There are three games today on Thanksgiving with Michigan, Maryland and Iowa all set to face quality opponents in big games this Feast Week.
Game of the Day
#6 North Carolina Tar Heels vs Michigan Wolverines
- Time/TV: 1:30 PM ET (ESPN)
In the biggest game of the day, the North Carolina Tar Heels will take on the Michigan Wolverines in the Bahamas. For Michigan it’ll provide the biggest test of Juwan Howard's coaching career.
The Wolverines offense has been good so far this season and they’re coming off of an impressive performance against Iowa State that saw them shot 57.7% from the field and 47.6% from three. There’s plenty of talent on the Michigan roster, including the obvious options like Isaiah Livers and Jon Teske. It’ll be interesting to see how the roster and Juwan Howard take on a potential title contender in North Carolina, though, especially as Howard hasn’t coached in this situation before.
North Carolina has been oddly consistent on offense this season, scoring 76, 78, 77, 75 and 76 points through five games. Freshman Cole Anthony had a strong start with 82 points in the first three games, but only scored 22 total against Elon and Alabama. If Michigan can slow down Anthony it’ll go a long way as North Carolina didn’t exactly blow out Elon or Alabama with Anthony struggling. Of course North Carolina is filled with top level talent so they can still find ways to get it down, like with Garrison Brooks leading the team with 20 points and Armando Bacot adding 12 points and 15 rebounds yesterday.
Michigan has found ways to win games like these when people don’t give them much of a chance, but that was with John Beilein and we haven’t had a chance to see if Howard can work that same magic. The Michigan offense is playing well enough that it’s definitely a possibility, but it’s still hard to pick against the Tar Heels lineup here.
Expect a close game to the end with North Carolina doing just enough to take care of Michigan.
Pick: North Carolina
Temple Owls vs #5 Maryland Terrapins
- Time/TV: 11:00 AM ET (ESPN2)
Fifth ranked Maryland will face off against undefeated Temple in the first round of the Orland Invitational this morning.
The Owls have a new coach and have won their first games, including a road game against USC. Temple is led by a pair of guard in Nate Pierre-Louis and Quinton Rose, with the duo averaging 15.8 and 15.0 points per game. Luckily for Maryland, though, Temple doesn’t field a great shooting team as the Owls have only hit 39.1% of their field goals and 29.6% of their three pointers.
While Maryland has struggled from beyond the arc the team has still gone on to average 81.6 points per game and has a loaded backcourt that should provide more than enough firepower to get through Temple. Today should field a bigger challenge than the last several games, but there’s no reason Maryland shouldn’t pull away in the second for a comfortable win.
#12 Texas Tech Red Raiders vs Iowa Hawkeyes
- Time/TV: 8:00 PM ET (FS1)
The Hawkeyes have gotten off to a quick start on offense but now they’ll go up against a considerably more difficult opponent tonight when they face Texas Tech. Even more problematic is the news that they just lost sophomore Jack Nunge to a torn ACL.
The Red Raiders lost in the title game last year and seem to be continuing at the same level. Through five games the Red Raiders are 19th in field goal percentage, 5th in three percentage and 9th in scoring. While you might think you’re in for an offensive showcase from both sides, Texas Tech also has a strong defense, holding their opponents to 60.2 points per game.
Iowa’s Luka Garza is a force inside but the rest of the roster is likely going to be overmatched by a more talented Tech squad. Mix that with Texas Tech’s highly efficient offense and ability to hit from deep and it’s highly unlikely Iowa will be able to maintain pace for the entire night. Freshman guard Jahmius Ramsey is averaging 19.4 points per game and shooting 48% from three while the Red Raiders also have four other players averaging double figures. Expect a full out blitz from an explosive backcourt.
Iowa has enough firepower to likely keep pace for Texas Tech for most of the night, but it’ll require a near perfect outing if they want the upset. Texas Tech will be tested, but should be able to pick up the W.
Pick: Texas Tech