A rivalry is renewed on Saturday night in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with Duke taking the short trip to the Dean Center to face North Carolina.
All eyes will be on this top 10 showdown, and which player will show up in the biggest game of the season to date? I'm eyeing a few player props on emerging freshman Jared McCain, who can space out a vulnerable North Carolina defense that does most of its work on the interior.
Here are three player props that I'm eyeing for this Saturday showdown, with odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
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Best College Basketball Player Props for Duke vs. North Carolina
- Jared McCain OVER 11.5 points
- Mark Mitchell UNDER 11.5 points
- Armando Bacot OVER 8.5 reounds
Jared McCain OVER 11.5 points
Look for the freshman McCain to be leaned on heavily on offense against a North Carolina defense that is ripe with shooting regression. The Tar Heels are holding foes to a sub-27% three-point percentage in ACC play despite allowing the highest open three rate, per ShotQuality. A third of the Tar Heels shots allowed from beyond the arc are deemed "open," which can give McCain, a 40% shooter from distance, plenty of clean looks.
He has scored double figures in six of eight ACC games, going over this mark in four of them. If this game is played at the Tar Heels' preferred pace, fast, that can give plenty of opportunity for the freshman to clear this mark.
Mark Mitchell UNDER 11.5 points
Mitchell's role is up-and-down and I don't know if this figures to be a big outing for him against a UNC defense that is elite at defending the interior with veteran big man Armando Bacot patroling the middle.
Mitchell can't stretch the floor, he has hit four of 26 three's this season, but is an adept rebounder. However, with North Carolina's excellence on the glass, and the team's propensity to give up wide open shots from the perimeter, I believe that Duke passes on trying to put size out there and instead looks to space the floor.
The sophomore has had monster outings against the likes of Syracuse and Notre Dame, who can't defend the paint, but I think this game is where Mitchell posts a stat line below expectations.
Armando Bacot OVER 8.5 rebounds
The fifth year senior is one of the best rebounds in the country, averaging nearly 10 on the year, and I expect him to get plenty of work against Duke's middling rebounding unit.
UNC is 56th in offensive rebounding rate and 23rd in defensive rebounding rate. Duke doesn't focus much on grabbing second chances, 179th in offensive rebounding rate, but does do a great job on the defensive glass, 10th nationally. However, the team has rarely faced a team as aggressive as North Carolina at forcing second chances, and this can be a trigger point for the Tar Heels.
UNC is tops in ACC play in offensive rebounding rate, grabbing 36% of available second chances, headlined by Bacot's motor on the glass.
This is right below his season long average, but given the stakes are high I expect Bacot to get his full complement of minutes and to push for a double double.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.