Date and Time: Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 9:00 PM EST on ESPN

Game Line: Duke -2.5 Game Total (Over/Under): 151.5 (from JustBet)

Wednesday NCAABB analysis: College basketballs most storied rivalry takes center stage on Wednesday night as the North Carolina Tar Heels host the #8 ranked Duke Blue Devils.

The Duke Blue Devils have been playing some great basketball since their upset loss to Clemson back on January 11th. The Blue Devils have since won 7 of their last 8 games with the only loss being a narrow 2 point loss a top ranked Syracuse. Freshman forward Jabari Parker leads the team in scoring and rebounding averaging 19.2 ppg and 8.5 rpg, As a team Duke is averaging 82.2 ppg and is shooting 47.5% from the field this season. They are tops in the nation in 3 point shooting, hitting a 42% of the 3 point attempts. They are one of the worst teams in the conference in rebounding, averaging only 35 rpg. They are actually one of the worst defensive teams in the ACC, allowing opponents to shoot 54.1% from the field and allowing 67.4 ppg.

The North Carolina Tar Heels are also playing some great basketball since January 11th. The Tar Heels had a rough start in ACC play, losing their first 3 conference games. Since then they have won 6 out of their last 7 games, with their only loss at Virginia. The Tar Heels get a balanced effort from all 5 starters with guard Marcus Paige (17 ppg) and forward James Michael McAdoo (15 ppg 6.8 rpg). The Tar Heels are scoring 75.8 ppg and are one of the top teams in the country on the glass averaging 41.1 rebounds per contest. Defensively they are limiting opponents to 39.5% shooting from the field, and are allowing 67.5 ppg. The Tar Heels have quite a few impressive wins on their resume with wins over Michigan State, Louisville, and Kentucky.

Rivalry games are hard to analyze because records go out the window. I’m backing the home underdog North Carolina Tar Heels on Wednesday night. The Tar Heels are the better team on the glass, and the fact that they defend the perimeter well should be a factor against Duke shooting the three. If this becomes a physical game, which it very well could being a rivalry game, the advantage goes to the Tar Heels as they have the size advantage and are the deeper team. I look for a big game from North Carolina’s Marcus Paige, who has really stepped in in high profile games this season. Jabari Parker has been on a tear as of late, but the atmosphere may be too much for the freshman to handle. Roy Williams might very well devise a game plan to limit him offensively. The Tar Heels haven’t forgotten that Duke swept the season series last year, and behind a raucous crowd on Wednesday night, I think they get the win.

Duke Blue Devils vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Free NCAABB pick: North Carolina +2 Over 151.5

Duke Blue Devils vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Game Prediction: North Carolina 78 Duke 75

 

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