In what amounts to a potential Final Four preview, Tennessee faces off with North Carolina as we enter the second day of the SEC/ACC Challenge.
UNC enters this off an overtime loss at the hands of Villanova, while the Vols are coming off two straight losses against Top Five opponents.
What's the best bet for when these two programs meet on Wednesday night? Find out in our college basketball picks and predictions for Tennessee vs. North Carolina on November 29.
Tennessee vs North Carolina best odds
Tennessee vs North Carolina picks and predictions
The first is simple: Is Tennessee going to make open shots?
The numbers are pretty startling over the last two games. Facing Kansas, Tennessee attempted 28 catch-and-shoot jumpers, with 18 categorized as unguarded; however, it missed 12 of those attempts. The situation worsened against Purdue, where the Vols took 29 catch-and-shoot jumpers, and despite 15 being classified as unguarded, they once again missed 12 of those shots.
Its horrendous shooting has given Tennessee the dubious distinction of being one of the worst spot-up offenses among Power Five schools to start the season. In fact, the program currently sits in the Bottom 8% of college basketball with an anemic 0.76 points per possession on such sets.
This is important when going up against North Carolina, as that's the weak point of the Heels defense. They've been pretty good at the rim, excellent in transition, and decent in slowing down dribble penetration. If Tennessee doesn't make shots, UNC can clog the paint and do an excellent job of hiding its issues in the post.
On the other side of the ball, North Carolina will attempt to get Armando Bacot involved in the game. The 5th year man has been held to single-digit scoring in back-to-back games, which conveniently have come against the Tar Heels' only two Power Five opponents. It's the first time Bacot has scored single-digit points in back-to-back contests since 2021, and that suggests some current fundamental issues with this team's offensive makeup.
Ultimately, this handicap is primarily built around Tennessee's defense holding opponents to 0.84 points per possession while simultaneously struggling offensively.
I projected the total to be at 138.5, so I'll happily take the Under at 145.
My best bet: Under 145 (-110 at DraftKings)
Tennessee vs North Carolina same-game parlay
As usual, we're taking our best bet and making it the staple of our same-game parlay. This time, we'll be adding just one play, which is fading Bacot's scoring output.
Bacot is currently in the midst of one of his worst career slumps offensively, making me wonder if something deeper is happening here. Add in the fact that Tennessee will be well-prepped for this matchup after facing Purdue and Kansas' top centers, and we have an easy fade candidate.
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Tennessee vs North Carolina spread and Over/Under analysis
As much as I hate when announcers proudly exclaim that a team has to make shots to win the game (as if they've cracked some nuclear code), that's a very real thing for Tennessee in this spot. North Carolina will be begging Tennesee will be begging the Vols to beat them with spot-up jumpers tonight.
This total opened up at 141.5 and saw some action towards the Over. I understand the line movement, especially considering North Carolina's pace; however, I don't think Tennessee's poor shooting is being accurately accounted for.
Tennessee vs North Carolina betting trend to know
Tennessee has hit the game total Under in 21 of its last 36 games (+4.50 Units / 11% ROI). Find more college basketball betting trends for Tennessee vs. North Carolina.
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Tennessee vs North Carolina game info
|Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
|Wednesday, November 29, 2023
|7:15 p.m. ET
Tennessee vs North Carolina key injuries
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