North Carolina guard Caleb Love (2) dribbles during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against College of Charleston in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
- #17 North Carolina is a 1.5-point road underdog against NC State in the ACC opener for both teams Tuesday night at PNC Arena in Raleigh
- NC State has had just nine players available for its last two games because of COVID-19 issues
- North Carolina has won 13 of the last 15 meetings with NC State
Two Research Triangle rivals square off in their ACC opener when No. 17 North Carolina visits North Carolina State at 7 p.m. ET Monday at PNC Arena in Raleigh.
North Carolina, a slight road underdog, has won back-to-back games to raise its record to 5-2 and are 3-4 against the spread. NC State is 4-1 both straight up and ATS.
#17 North Carolina vs NC State Odds
|North Carolina||+104||+1.5 (-112)||Over 144.5 (-110)|
|NC State||-122||-1.5 (-108)||Under 144.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Dec. 21 from FanDuel.
NC State Short-Handed
NC State had two games in a three-day stretch last week after not playing for two weeks because of a COVID-19 outbreak in the program.
After losing at Saint Louis 80-69, NC State bounced back to beat visiting Campbell 69-50 on Saturday, barely failing to cover the 20-point spread. The Wolfpack had just nine players available for both games and coach Kevin Keatts says he does not know how many will dress for Tuesday’s game.
Junior forward Jericole Hellems scored a game-high 19 points to lead NC State in the win over Campbell, making seven of 12 shots from the field. He also had seven rebounds and five assists.
Unmatched energy 🗣 @JericoleHellems pic.twitter.com/TBFsbArFy7
— NC State Men’s Bball (@PackMensBball) September 25, 2020
Hellems is second on the team in scoring with a 13.4 point a game average. Senior guard Devon Daniels paces NC State with a 16.2 average and finished with 12 points and eight rebounds Saturday.
Sophomore forward Manny Bates hit his season average with 10 points. He is also blocking 3.6 shots a game.
NC State held a 44-23 rebounding advantage and limited Campbell to just two offensive boards. The Wolfpack also held the Camels to 2 of 17 from 3-point range.
Freshman guard Cam Hayes (11.3) is the fourth NC State player scoring in double figures.
2021 Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Odds Tracker
Carolina’s Killer Bs
NC State’s frontcourt figures to get a much stiffer challenge against the North Carolina forward duo of senior Garrison Brooks and sophomore Armando Bacot.
Brooks, the ACC Preseason Player of the Year, is averaging 11.7 points and 7.4 rebounds a game. Bacot’s averages are 11.4 and 8.7.
Bacot has been North Carolina’s leading scorer in each two games, totaling 33 points. He had 14 as the Tar Heels rallied for a 75-63 victory over Kentucky in the CBS Sports Classic on Saturday at Cleveland as two-point favorites.
📺 Highlights from the 7️⃣5️⃣-6️⃣3️⃣ win 🆚 Kentucky#CarolinaFamily pic.twitter.com/ASosrTiWI0
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) December 20, 2020
Bacot added eight rebounds and two blocks as North Carolina came back from an 11-point deficit in the first half. Slow starts have been a problem for the Tar Heels who have fallen behind before halftime in five of their seven games this season.
Freshman guard Kerwin Walton came off the bench to score a season-high 13 points in 14 minutes. He connected on all three of his 3-point attempts after scoring just six points through his first six games.
Brooks and freshman guard Caleb Love added 11 points each. Love (11.1) is also scoring in double figures along with freshman guard RJ Davis (10.0).
Among the NC State players sitting out the last two games were Hayes and senior forward D.J. Funderburk.
Last season, Funderburk scored 12.8 and grabbed 6.1 rebounds a game. Hayes has pro potential.
I believe Freshman PG, Cam Hayes, out of NC State is a legitimate NBA prospect.
5th Highest Pure Point Rating in College Basketball. Elite Floor General
Very Nice Shooting Touch From What I’ve Seen So Far.
A Player To Keep Your Eye On. pic.twitter.com/1obfjxvsNe
— KeeseeHoopScouting (@HoopKeesee) December 15, 2020
Davis sustained a knee injury Saturday. His status for this game is questionable.
North Carolina has won five straight games against NC State and nine of the last 10 and 13 of the last 15. The Tar Heels have also won in their past seven visits to Raleigh.
Last season, North Carolina posted a 75-65 road victory then an 85-79 win in Chapel Hill. Brooks has 25 points and 11 rebounds in the first game then went off for 30 points in the rematch.
However, look for the tide to turn in NC State’s favor in this one as an improved Bates enables the Wolfpack to match up better with Brooks this time around.
The pick: NC State -1.5 (-108)
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.