No. 16 North Carolina and UNLV had opposite results to kick off their seasons, and as the Tar Heels and Rebels go head-to-head on Monday night, things should be interesting. UNC defeated College of Charleston 79-60 last Wednesday, while UNLV stumbled 91-78 against Montana State.
Roy Williams is now entering into his 33rd year as a college basketball head coach. He spent 15 years at Kansas before taking over for the Tar Heels before the 2003-04 season. Believe it or not, last season marked the first time in Williams’ long NCAA career that his team had a losing record. We’ll see if a bounce back is in store for UNC in 2020-21.
Meanwhile, T.J. Otzelberger starts his second year on the job at UNLV. In three years at South Dakota State prior, his teams went 70-33 with a trip to March Madness. The Rebels finished 17-15 in his first year, and the hope will be to be even better this season. Playing UNC in the second game of the season will be an early test for the Rebels, so let’s see if they’re up for it.
The spread for Monday’s game has UNC favored by 12.5 points. The over/under is set at 151.5.
Tar Heels Seek 2-0 Start
UNC handled Charleston pretty handily, so let’s see if the Tar Heels can take UNLV down next. They will greatly miss Cole Anthony this year, but they’ve got to replace him and move on. So often, UNC sees their alums dominate in the NBA, and with that success, recruiting is seldom an issue.
One of their talented incoming players is Caleb Love. Love is a five-star recruit that will be UNC’s feature guard this year. The 19-year-old impressed with 17 points and four assists in their first win.
One big takeaway from the opener is that UNC will have to work on their outside shooting. The Tar Heels made just four of 18 three-pointers, a number that will need to be better against quality opponents.
Rebels Looking for an Upset
It’s never fun to lose your first game. All of the excitement of a new season, and you fall flat right off the bat. UNLV will hope to take those frustrations out on the Tar Heels in this game and avoid an 0-2 start.
On the bright side, they’ve got a talented leader in Bryce Hamilton. He hit 10 of 19 shots, finishing with 27 points, eight rebounds, and four assists against Montana State. Caleb Grill knocked in three triples, and Nicquel Blake had 16 points, most of which came from four buckets from beyond the arc.
The advantage in this game for UNLV is from the three-point line. They’ve got some great shooters, whereas UNC may hesitate and look for mid-range shots. If the Rebels can shoot well from distance, they have a real chance at a surprise win.
Tar Heels Take Care of Business
UNC’s perimeter defense held College of Charleston to just under 35% three-point shooting. The Tar Heels will stifle UNLV’s outside game and will outwork the Rebels in the paint to come away with the win.
FREE PLAY: UNC -12.5
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