Cole Anthony via Raleigh for B1G/ACC Challenge

College Basketball Preview: B1G/ACC Challenge, #7 vs #6

It’s Wednesday night, which means we get some excellent college basketball action on the TV including a B1G/ACC Challenge game. As the B1G/ACC Challenge continues, a couple of Top-10 teams in the nation will face off on the hardwood.

When and Where

Tipping off at 9:30 PM EST in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on ESPN will be an excellent game between #7 North Carolina and #6 Ohio State.

Photo via Good Free Photos for B1G/ACC Challenge
UNC via Good Free Photos

Why We’re Watching: #6 Ohio State at #7 North Carolina

North Carolina has not been shooting the ball well to start the season and it shows on the scoreboard. As a team, they’re shooting at a sub-43% clip and are averaging around 75 points per game. The plus side to all of this is that they’ve played some difficult competition so far this season. Coming off a tough loss to Michigan on the 28th, UNC bounced back and defeated Oregon in one of the better college basketball games we’ve seen in 2019. Led by true freshman Cole Anthony, the Tar Heels basically count on the young man to knock down shots and create scoring opportunities in transition. Anthony is averaging 2 steals a game which helps start fast breaks so he can dish the ball off to his bigs for easy points.

Speaking of the bigs, fellow true freshman Armando Bacot is leading the team in rebounding and blocks. He runs alongside the veteran of the team, junior forward, Garrison Brooks. Both Brooks and Bacot are close to averaging double-doubles and with Anthony at the point, they form a solid CBB trio. The main thing that is hindering the Tar Heels, in my opinion, is the lack of free-throw efficiency. Of their 8-man rotation, only 2 UNC players are shooting better than 70% from the charity stripe. They are squandering points and damaging their own chances of winning. We can see from previous games this season that the lack of free-throw ability has nearly cost this team victories. When facing a team like Ohio State, they are not going to escape unharmed.

Army West Point vs. The Ohio State University at Ohio State, Sept. 16, 2017.  (U.S. Army photo by Michelle Eberhart) for B1G/ACC Challenge
Army West Point vs. The Ohio State University at Ohio State, Sept. 16, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Michelle Eberhart)

On the Buckeyes side of things, they’re more focused on playing smashmouth basketball that starts on the defensive end. Sure, they’re averaging over 78 points per game but that can be credited to playing a lackluster early schedule. Aside from defeating a ranked Villanova squad, Ohio State has played a bunch of nobodies in the CBB world. But, including Villanova, the Buckeyes have held all of their opponents to 57 points or less. The well-rounded Ohio State attack is led by junior forward Kaleb Wesson and his 12 points per game. The perfect antagonist for UNC, the Buckeyes players are all shooting the ball well from all parts of the hardwood. And yes, that includes the charity stripe.

So where does OSU struggle? That would be the rebounding and assist game. With a lot of iso-ball, the second chance rebounds simply aren’t available for the Buckeyes. Obviously, that results in fewer assists as a team. Where I see a problem for the Buckeyes in this one is their lack of a presence in the paint. As a rather short team, they can’t hang around in the paint for easy stops/baskets.

Prediction

#6 Ohio State: 69

#7 North Carolina: 62

Leading Scorer: Cole Anthony

Betting Tip: I like OSU to win outright but, if that’s too risky for your liking, the spread of +4.0 can be found for near even money (-105).

Conclusion

Don’t forget to tune into ESPN tonight to watch this absolute beast of a game! Who do you think will win tonight in the B1G/ACC Challenge? Let me know in the comments below. Also, check out the shop and other content by clicking here.

-Mitchell Seefeldt

%d bloggers like this: