Wisconsin at North Carolina
Published on Nov. 30 at 12:25 p.m. Eastern.
By Brian Edwards
The 13th edition of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge will continue Wednesday night with a six-pack of games, including a high-profile matchup between Wisconsin and North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
As of early this morning, most betting shops had the Tar Heels listed as eight-point favorites with a total of 135. By 1:30 p.m. Eastern, most books had UNC favored by seven with the total up to 136. The Badgers are plus-260 on the money line (risk $100 to win $260).
Roy Williams is hoping what happened in Vegas (losing) this past weekend will stay in Sin City because UNC dropped a 90-80 decision to UNLV as a 7 ½-point favorite at The Orleans Arena.
Chace Stanback was the catalyst for the Runnin’ Rebels, scoring 28 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Harrison Barnes and P.J. Hairston paced the Tar Heels with 15 points apiece, while Jon Henson finished with 11 points and eight boards.
Barnes rolled his right ankle and was reportedly seen leaving the arena on crutches. His status for Wednesday is considered ‘questionable,’ but reports out of Carolina indicate that Barnes practiced Tuesday and will most likely play barring a setback.
Barnes averages a team-high 17.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Henson is nearly averaging a double-double, scoring 15.8 PPG while grabbing 9.8 rebounds per contest.
North Carolina (5-1 straight up, 3-2 against the spread) opened the season with a 67-55 win over Michigan St. as an 8 ½-point ‘chalk.’ Since then, it really hasn’t faced anyone of note. The Heels drilled South Carolina 87-62 in their first game out in Las Vegas.
Wisconsin (6-0 SU, 3-0 ATS) has dealt out woodshed treatment to all six of its opponents by 17 points or more. Bo Ryan’s squad is coming off a 73-56 win over Brigham Young as a 7 ½-point favorite at Sears Centre in Chicago.
Ben Brust drained seven 3-pointers en route to scoring a game-high 21 points for the winners. Jordan Taylor, the Badgers’ All-American candidate at point guard, scored 18 points to go with eight assists and five rebounds compared to only one turnover.
Through six games, this has been a vintage Wisconsin team under Ryan. The Badgers get after it defensively, run their offense deep into shot clocks and take quality looks. They lost three starters from last year’s team that lost to Butler in the Sweet 16.
Wisconsin hasn’t been tested by any top-tier teams yet, beating up on the likes of Kennesaw St., Colgate, Wofford and Bradley. Taylor is averaging 11.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. He’s a physical guard who can control tempo and get into the lane to make plays consistently.
The ‘over’ is 4-1 overall for UNC, while the ‘under’ has cashed at a 2-1 clip for the Badgers.
Tip-off is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
–Gamblers have a late-night option with Gonzaga hosting Notre Dame at 11:15 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. As of early this morning, most books had the Bulldogs as 10-point favorites with a total of 137 ½. The Irish suffered a devastating blow when leading scorer Tim Abromaitis tore his ACL at last Friday’s practice. He was averaging 14.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
–Michigan St. will take on FSU tonight at Breslin Center at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. The Spartans were favored by 5 ½ at most spots this morning. The total was 123 ½.
–Billy Donovan collected his 400th career win Monday when the Gators trounced Stetson 96-70 in Orlando. Bradley Beal scored 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, while senior point guard Ervin Walker dropped 21 on the Hatters. UF will face Syracuse on Friday at the Carrier Dome.
–Virginia has to feel good about its head coaches in football and basketball. Mike London has the Cavs going to a bowl game for the first time since 2007, while Tony Bennett has the hoops team sporting a record. UVA used a 19-2 second-half run to pull away from Michigan for a 70-58 triumph Tuesday night in Charlottesville.
–Penn St. is a four-point favorite tonight at Boston College on ESPNU at 7:15 p.m. Eastern. The total is 122 ½.
–Nebraska will host Wake Forest tonight at 9:15 p.m. Eastern. The Cornhuskers are 12 ½-point favorites with the total at 139 ½. ESPNU will have the telecast.