The No. 11 Louisville Cardinals (25-5, 13-3 ACC) will play host to struggling Atlantic Coast Conference foe, the North Carolina Tar Heels (10-16, 3-12 ACC) on Saturday inside the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. The hosts have had great success on its home floor this season, compiling a 15-1 overall record.
The Tar Heels enter the weekend on a six-game losing streak, which includes two losses by one point and a pair of losses by two points. The conference tilt will be the two school’s first meeting against each other this season. Louisville is a -9.5 point favorite.
What to Know – North Carolina
North Carolina is on the verge of missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010 and recording a losing record for the first time since 2001-02. The Tar Heels have had a bit of bad luck, dropping 11 games by 10 points or less. Head coach Roy Williams could also make history with the first losing record of his head coaching career that dates back to 1989.
This season the Tar Heels lack the star power you typically see filling up their roster. Freshman guard Cole Anthony (19.5 ppg), who missed a majority of the season with an injury, has been the lone shining star of the UNC roster.
The future lottery pick has topped 20 points in seven of the 15 games he has played this year. Junior Garrison Brooks (15.2 ppg) and senior guard Brandon Robinson (12.9 ppg) also add an offensive presence to the visitor’s offense.
UNC enters the matchup averaging 71.2 points per game and allowing a similar 71.7 ppg. Its last two losses have been by a combined three points. The Tar Heels are 2-7 in road contests this season.
What to Know – Louisville
Louisville had won 10 straight games before dropping a pair against conference foes Georgia Tech and Clemson. The Cardinals bounced back with a much-needed victory at home against Syracuse on Wednesday, beating the Orange 90-66.
Coach Chris Mack is 42-19 overall and 29-5 at home in his second season as head coach of the Cardinals.
Forward Jordan Nwora (18.2 ppg) is the go-to scorer for the Cardinals. The sophomore forward has been the team’s leading scorer in all but seven contests this year.
Behind Nwora, the Cardinals feature a balanced attack with five players tacking on 7.5 points or more per contest. Senior forward Dwayne Sutton has averaged 17 points per game over the last two contests.
The Cardinals are scoring at an average of 74.8 points per game and surrendering 66.8 ppg. Louisville ranked 11th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting 40.7% from beyond the arc.
KenPom has Louisville ranked 10th while it sits at 9th in the NET rankings.
The Pick Is In
Louisville has been impressive at home, as noted above, and the Tar Heels haven’t won in almost a month. However, UNC has a tendency to keep it close, and nine is a lot of points. Give us UNC +9.5.