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North Carolina’s Luke Maye (32) and Kenny Williams battle Syracuse’s Oshae Brissett  for a rebound Tuesday (Ben McKeown)
North Carolina’s Luke Maye (32) and Kenny Williams battle Syracuse’s Oshae Brissett for a rebound Tuesday (Ben McKeown)|Associated Press
NCAAB

ACC Saturday: Eckel Splitting the Oranges

Syracuse-Wake Forest / North Carolina-Clemson

Mark Eckel

There’s a full slate of games in the ACC Saturday and we’re looking at a couple of them. We like one team in Orange and don’t like another.

SYRACUSE (-8) at WAKE FOREST, 12 p.m.
Pick: Syracuse (-8)

Syracuse (18-10) is coming off back-to-back losses to powers Duke and North Carolina and now gets a much-needed breather against lowly Wake Forest (11-16).

The Orange is a respectable 5-3 on the road this year and an even better 6-2 on the road against the spread. Wake has played better of late, winning two of the three, but the Demon Deacons are 6-8 at home against the spread and could be ready to get blown out.

Eight points is a bit much to lay on the road, but look for a big game from the Orange’s Jersey native Tyus Battle (17.6) as Syracuse improves its position for the ACC tournament and cements a spot in the Big Dance.

NORTH CAROLINA (-4) at CLEMSON, 6 p.m.
Pick:
North Carolina (-4)

Don’t worry about this game being at Clemson. North Carolina is 9-1 on the road this year and has covered nine of the 10 as well. Clemson, while 12-3 at home, is just 6-9 against the spread at home.

The Tar Heels (23-5) are also 8-2-1 against the number in their last 11 games against the Tigers (17-11).

North Carolina, as is often the case, is getting hot at the right time of the year. The Heels have a good shot to win the ACC regular-season title and, if they do, could earn a No. 1 seed in the big tourney. They can’t afford to stumble in this spot.

Clemson has been one of the more predictable teams this season. Other than a tough loss to Miami and an upset win against Virginia Tech, the Tigers pretty much do what is expected of them. They win when they’re supposed to win. And they lose (seven of their 11 losses are to top 25 teams) when they’re supposed to lose. Saturday they’re supposed to lose.