The Tar Heels are young, but they’re gaining experience which is scary coming into the January 26th North Carolina at Pittsburgh pick. UNC got over 50 points from freshman in their win over NC State on Saturday, the 5th victory for the ‘Heels in the last six games.
Pitt is a +3.5 home underdog on Tuesday night, suffering a 1-point loss to a bad Wake Forest team in their last tilt which snapped a 3-game win streak. The Panthers are tough at home (5-2) and face a North Carolina team that is just 1-4 on the road this season. Is the wrong team favored here?
UNC Riding a Youth Movement
North Carolina might be lacking the overall star power that they have had in recent years, with Armando Bacot leading the team in scoring with just 12.0 ppg. Four other Tar Heels chip in at least 9 ppg however, helping North Carolina climb to 5th in the ACC in scoring.
The Tar Heels are finding a nice rotation heading into the January 26th North Carolina at Pittsburgh pick however. Day’Ron Sharp, Caleb Love, Anthony Harris, and RJ Davis all hit double figures in the win over NC State last time out – all freshman. Bacot added 17 as well meaning UNC is getting hot at the right time.
One thing to note about the Tar Heels’ five wins in six games is that they’ve come against Notre Dame (66-65), Miami (67-65), Syracuse (81-75), Wake Forest (80-73), and and NC State (86-76). That’s five of the six worst teams in the ACC. Pitt is 5th in the conference with an 8-3 record.
Pitt Coming Off a Slip Up
Pittsburgh looked like a force to be reckoned with in the ACC, winning three straight including a 6-point home victory over Duke. We don’t know what we have in the Panthers after a 76-75 loss at Wake last time out however. Pitt was just a -2 road favorite, but the Demon Deacons had been winless in conference play prior to that win.
The good news is that Pittsburgh is still 4-2 in ACC play, but in addition to Duke they’ve also only beaten Miami and Syracuse twice. One of the big reasons for the loss to Wake Forest is because the Demon Deacons hit 15 of 32 three pointers, normally a strong point for the Panthers who are 19th in the entire country in 3FG%. UNC is second worst in the ACC in three point shooting.
Pittsburgh will also have the best player on the court on Tuesday night, as Justin Champagnie leads the ACC in scoring (19.9) and rebounds (12.4). Two other players (Xavier Johnson and Au Diese Toney) also put in over 14 ppg. Why is North Carolina favored again?
Free January 26th North Carolina at Pittsburgh Pick
This game is hard to figure out, especially with 66% of public bettors liking North Carolina despite their 1-4 road record. Did Wake Forest expose something in the Panthers last week or something? Pitt looks like a solid play to not only cover, but to win outright as they did 66-52 in last year’s meeting in the Steel City.
Pittsburgh 70 – North Carolina 67
Free Pick: Pittsburgh +3.5