How to Watch
Time: 6 p.m. CT
Watch Online: WatchESPN
Spread: North Carolina -9.5
Moneyline: Marquette +350 | UNC -450
Marquette and UNC have gotten together for a rare midweek nonconference game in February. This oddball season has produced the ability for games like this to sprout up, and thus, we’ve got a matchup between the Golden Eagles and Tar Heels to preview.
UNC is 14-7 as they enter play Wednesday night. They’re winners of each of their last two games, having defeated Northeastern and Louisville. The win over the Cardinals was a total drubbing, as the Heels scored 99 points and beat them by 45. They’ve won three of their last four and six of their last eight dating back to January 20. Stretching back a bit, they’ve won 11 of the last 14 games dating back to January 2, so things have gone well for them since the calendar turned to 2021.
The Heels are primarily led by the efforts of Armando Bacot and Caleb Love. Freshman big man Day’Ron Sharpe has been a strong presence inside, ranking as the top offensive rebounder in the country by OR% according to KenPom. The Heels don’t shoot the ball particularly well, but Kerwin Walton is their best 3-point man. Walton ranks 34th in the country with a 3-point FG% of 46.7 percent. No other Heel is above 33.3 percent from the field (with at least 30 attempts).
Defensively, the Heels have been pretty strong. Their AdjDE ranks 19th in the nation at 91.7. Their metrics check out, but their weakness is on the perimeter. They rank 265th in the nation, allowing 35.5 percent of 3-pointers to be made. In all fairness, the 3PT Rate they possess ranks 236th in the country. So while it’s a weakness, teams, for whatever reason, are not attacking that weakness with great ferocity.
This game will be rather intriguing. Unsurprisingly, MU is a big, dirty dog in this one. The Golden Eagles aren’t scoring at will and while their offense has been solid, they’re going to probably have issues against the Heel defense on the interior. Perhaps they implement a strategy to attack the perimeter, but that hasn’t been in their DNA this year. Their 3PT Rate on offense is 175th, and just 29.3 percent of their offense is from 3-pointers. What will make this interesting however is that both teams have shown to be really solid on defense inside. Marquette more so, as they rank 13th in 2PT FG% allowed this year.