17-2 run to close the game and squeak out a dramatic first-round win over No. 14 seed Wake Forest. North Carolina capped off its regular season on Saturday with a 91-73 win over in-state rival Duke. These two teams met back on Jan. 2 in Chapel Hill when the Tar Heels squeaked out a 66-65 win over the Irish in the final seconds.
Guard Prentiss Hubb leads the Fighting Irish with 14.6 points per game this season. Hubb had 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field in the first matchup against North Carolina. Hubb is one of five players averaging in double figures, and one of six averaging 8.6 points or more. So while he truly is the Hubb of the offense, he doesn’t have to go it alone.
Armando Bacot leads the Tar Heels in scoring with a modest 11.7 points per game average. Bacot was held to four points in the previous matchup on 1-of-7 shooting from the field. While Bacot struggled, forward Day’Ron Sharpe led the team with 25 points on 9-of-19 shooting from the floor. And that’s just it with the Heels.
This year there has been no dominant star. The scoring has been done more by committee, with one player hot one night and another the next. The good news is that the team chemistry and offensive effectiveness have seemed to improve as the season has progressed, offering evidence that UNC may be peaking at precisely the right time.
A spread of six points can be covered with free throws, especially with this likely being the final game of the season for the Irish, assuming they do not advance to the ACC quarterfinals with an unlikely upset. UNC is much more likely to be winning by double digits heading down the stretch, or to at least be leading by enough that Notre Dame will be forced to foul and send the Heels to the free-throw line toward the end with ample opportunities to stretch their lead out. Either way, take North Carolina to easily cover the short spread.
*Odds courtesy of MyBookie