Saturday college basketball odds: North Carolina at No. 18 NC State

Preseason ACC favorite NC State is struggling, having lost two of its past three games, and the loser of Saturday’s game between the Wolfpack and North Carolina will find itself three games behind conference-leading Miami in the ACC loss column, which is probably too much to make up. Check our current lines.

NC State was upset 86-84 at Wake Forest on Tuesday and is in danger of falling out of the Top 25 with a loss here. N.C. State led by 16 points in the first half and 12 at halftime, then the Demon Deacons rallied to take a 10-point lead before the Wolfpack’s frantic final push to set up a tense finish. The win also managed to deny N.C. State its first 5-1 ACC start since 1988-89. Freshman Rodney Purvis scored 18 points to lead the Wolfpack, who fell to 1-2 since upsetting top-ranked Duke on Jan 12. Fellow rookie T.J. Warren scored 14 points, while C.J. Leslie scored 13 despite playing just 18 minutes due to foul trouble.

North Carolina will get back into the Top 25 with a win. The Heels enter off a 79-63 win over Georgia Tech on Wednesday. Reggie Bullock scored 17 points, P.J. Hairston had 15 points and James Michael McAdoo added 14 for the Tar Heels (13-5, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference). The Tar Heels never trailed and shot nearly 43 percent (30 of 70) to move above .500 in league play for the first time this season.

The Tar Heels lead the all-time series with NC State, 147-75. Carolina has beaten the Wolfpack the last 13 times the teams have played and in 19 of the last 20 meetings in the series (with 14 of those 19 wins coming by double figures). Carolina is 58-44 all-time against NC State in Raleigh, including a 10-3 mark in the RBC Center. Carolina has won 13 of its last 16 games against the Wolfpack in Raleigh, losing in 2007, 2003 and 2002 since 1996. UNC’s current 13-game winning streak over NCSU is its longest streak against the Wolfpack, surpassing an 11-game streak from Feb. 10, 1934, to Feb. 22, 1938. The Tar Heels have won 36 of their last 44 games against the Wolfpack.

WagerWeb.com trends: Tar Heels are 5-0 ATS in the last 5 meetings in N.C. State. Tar Heels are 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings. Favorite is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings. Over is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings in N.C. State. Under is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings. Road team is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings.

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