NC and UNLV Back on the Floor

NC and UNLV Back on the Floor

It was HUGE news here in Las Vegas this past Saturday Night when UNLV knocked off #1 North Carolina at the Orleans Arena. You probably heard about the result, but you weren't paying much attention to college basketball that night because it was the final loaded college football Saturday of the college football regular season.

With both North Carolina and UNLV taking the floor again tonight (Carolina hosts Wisconsin in that big TV game from the Big Ten-ACC challenge, while UNLV will deal with a tough letdown spot at Cal-Santa Barbara), I thought this was a good time to explain to you what happened in that Saturday Night Stunner...

  • UNLV shot well from three-point land. They hit 40% of their bombs, which is the same as shooting 50% on two-pointers. Most importantly, they made 13 from behind the arc while North Carolina only made four. That's +27 points on the scoreboard right there.

  • UNLV rebounded very well. They really hustled and battled on the boards, outrebounding North Carolina 46-37. That's just not a stat that the Tar Heels should lose to a mid major team.

  • North Carolina didn't shoot well from the free throw line. They're strong inside game kept attacking the basket. But, the Heels were just 20 of 33 on free throws (compared to 15 of 18 for UNLV). That's 15 more attempts for Carolina, but only five more makes.

For those watching the game, it sure didn't seem like UNLV was a pretender getting lucky. You should note that the game opened at North Carolina -6, which surprised a lot of people. Money started coming in on the favorite because there were a lot of dog skeptics who couldn't believe the line was that low. The oddsmakers had this one least in terms of expecting a competitive effort from the Rebels. Even though the Orleans Arena isn't the Thomas & Mack Center, Vegas had a loud home crowd cheering them on. It was a great night for college basketball locally, whether you're a professional handicapper or just a sports fan.  

What does all that mean about tonight? I don't want to give away any thoughts I might have bout Wednesday action. I will say this:

  • The way to beat North Carolina always stays the same. They play an aggressive attacking style under Roy Williams, and they keep great athletes flying at the basket. To beat them, you have to guard as hard as you can, hustle on the boards, and make your three-pointers. Carolina is going to beat you inside the arc, so you have to beat them outside the arc. Can Wisconsin do that on the road tonight? Can they do that at least well enough to cover the Vegas spread?

  • North Carolina will be on TV a lot this year, so you need to be thinking about them in this light whenever you handicap one of their games. Soft defensive opponents who can't shoot treys are going to get waxed (and there are some bad teams in the ACC this year).

  • UNLV is legitimate, and may end up being one of the best mid-major teams on the board this season. Maybe they're not as good as their poll and computer numbers are now showing. A big early win like that looms large right out of the gate. Maybe they won't be seeded in the Sweet 16. They sure have a chance to get that far, maybe farther. Seems like the Mountain West keeps spitting out good stories every year. It's the Rebels turn to get some ink now that Jimmer Fredette has left BYU.

Wednesday's college basketball schedule is huge. As I write this, there's a chance I won't be involved in either of these games because other possibilities offer more value. Please check the "buy picks" page here at the website a few hours before tipoff for the latest word on my Wednesday Winners. In addition to these games, I'm looking at matchups like Florida State-Michigan State, Virginia Tech-Minnesota, Notre Dame-Gonzaga, and a few of the regional rivalry games that dot the card.

If you have any questions about season service, call my  handicapping office at 1-877-766-8946. Be sure to ask about my 77 Days package that would include Championship Weekend in college football and all the the NFL through the Super Bowl. The NFL resumes Thursday Night with Philadelphia-Seattle. We have SIX conference championship games Friday and Saturday in college football, along with big games like Oklahoma-Oklahoma State and Texas-Baylor in regular season finales.

It was great seeing UNLV knock off #1 North Carolina here in my own backyard. But, when it comes to college basketball, the whole country is my backyard because I will find winners all over the board! The hoops season is really kicking into high gear right now. That means it's time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!


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