North Carolina (7-0) at Indiana (4-1)
When: Wednesday, November 30th 2016
Where: Assembly Hall, Bloomington, IN
Time: 9:15 ET | TV: ESPN
The ACC/Big Ten Challenge continues tonight with a top-10 matchup between the North Carolina Tar Heels and Indiana Hoosiers from Bloomington, Indiana. The third-ranked Tar Heels are coming off a championship in the Maui Invitational last week at sit at 7-0 for the first time since 2008-09. Junior guard Joel Berry II leads five players scoring in double figures (17.1) for North Carolina who will get their toughest test Wednesday against the Hoosiers. Berry was the MVP in Maui after totaling 46 points in victories over Oklahoma State and Wisconsin to close out the eight-team tournament. Senior forward Kennedy Meeks averaging 15 points and 11.3 rebounds per game to make the all-tournament team, and is averaging a double-double thus far (13.7, 10.7). Junior swingman Justin Jackson (15.4 points) has also contributed while senior forward Isaiah Hicks (14.6) is shooting 66.2% from the field. Freshman forward Tony Bradley is averaging 10.7 points and shooting a team-best 68.3% from the field.
Indiana has a very deep and experienced roster as well, and already has a resume building win in the books over Kansas. Indiana’s leading scorer James Blackmon Jr. (20.5) suffered a knee injury last week and is questionable after missing Sunday’s win over Mississippi Valley State. The Hoosiers lost to North Carolina in the Eastern Regional final of the NCAA Tournament last season without Blackmon and Robert Johnson. Three other players besides Blackmon are averaging in double figures, led by Johnson (13.8, 60.5%) and sophomore center Thomas Bryant (13.6, 8.2 rebounds). Pittsburgh transfer Josh Newkirk should step up with the absence of Blackmon and is averaging 7.2 points per game, but the guard has hit 7-of-11 from 3-point range. OG Anunoby is averaging 11.8 points and leads the team with seven blocks. The Hoosiers lead the all-time series 8-6, but North Carolina coach Roy Williams is 7-2 against Indiana in his career.
Blackmon has been upgraded to probable for tonight’s game and that’s good news for Indiana. This should be a back-and-forth contest with the final result coming down to the wire. In that case, I’ll take the points and the home team.
Pick: Indiana +3.5