North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Purdue Boilermakers – College Basketball, Saturday, November 20, 2021

By Dan Vasta in College Basketball
| November 19, 2021 2:16 pm PDT

The college basketball season is better than ever, and the matchups in November and December often determine some of the program’s fates in March,

One of the best programs in college basketball history will be starting their challenging non-conference slate.

Purdue is searching for their first Final Four since 1980, but they have been a constant under Matt Painter. They are looking like they will have their shot to get over the hump this season.

The non-conference is where the top teams flex their muscles to grab the confidence and momentum needed before ACC play starts. Here are your latest odds from SportsBetting.ag for this Hall of Fame Tip-Off between the Tar Heels and Boilermakers.

North Carolina vs. Purdue Odds for 11/20

North Carolina (+6.5)-110
Purdue (-6.5)-110
Over 151.5-110
Under 151.5-110

The Tar Heels are 11-8-1 as underdogs in their 20 games, excluding the NCAA Tournament. However, they have gone 5-15 straight up along the way.

Purdue has won 14 straight as the favorite, and they have gone 9-4-1 against the spread in that timespan. The Boilermakers have not met Carolina since the 1998-99 seasons. Both were in the non-conference, and the Boilermakers fell in both meetings.

It was so long ago that point guard Ed Cota was the starting point guard for UNC. The Heels have had their issues against the Big Ten, but Matt Painter will have his hands full as the hunted.

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Why North Carolina Will Win

Life after Roy Williams has not been a concern after three games. The offensive production has been impressive thus far, and they will need to keep up with Purdue. Luckily, they have torched the nets and look like they can hang with any juggernaut.

  • No. 24 Scoring Offense (90.3 points per game)
  • No. 22 Field-Goal Percentage (52.8%)
  • No. 61 Rebound Margin (+9.7)

Purdue has plenty of scorers and size, but the Heels might have the top big man in this matchup. Armando Bacot has been a beast on the backboard and in the paint. The double-double machine has been a solid rim protector as well.

The Boilermakers will be a challenge, but cutting down on the turnovers and feeding the beast down low will be vital. The Tar Heels have run into problems this season when their inability to get shots off in half-court. In turn, possessions have allowed easy buckets for the opposition.

The turnovers haven’t cost them yet, but the turnover margin could be better. The dead-ball turnovers are not costly, but the live ones often lead to easy layups, dunks, or open looks for three.

Caleb Love has put together an exceptional start to his sophomore season due to court awareness.

The Carolina guard has passed on shots from the perimeter and taken higher percentage shots. Love has put his head down and made more straight-line drives to the basket. The numbers back up his improvement as well.

  • 19.0 PPG
  • 4.3 APG
  • 44.4 FG%
  • 33.7 MPG

Why Purdue Will Win

Having a dominant big or two on the basketball court helps, and Purdue has plenty of it. Zach Edey (7’1) and Trevion Williams (6’10) are two of the dozen best bigs in the country.

Some NBA frontlines could struggle against them, but the Big Ten will have their issues this season. When Florida State out of the ACC has to defend the Boilermakers, it could be a sight to be seen.

The ACC has had their fair share of NBA frontlines, but North Carolina lacks the depth their best teams have had in years past. There are no freshmen McDonald’s All-American awaiting their turn on the bench.

Edey and Williams could go off for 40 points and 20 rebounds, but they can dominate the glass and get the opposition in foul trouble. Their combined numbers thus far will be one of the better storylines of the season as they are in pursuit of getting to their first Final Four under Matt Painter.

  • Combined PPG: 30.4
  • Combined RPG: 19.6
  • Combined FG%: 72.7%

Purdue is No. 4 in Rebound Margin thus far, but they will have their hands full with the Carolina bigs. Bacot, Brady Manek, and Dawson Garcia can move their feet well.

The other advantage Purdue will have in this one will be the play of Jaden Ivey. Ivey is a future pro and can get to the cup at will.

Caleb Love or Leaky Black will probably be defending the top guard for the Boilermakers. The guard can create his own shot, and their ability to score in transition will be vital for Ivey.

North Carolina vs. Purdue Prediction

This game comes down to which team can limit the other from second and third opportunities. A pair of Top 20 squads will square off in a game that may have the paint decide this outcome. Edey and Williams against Garcia, Manek, and Bacot will be a fun one. Ivey and Love can trade baskets, but the one who shares the sugar will come out victorious. The turnaround and late-game heroics by UNC and Love in a thriller will be the result.

North Carolina vs. Purdue Pick

Pick
  • North Carolina (+6.5)
    -110
There will be a pair of Top 25 games played the following day. Villanova and Tennessee will be awaiting the winner and loser of UNC-PUR. One of these teams looks like they should grab one win, but the chance to win two looks better on the resume. Take the points with the Heels in this fun neutral-site matchup in Connecticut.

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