North Carolina vs. Wofford Prediction, Game Preview

    North Carolina vs. Wofford prediction and game preview for when the No. 1-ranked Tar Heels host the Terriers at the Dean E. Smith Center.

    November 17, 2015

    The No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels will host the Wofford Terriers in the Dean E. Smith Center. Below is the North Carolina vs. Wofford prediction and game preview.

    North Carolina vs. Wofford Game Preview

    Game Broadcast

    Date: Wednesday, Nov. 18
    Game Time: 7 p.m. ET
    Venue: Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, N.C.
    Network: ESPN

    Why You Need To Care

    When is it not a good idea to watch the No. 1-ranked team in the country? After taking down Temple and Fairfield by an average margin of 25.5 points to open up the season, the Tar Heels are looking to make it three wins in a row against Wofford. UNC started 3-0 last season, too, but that was before Butler beat the Tar Heels to put the first blemish on their record.

    Head coach Mike Young led the Terriers to a 28-7 record last year and NCAA tournament berth. For the second straight season, Wofford was knocked out in the second round of the tourney.

    Technically, the Terriers are on a two-game losing streak after dropping their opening game of the season to Missouri, 83-74. But there’s no telling what can happen, how the ball will bounce — and all other clichés. Maybe Wofford can relish in the fact that this will be the first time in program history the Terriers will take on the No. 1 team in the country.

    Wofford has won two of its last three games against teams from “Tobacco Road,” after losing its first eight games since joining NCAA Division I play, but a win against UNC would also be its first win against an AP Top 25 team.

    A win for Roy Williams and the Tar Heels would be … well, it’s what they’re supposed to do. The Tar Heels have a 2-0 advantage in the series — even though they haven’t played each other since 1926. For what it’s worth, North Carolina won that last matchup, 41-23.

    Why North Carolina Will Win

    Look, even a crosseyed bat could take one peek at the statistics and recruting cycle rankings to conclude Hell would have an ice hockey league before North Carolina would lose this matchup. In its first two games, UNC controlled the boards by outrebounding Temple and Fairfield 90-60. The one thing the Tar Heels have to do is push the Terriers off the perimeter. Wofford was ranked No. 6 in the country last year with 302 threes attempted, and they hit 36.1 percent of them. The last thing Williams wants is for his players to get caught flat-footed as the ball is swung around the arc. That leads to a few big jump shots and a big run for Wofford. UNC allowed Temple and Faifield to shoot a combined 31.7 percent from deep, but it matched that with 42.9 percent from three. Answering threes with threes can be a dangerous game, but one North Carolina can win — just not ideal.

    Why Wofford Will Win

    In games that they shot at least 35 percent from three last season, the Terriers finished 16-3. Sure, the strength of that schedule wasn’t nearly on par with UNC, but it’s worth noting. Wofford’s leading three-point shooter from a year ago, Karl Cochran, graduated, meaning Young’s team needs to figure out who its next volume shooter is going to be. Cochran averaged 14.8 points per game last year, so it might take a big performance from seniors Spencer Collins or Justin Gordon to keep Wofford in it against UNC. But that’s just to keep it close. As far as winning the game goes, the Terriers would need to find a way to win the rebounding battle to have a legitimate shot. North Carolina was 4-6 in games where they had 32 or fewer total rebounds last season.

    Players Who Matter

    Kennedy Meeks has been stellar so far for Williams and North Carolina. Through the first two games, Meeks is averaging 16.5 points and 11.5 rebounds. Wofford’s most experienced big man is the 6-foot-8 Ryan Sawvell, but the transfer from Evansville only played six minutes in the opener. Long story short, Meeks should go off for another double-double. Brice Johnson has been his running mate so far with 16 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Their ability to clean up down low will go unmatched in this one.

    For Wofford, it has to fall on the shoulders of Collins and Gordon. Freshman guard Fletcher MaGee poured in 22 points in the Terriers’ first game, but that very well may not be the norm. MaGee went 5-of-9 from three against Mizzou. It’s not likely he’ll be that efficient from long range against UNC. If he is, and Collins and Gordon also hit some triples of their own, the Terriers won’t be too far behind.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    The Tar Heels will claim their third victim of the season in a high-scoring affair — high-scoring for UNC at least. Johnson and Meeks will form a “baby blue bash brother” show against Wofford. They could both go for a double-double in points and rebounds — a few of those boards coming on the offensive end. MaGee will lead the Terriers in scoring, but it won’t be enough. The Tar Heels will clean glass for second-chance opportunities and take the game.

    North Carolina vs. Wofford Prediction

    Robert Judin:
    North Carolina 94, Wofford 77

    Jordan Cornette:
    North Carolina 92, Wofford 71

    Line: TBD

    MORE: 13 for the 13th: ACC Is Best Conference


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