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After several early-season tournaments and massive matchups, we have seen a significant shift in the AP polls, with Purdue shooting up to No. 5, while North Carolina tumbled from No. 1 all the way to No. 18!
The Wednesday night slate will continue to impress as it features the aforementioned North Carolina Tar Heels versus the undefeated No. 10 Indiana Hoosiers, as well as No. 25 Ohio State versus No. 17 Duke, and No. 5 Purdue versus Florida State. Check out the best bets for these matchups below!
When: 7:15 PM EST
Ohio State Buckeyes
O 136.5 (-110)
Duke Blue Devils
U 136.5 (-110)
I’ll be frank: Duke has not impressed me how I thought it would. Dereck Lively II fouled out against Purdue with a total of zero points, while Mark Mitchell and Dariq Whitehead, two other five-star recruits, finished that game with a combined eight points. Jeremy Roach has looked great this season, but injured his foot or toe in that game against the Boilermakers, and could be less than 100% heading into this matchup.
There is a disconnect and lack of chemistry right now for the Blue Devils. While that was to be expected with so many freshmen on the squad, I didn’t think they would lose to Purdue by nearly 20 points. I also feel less optimistic about their narrow loss to the Jayhawks after Kansas narrowly escaped games against Southern Utah, NC State, and Wisconsin before finally dropping one to Tennessee by double-digits.
On the other hand, Ohio State has put together back-to-back solid wins against Cincinnati (74th in KenPom’s AdjEM) and Texas Tech (29th in KenPom’s AdjEM) led by freshman sensation Brice Sensabaugh, a 6-foot-6 forward from Florida. The Buckeyes lost a challenging game to San Diego State in the game prior; however, the Aztecs boast one of the best defenses in the entire nation, and OSU was still able to score 77 points against them. I anticipate Duke squeezing out a narrow victory at home, but the more experienced Buckeyes should keep this game tight until the end.
When: 7:15 PM EST
O 138.5 (-110)
Florida State Seminoles
U 138.5 (-110)
You’re telling me that I’m only giving 15.5 points for the hottest team in the country against one of the worst majors in college basketball? I will take it. Purdue is fresh off winning the Phil Knight Legacy Invitational after multiple impressive wins. Who did the Boilermakers have to beat to win the tournament? The answer is West Virginia, Gonzaga, and Duke. The Bulldogs and Blue Devils were top-ten teams when Purdue knocked them off.
And Purdue didn’t just beat these teams; they won each game by double-digits! As a matter of fact, Purdue would have covered this 15.5 spread in two of those three games. The key to Purdue’s success is Zach Edey. Edey is the only player in the nation to average at least 20 points and ten rebounds. The 7-foot-4 center has improved exponentially since arriving in West Lafayette, including his coordination, strength, and touch around the rim. Another imposing area is his passing out of the post, which allows the Purdue shooters to see a ton of open looks from kick outs, often the easiest threes for shooters to make.
Currently, Purdue ranks seventh in total rebounding rate and 11th in offensive rebounding percentage, while Florida State ranks 333rd and 341st in those same categories. Purdue thrives on second-chance points, and with the amount of three-point shooters it has on the floor, I expect it to take advantage. What’s interesting to me about the Boilermakers is that they have only shot 34% from deep on the season, despite having a handful of capable shooters. This is an area I expect them to progress in throughout the year, and it could start in this game.
Meanwhile, Florida State has been inexplicably bad. The Seminoles are 1-7 through their first eight games, with losses against Stetson, UCF, Troy, Florida, Siena, Stanford, and Nebraska. My faith in Florida State is at an all-time low, and I don’t see how it will win any games during conference play in the ACC. Purdue is playing the best basketball of any team in the nation and should pummel Florida State. I’m stunned that this line isn’t closer to 25-30. I will roll with Purdue against the spread.
When: 9:15 PM EST
North Carolina Tar Heels
O 144.5 (-110)
U 144.5 (-110)
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Google the most challenging places to play in the nation, and Assembly Hall will be on every single list (at least, the lists that have any validity.) The Indiana Hoosiers are a “Blue Blood” basketball program with five national championships and crazed fans that will pack the arena for a game like this. Sure, the anticipation and hype would have increased if North Carolina entered the game as the No. 1 team, but it will still be a packed house and as loud as you hear a game all season.
Indiana has looked fantastic to start the season; it has taken care of all the low and mid-major teams it has played this season and even beat a talented Xavier team on the road in a hostile environment. The Hoosiers rank second in offensive efficiency (not KenPom), fifth in points per game, second in eFG% (effective field goal percentage), and 37th in three-point percentage. Indiana’s average margin of victory this season is nearly 30 points due to its great offense, but it may even be better on the defensive end of the floor.
On the other hand, North Carolina has not looked anything like it did during its incredible tournament run last season. That is not to say that the Tar Heels can’t turn it around before the 2023 NCAA Tournament, but things aren’t going well right now. They have dropped back-to-back close games to Iowa State and Alabama, two ranked teams. This should be tight for most of the game, but in the end, Indiana will pull away. I’m with Indiana against the spread in this heavyweight bout!
Andrew has always been an avid sports fan and followed his hoop dreams all the way to college. He’s well-versed in everything betting with multiple years of experience and is qualitatively and quantitatively knowledgeable in sports statistics and analytics.More info on Andrew Norton
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