The battle for the state of North Carolina will have big NCAA Tournament implications on Sunday when the North Carolina Tar Heels travel to Raleigh to face the NC State Wolfpack in a game where both teams can afford a boost to their resumes.
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. NC State Wolfpack (-2, 152)
While the Tar Heels have history on their side, it is NC State who has the better record, with more points scored and fewer points allowed both per game and per possession entering Sunday.
Things have gone wrong beyond the arc for the Tar Heels, shooting just 30.8% from 3-point range as a squad, good for 328th in the nation. When on the road, that percentage drops to 29.7%.
When these teams last faced each other in January, North Carolina walked away with an 80-69 win at home thanks to its efficiency at the free-throw line, making 36-of-39 shots and taking 27 more free throws than NC State.
The free throw discrepancy should even out this time around for the Wolfpack, having allowed just 15.6 free throw attempts per game in December. In that same five-game span in February, they’ve allowed 66 points or fewer four times.
The Wolfpack rank seventh in the nation in fewest turnovers per possession on offense and although they don’t generate a ton of turnovers, they’ve averaged 3.6 turnovers fewer than their opponents.
North Carolina enters Sunday having lost four of its last five games and must now face an in-state rival that wants revenge and has been more efficient on both offense and defense lately. This season is not the recipe to cure the Tar Heels’ woes or help against the spread record that is currently 8-16-2.
The Play: NC State -2
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