North Carolina Tar Heels vs. No. 23 Ohio State Buckeyes December 17 Betting Preview

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. No. 23 Ohio State Buckeyes December 17 Betting Preview

Ayden Fahlstrom
2 years ago
2 min read
Ohio State Buckeyes forward Zed Key celebrates after getting charge call against Rutgers

Ohio State had eight days to recover from its heart-stopping, buzzer-beater victory over Rutgers to open conference play. What the No. 23 Buckeyes are hoping is that UNC hasn’t started to build confidence heading into their matchup at on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. The Tar Heels went from being No. 1 in the country to falling out of the polls entirely following four straight losses.

Playing on a neutral site usually evens the odds. With that in mind, here’s a look at which team is better suited to win in the CBS Sports Classic.

Tar Heels Haven’t Lived Up To Expectations

UNC returned most of its star power from a team that reached the national championship game last season. The Tar Heels, who were ranked No. 1 to start this season, don’t have a lot of depth behind their starting five. UNC has also been hurt by an injury to one of their key role players, Puff Johnson.

Johnson has missed three games for the Tar Heels this season. However, most of the returning guys have put up solid numbers, even if they have been overworked by playing 30 or more minutes per game early in the year. Forward Armando Bacot is a double-double machine, averaging 16.4 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. 

Caleb Love leads the team by scoring 18 points per game, but is only shooting 28.8 percent from the outside. As a team, the Tar Heels only shoot 31.5 percent from the outside, which ranks 290th nationally. UNC averages 80.9 points per game, which ranks 41st.

Ohio State Looking For Another Top-Tier Win

The Buckeyes grabbed a win over Texas Tech at the Maui Invite, but haven’t stepped up to the plate in their other tough non-conference matchups. Ohio State folded down the stretch in a loss to Duke and was also taken down by San Diego State. Buckeyes junior Zed Key has helped push the pace for Ohio State.

Key averages 14.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Ohio State does have a number of scoring options as the Buckeyes feature four players scoring in double figures. Ohio State forward Brice Sensabaugh has been scoring at a good clip. He averages 14.1 points per game in only 19.2 minutes of playing time.

The Buckeyes have been strong on defense. Ohio State limits its opponents to 27.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Teams only score 63.6 points per game on average against the Buckeyes. Ohio State’s offense has been effective as well, scoring 79 points per game.

Odds Indicate Toss-Up

UNC opened as a 1-point favorite over Ohio State. The Tar Heels are (-114) on the moneyline, while Ohio State is (-107.) The over/under is set at 151.5 points. UNC is 3-7-1 against the spread. The Tar Heels have seen the total go over the number in five of 11 games.

Ohio State is 4-5 against the spread. This should be a good test for both teams. UNC has pulled out two straight wins following its brief spiral. Can they stay hot?

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