UNC and N.C. State will meet for the 170th time in the history of the programs on Monday night in Raleigh.
For the first time this season, UNC and N.C. State will face off on the basketball court on Monday night. The Tar Heels are hot off a 23-point victory over Miami on Saturday, while the Wolfpack suffered through a lackluster losing effort against Georgia Tech. Carolina is expected to be without future NBA lottery pick Cole Anthony for the 11th-straight game, as State comes in as 5.5-point favorites. UNC has won the last three meetings between the schools, and has won each of the past six games in Raleigh. Without further ado, here are ONB’s staff predictions for tonight’s rivalry showdown.
Zack Smith (@zackrusmith): N.C. State 79, UNC 63
I really like this spot for the Wolfpack. With UNC coming off of their best performance in a long time at home against Miami, most people think that their confidence is back and they may be able to pull the upset. I see it as spot for them to take two steps back after taking one step forward. On the other side, N.C. State is coming off one of their worst performances in a long time in a loss at Georgia Tech. They will be looking to bounce back in a huge rivalry game in front of a rowdy crowd inside PNC Arena. The Wolfpack have been licking their chops watching the UNC struggles this season, awaiting an opportunity to kick them while they’re down. That’s what they’ll do tonight. N.C. State controls the game from start to finish.
Christian Candeloro (@christiancande3): N.C. State 69, UNC 64
I guess as a State fan I’m just trained to be nervous about a game like this. Even though UNC has massively struggled this season, and a win against a depleted Miami (FL) team isn’t that impressive, I just can’t shake the feeling that this is going to be an absolute dogfight. The crowd will definitely be feeling the gravity of the moment and this match-up is going to have a big-game feeling to it. N.C. State can’t afford to drop this one and if Cole Anthony isn’t on the floor, I just don’t think the Tar Heels have enough. Give me the Pack in a close one.
Richard Adkins (@RichardJAdkins): UNC 68, N.C. State 61
Carolina is coming off a refreshing win against Miami, and could come out just as explosive on Monday night. There’s no doubt that Carolina will need to win this game–and basically the rest of the season–in order to make their case for the NCAA Tournament. Roy Williams will be coaching once again without future top-three draft prospect Cole Anthony, so expect Brandon Robinson, who is fresh off a career-high 29 points last game, to be the focus point for the offense. I predict Carolina to start off hot, but eventually go through a storm of adjustments, and finish strong in the end.
Luke Tucker (@luketucker19_): N.C. State 73, UNC 69
This is a game the Wolfpack should win, but for N.C. State that doesn’t mean anything. Add in the fact that it’s a rivalry game and that the Tar Heels are coming off of their best performance of the year, State fans have plenty reason to be worried. However, there is also plenty of optimism. There’s a chance the Wolfpack get back Manny Bates and Pat Andree, and Cole Anthony likely will sit out once again. State hasn’t beaten UNC in Raleigh since 2013, but look for Markell Johnson and DJ Funderburk to do just enough to win a close one over the rival Tar Heels.