North Carolina vs. Louisville prediction: College basketball odds, pick
The horrendous Louisville Cardinals travel to Chapel Hill to battle the supernova North Carolina Tar Heels on Wednesday night, and this ACC battle should provide little intrigue.
Kenny Paynes squad has fallen deeper into despair during his tenure, now sitting at 6-10 overall and 1-4 in league play with losses to Chattanooga and DePaul.
The defense cant stop a nosebleed, and the offense lacks ball movement, too often devolving into isolation midrange attempts.
But that could work against North Carolina.
North Carolina vs. Louisville prediction
(9 p.m. ET, ESPN)
The Heels all-around defense is fine, but the individual defenders struggle on an island, as North Carolina ranks 252nd nationally in iso points per possession (PPP) allowed (.84).
Similarly, they rank 263rd in mid-range PPP allowed (.79), with opponents cashing in on 35 percent of their midrange 2s.
But will that be enough?
North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Hubert Davis points out a player during the college basketball game between the North Carolina State Wolfpack and the North Carolina Tar Heels. Icon Sportswire via Getty ImagesThe Heels are a transition and post offense, using their elite three-guard lineup of RJ Davis, Cormac Ryan and Elliot Cadeau to push the pace and dump the ball down low to Armando Bacot.
The Cardinals are among the worst transition defenses in college hoops (1.18 PPP allowed, 353rd) and are similarly bad against post-up sets (.89 PPP allowed, 234th).
The guards cant stay in front of Davis and Co., and the forwards cant match up with Bacot.
That said, this is a mini-sleepy spot for North Carolina, which is off seven consecutive victories and hits the road for three of its next four.
So, I expect Louisville to score enough here to hang within 20 points for 40 minutes.
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The Cardinals have a decent schematic matchup, and I dont think the Heels will give their best defensive effort.
Its ugly, but most projection systems peg UNC closer to a 20-point favorite than a 22-point one, so Ill snag the Cardinals at anything above +21.
For what its worth, UNC hasnt beaten LOU by more than 21 since Feb. 2021, and two of those three games stayed within 10 points.
THE PLAY: Louisville +21.5 (-110, BetRivers)
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