- North Carolina brings a two-game winning streak into a hastily arranged home game against Marquette
- Marquette has lost three of its last four games and six of its last eight
- Check the odds, analysis and betting predictions below
North Carolina (14-7) will play host to Marquette at 7pm ET Wednesday in a non-conference game the Tar Heels quickly booked after their scheduled ACC game against Boston College was postponed because of coronavirus issues in the Eagles’ program.
Marquette (10-12) has not played since a 73-57 victory at Butler on Feb. 17. The Golden Eagles’ only two victories in an eight-game span starting Jan. 17 have come against Butler.
Marquette vs North Carolina Odds
|Marquette Golden Eagles||N/A||+8.5 (-116)||144 (Over-106)|
|North Carolina Tar Heels||N/A||-8.5 (-106)||144 (Under-116)|
Odds from FanDuel on Feb 23
North Carolina is fresh off a 99-54 home victory over Louisville, its highest point total and greatest margin of victory this season. The Tar Heels have won six of their last eight and four straight at home.
If the Tar Heels win, coach Roy Williams would reach 900 wins in 1,160 games. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski won his 900th in 1,183 games. Williams would be the fastest to 900 in both games and seasons of any coach in history.
North Carolina Has Found a Fit
After starting five different lineups in a 7-4 start, Williams has found success with the same starting group in the last 10 games — senior Garrison Brooks, junior Leaky Black, sophomore Armando Bacot and freshmen Caleb Love and Kerwin Walton.
The Tar Heels are 7-3 with that lineup, losing only road games at No. 16 Virginia Tech, Clemson and No. 15 Virginia. North Carolina has scored 80 or more points in six of the last 10 games after scoring as many as 80 only once in its first 11 games, a loss to Iowa.
UNC has shot 50% or better from the floor in four of their last six ACC games (54.4% vs NC State, 52.5% at Pittsburgh, 53.1% at Duke and a season-high 60.7% vs Louisville). Those are the only four times this season UNC has shot 50%.
In a 10-game stretch that began with an 81-75 victory over Syracuse on Jan. 12, North Carolina has scored 767 points on 845 possessions, an efficiency of .91 points per possession.
North Carolina did not have an efficiency average higher than .90 in any of its first 10 games. Its 1.19 rating in the second half against Louisville and 1.07 rate in the first half were its first- and third-highest halves of the season.
Marquette Tries a Different Look
After losing six of seven games, Marquette Steve Wojciechowski shook up his lineup and gave 6-3 junior guard Greg Elliott his first start of the season in a 73-57 victory over Butler. It worked.
Elliott scored a career-high 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting, made three 3-pointers and had six rebounds in 28 minutes against Butler while starting in place of 6-foot-7 senior forward Jamal Cain.
Cain, who played off the bench for the first time this season, had one of his best games of the season, with 14 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in 33 minutes. He was 5-of-9 from the field and had two steals and two assists.
Tar Heels’ Youth Has Served
The Tar Heels’ touted freshman class has made its presence felt. Four freshmen are among the team’s top six scorers in a balanced group, with point guard Davis (10.4 points per game) second on the team behind Bacot (11.8 points, 7.7 rebounds)
Reserve freshman big man Day’Ron Sharpe is fourth (10.3 points), followed by Walton (7.9) and freshman reserve RJ Davis (7.8). If nothing changes, this would be the first season in program history that four freshmen were among the top six in scoring.
North Carolina is the 325th-most experienced team in NCAA Division I, according to KenPom. Freshmen have played 52.6% of the team’s ACC minutes.
Walton, 6-foot-5, was named the conference freshman of the week last week, the fourth Tar Heel freshman to win the award this season, a program first. Love, Davis and Sharpe were previously honored.
On the Glass
North Carolina leads Division in rebound margin (plus-11.0) and offensive rebounds (15.1) per game and is third with 42.9 rebounds per game, continuing a trend that marked recent Tar Heel squads.
The Tar Heels have finished first, first, first and second in Division I in rebounds per game in the last four seasons and has finished in the top 10 in rebound margin the last six.
Marquette freshman center Dawson Garcia (12.6 points, 6.5 rebounds) leads the Golden Eagles in rebounding. the Golden Eagles are 2-8 when they they are outrebounded.
Sharpe (7.8 rebounds), Bacot (7.6) and Brooks (7.4) are the first Tar Heel trio to average seven or more rebounds since Lee Dedmon, Charlie Scott and Dennis Wuycik in 1969-70.
By the Numbers
North Carolina is 9-11-1 ATS but has picked it up recently, covering three of its last four and four of its last six. The Tar Heels have won seven straight home games, going 4-3 ATS.
Marquette is 8-14 ATS, the worst record in the Big East. The Golden Eagles are 3-6 ATS on the road and 2-6 ATS after victory. They have covered three of their last four after a brutal 1-11 stretch ATS.
Both teams are skewing under the total this season. North Carolina is 9-12 against the over and Marquette is 8-12-2.
The pick: North Carolina -8.5 (-106)
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