Roy Williams will coach his 1,000th collegiate game when third-ranked North Carolina visits No. 10 Indiana on Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Williams – who is 790-209 in 29 seasons at both Kansas and North Carolina – and the Tar Heels are 7-0 to start a season for the first time since 2008-09 after winning the Maui Invitational in Hawaii.
“I’m not jumping on any boat trying to figure out how great we are,” Williams told the Raleigh News & Observer. “We stink it up with the rest of them. We’ve just got to get better every day. I’ve never seen a national championship won the day before Thanksgiving.” Junior guard Joel Berry II leads five players scoring in double figures (17.1) for North Carolina and will get his biggest challenge against the Hoosiers, who own a victory over No. 5 Kansas and boast a similarly deep, experienced lineup. However, the Tar Heels may not have to face Indiana’s leading scorer James Blackmon Jr. (20.5), who suffered a knee injury last week and is questionable after missing Sunday’s win over Mississippi Valley State. The Hoosiers lost to North Carolina in the Eastern Regional final of the NCAA Tournament last season without Blackmon and Robert Johnson, but routed the Tar Heels 83-59 in their last matchup in Bloomington, Ind. in 2012.
TV: 9:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
LINE HISTORY: The Tar Heels opened as 3-point road favorites and that spread was quickly bumped up to 4 on Wednesday morning. The total opened at 163 and has yet to move. Check out the complete line history here.
North Carolina – F L. Maye (Questionable, ankle), F T. Pinson (Early Feb, foot).
Indiana – G J. Blackmon Jr. (Probable, knee), F C. Hartman (Out Indefinitely, knee).
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Tar Heels (-18) – Hoosiers (-13.8) + home court (-3) = North Carolina -1.2
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (7-0 SU, 5-1-1 ATS, 2-4 O/U): Berry was the MVP of the Maui Invitational after totaling 46 points in victories over Oklahoma State and Wisconsin to close out the eight-team tournament. Senior forward Kennedy Meeks also came up big in Hawaii, recording 15 points and 11.3 rebounds per game to make the all-tournament team, and is averaging a double-double in the first seven contests (13.7, 10.7). Junior swingman Justin Jackson (15.4 points) has also been quite productive while senior forward Isaiah Hicks (14.6) is shooting 66.2 percent from the field.
ABOUT INDIANA (4-1 SU, 1-2 ATS, 2-1 O/U): Coach Tom Crean told reporters the team would be patient with Blackmon’s injury: “This is not a situation where we don’t expect him back (for a long time). It’s not like that at all. We’ve just got to work through it.” Three other players are averaging in double figures, led by Johnson (13.8, 60.5 percent shooting) and sophomore center Thomas Bryant (13.6, 8.2 rebounds). Pittsburgh transfer Josh Newkirk may have to contribute more than his 7.2 points per game if Blackmon is out, but the junior guard has drained 7-of-11 from 3-point range.
* Tar Heels are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games following a straight up win.
* Hoosiers are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games as a home underdog.
* Under is 6-1 in Tar Heels last 7 games as a road favorite.
* Over is 5-1 in Hoosiers last 6 games as a home underdog.
* Tar Heels are 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The road favorites North Carolina are picking up 54 percent of the early action from Covers users. The under is getting 63 percent of the totals action. View full consensus data here.