NCAA Basketball Betting Preview: North Carolina at Wake Forest
By SportsDirect Inc. staff
No. 12 North Carolina Tar Heels at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (+8.5 )
North Carolina's junior guard Joel Berry II struggled through three straight sub-par performances to end 2016 and has authored the perfect response in the first two games of 2017. Berry will try to follow up his third ACC Player of the Week honour of the season with another strong effort when the 12th-ranked Tar Heels visit Wake Forest on Wednesday night.
Berry, who averaged 8.3 points and made just 7-of-26 from the field during his brief slump, scored a career-high 31 points in the win over Clemson on Jan. 3 and added 19 in North Carolina's 107-56 rout of North Carolina State on Sunday. The Florida native drained 10 of his 17 attempts from 3-point range in the last two games and will lead the potent Tar Heels' offence against a Wake Forest team that has dropped three of four and stands last in the ACC in field goal percentage defence (44.1). The Demon Deacons led by a point at halftime in Virginia last time out before suffering a 79-62 setback, but have won six of their seven home games.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (14-3, 2-1 ACC): The Tar Heels came into the week tied for sixth in the nation in scoring (89.1) and veteran coach Roy Williams told reporters his team played well against N.C. State. Justin Jackson scored 21 in that contest and leads the team at 17.6 points per game - just ahead of Berry (15.4), who averages 4.4 assists.
ABOUT WAKE FOREST (10-6, 1-3): John Collins is shooting 58.7 percent from the field and put up solid numbers in three straight games (17.7 points) since scoring three against Florida State. Bryant Crawford (14.3 points, team-best 5.9 assists) is the second option for the Demon Deacons and the sophomore guard scored 18 in the 83-68 loss at North Carolina last season.
1. North Carolina G Theo Pinson (foot) did not score in his season debut Sunday, but recorded five rebounds, five assists and four steals in 13 minutes.
2. Wake Forest has lost its last eight home games against a ranked opponent since beating Duke 82-72 on March 5, 2014.