Duke (19-4, 7-3) at North Carolina (17-7, 6-5)
When: Thursday, February 8th 2018
Where: Dean Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: North Carolina -1.5/166
The best rivalry in College Basketball resumes on Thursday night as the Duke Blue Devils meet the North Carolina Tar Heels for the 246th time, and both teams are hoping to break out of funks as we approach March. No. 8 Duke has dropped two of its last three contests, including a shocking 81-77 defeat at St. John’s last Saturday, while the 22nd-ranked Tar Heels ended a three-game losing streak Saturday by beating last-place Pittsburgh. The Blue Devils have struggled holding onto the ball with 15.3 turnovers over the last three games and the defense has been an issue all season while allowing 72.4 points per game (ninth in the ACC). Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters that, “those are the two areas that we have to get better at, and if we’re not, then we’re just going to be a good team”. North Carolina suffered through a three-game losing streak for the first time in four years with losses to Virginia Tech, North Carolina State and Clemson, but shot 51.4% from the field in the convincing win over lowly Pitt. The Blue Devils won two of the three meetings last season including a 10-point win in the ACC Tournament, and is 6-2 over the last eight against the Tar Heels.
The Blue Devils committed 18 turnovers in the loss to the Red Storm, and gave up a seven-point halftime lead in the process to a team that had yet to win a Big East game at the time. Of course, the Red Storm just handed No. 1 Villanova their second loss last night. Gary Trent Jr. scored 22 for the second straight game and is averaging 15.0 on the season – second behind fellow freshman Marvin Bagley III (21.4 points, 11.2 rebound), who has 17 double-doubles this year, but none in the last two. Senior guard Grayson Allen looks to rebound after going 1-for-7 from the field and managing just seven points against St. John’s – fewer than half his season average.
Junior forward Luke Maye rebounded with 36 points against Pitt after managing just four in the loss to Clemson on January 30th. Maye leads North Carolina at 18.3 points and senior guard Joel Berry II (17.3) is next while Pitt transfer Cameron Johnson has contributed 19.3 per game over the last three to push his season average to 12.8. Senior Theo Pinson (8.8 points, team-high 4.4 assists) was limited to two minutes against Clemson due to a shoulder injury, but returned the next game on Saturday and had 13 rebounds to go along with eight assists. Junior guard Kenny Williams scored 15 against Pitt after totaling 19 in the previous four games combined.
Both of these teams have been really inconsistent this season and both have a lot of improving to do if they want to make a deep run in March. The Tar Heels are 8-3 against the spread at home this season and the visiting team lost both matchups last season.
Pick: North Carolina +1.5
- Blue Devils are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up loss.
- Blue Devils are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS loss.
- Blue Devils are 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Blue Devils are 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Blue Devils are 10-3-1 ATS in their last 14 road games.
- Blue Devils are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. Atlantic Coast.
- Tar Heels are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
- Tar Heels are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Tar Heels are 35-15-2 ATS in their last 52 home games.
- Tar Heels are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Tar Heels are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win.
- Over is 4-1-1 in Blue Devils last 6 Thursday games.
- Over is 17-5 in Blue Devils last 22 road games.
- Over is 16-5 in Blue Devils last 21 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Over is 16-5 in Blue Devils last 21 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Over is 22-8-1 in Blue Devils last 31 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Over is 20-8 in Blue Devils last 28 overall.
- Under is 5-2 in Blue Devils last 7 vs. Atlantic Coast.
- Over is 5-2-1 in Blue Devils last 8 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Over is 5-1 in Tar Heels last 6 overall.
- Over is 5-1 in Tar Heels last 6 vs. Atlantic Coast.
- Over is 17-5 in Tar Heels last 22 home games.
- Under is 13-5 in Tar Heels last 18 games following a ATS win.
- Under is 15-6 in Tar Heels last 21 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
- Over is 5-2-1 in Tar Heels last 8 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Under is 9-4-1 in Tar Heels last 14 Thursday games.
- Blue Devils are 3-0-1 ATS in the last 4 meetings in North Carolina.
- Blue Devils are 4-1-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings.
- Over is 5-2-1 in the last 8 meetings.
- Underdog is 7-3-1 ATS in the last 11 meetings.
- Road team is 19-7-1 ATS in the last 27 meetings.