NCAA Basketball Spread: Off
Just when it seemed Maryland was gaining some momentum, the Terrapins went and lost to the worst team in the ACC this past Saturday. The loss to Georgia Tech dropped Maryland to a miserable 1-7 on the road this year. North Carolina appears to be improving when it comes to closing out tough games. The Tar Heels picked up a big win at Virginia on Saturday. Can North Carolina take care of business and keep pace with Duke at the top of the ACC?
Mark Turgeon’s Terrapins have made progress since the start of the season, but the team is very inconsistent. Maryland held a nine-point second half lead at Georgia Tech on Saturday, but their offense broke down and they lost. Terrell Stoglin leads the team with 21.2 points per game, but there are times when he plays too much one-on-one basketball. In Saturday’s game, Stoglin was 5 out of 17 from the floor and he didn’t have a single assist. Alex Len has been one of the main reasons that this team has improved over the course of the season. Len is a 7’1 freshman who has a soft touch around the hoop, and he is a good shot blocker on defense.
Nick Faust is another freshman with a lot of potential, but his shot selection can be quite poor. Faust is shooting just 34.7% from the floor this year. He is shooting just 23.6% from three-point range. Maryland allows 69.8 points per game. The Terrapins have been giving up a lot of second-chance points in conference play.
North Carolina has had quite a few bumps in the road this year, but this team is still right in the thick of the national picture. It’s hard to overstate how important the Tar Heels frontcourt is to their success. North Carolina leads the nation in offensive rebounding, and this team is relentless on the offensive glass. Tyler Zeller and John Henson both get on the boards very well, and both of them are terrific at running the floor and finishing on the fast break. Zeller has the better shooting touch, while Henson is the better shot blocker on the defensive end.
Harrison Barnes has upped his level of play quite a bit this year. Barnes leads the team in scoring at 17.6 per contest and he is shooting 41% from beyond the arc. Kendall Marshall is setting all sorts of records this year as far as assists is concerned. He assists on more than 32% of the team’s made shots, which is an amazing number. Marshall is the perfect point guard for this fast paced system.
Maryland gave North Carolina a good fight at home, but the Terrapins have struggled on the road all year. Look for the Tar Heels to run away with this one.
Prediction: North Carolina 84 Maryland 65
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