Tar Heels catch Hoosiers at vulnerable time
It’s bad enough that Indiana succumbed to middling Fort Wayne last week. Now, though, Tom Crean’s troops may have to face No. 3 North Carolina without their leading scorer.
Junior guard James Blackmon Jr. continues to battle a left knee injury, casting a long shadow over tonight’s Big Ten-ACC showdown. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives the visiting Tar Heels odds of -240 to emerge victorious. The Hoosiers, on the other hand, represent +200 underdogs.
Blackmon Jr. made it through that 71-68 overtime loss to the Mastodons unscathed. However, persistent discomfort forced the 21-year-old to miss Sunday’s 85-52 shellacking of Mississippi Valley State. A torn ACL cost him almost the entire 2015-16 season, too.
IU (4-1) obviously needs all available resources against Roy Williams’ bunch. Coming off a 71-56 rout of Wisconsin, UNC’s pouring in 92.9 points a contest. Five Tar Heels average in double figures, with upperclassmen Justin Jackson, Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks spearheading the charge.
The Assembly Hall crowd should keep Indiana laser-focused throughout this evening’s tilt. Still, Blackmon Jr.’s precarious health situation takes precedence. Lean toward North Carolina (7-0) by a rather comfortable margin.
WEDNESDAY NCAA FREE PICK: NORTH CAROLINA -6