The North Carolina Tar Heels take on the Alabama Crimson Tide. Check out our college basketball odds series for our North Carolina Alabama prediction and pick.

The North Carolina Tar Heels are not playing particularly well. They have finally lost a game, having dropped a decision to Iowa State this past Friday in Portland, but they weren’t playing at a high level before that loss. They did win five straight games, but they did not put their best foot forward. North Carolina failed to score 70 points in its opener against UNC-Wilmington. A few days later, the Charleston Cougars scored 50 points on them in the first half in Chapel Hill. North Carolina trailed by by seven at the half before rallying. North Carolina was down by four points to the Portland Pilots of the West Coast Conference with 5:40 left this past Thursday before finding a way to scratch out a late win. UNC still led by just three points in the final minute of play before surviving. Coach Hubert Davis has a lot of work to do at both ends of the floor. North Carolina committed a season-high 14 turnovers in the loss to Iowa State. The Tar Heels allowed 14 of the game’s final 18 points to lose a five-point lead in the closing three minutes of play. This team just doesn’t have the cohesion and the rhythm one would expect after making the run to the national championship game last spring and looking like an elite team.

Keep in mind that when sports analysts and basketball coaches talk about rhythm, it’s not just about offense or shooting. Defense requires a rhythm as well, with all five players rotating and communicating seamlessly. North Carolina has to develop a rhythm on defense as well as offense. Nothing about this team is truly in sync. This team has to work hard to build back the chemistry it found last March, when it solved its longstanding problems — problems which still existed early in February — and became a totally transformed team.

Alabama had the chemistry issues last season which North Carolina also wrestled with. The difference was that North Carolina was able to figure things out in March. Alabama did not. North Carolina was an 8 seed last spring. Alabama was a 6 seed and got bounced by Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Now Alabama is trying to build back the cohesion it had in the 2021 season, when it was a No. 2 seed and the double SEC champions — champions of both the SEC regular season and the SEC Tournament. Coach Nate Oats is trying to juggle his roster combinations to find the right fit, but he didn’t have them in an 82-67 loss to Connecticut this past Friday in Portland.

Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the North Carolina-Alabama College Basketball odds.

College Basketball Odds: North Carolina-Alabama Odds

North Carolina Tar Heels: +0.5 (-108)

Alabama Crimson Tide: -0.5 (-112)

Over: 155.5 (+100)

Under: 155.5 (-122)

Why North Carolina Could Cover the Spread

This is a pick ’em game, and one can easily say that Alabama’s issues are more pervasive and worrisome than North Carolina’s. You can make an anti-Alabama pick, not necessarily a pro-North Carolina pick.

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Why Alabama Could Cover the Spread

The Tar Heels are a mess. You can make an anti-Carolina pick and not trust the Tar Heels instead of thinking Alabama has it all figured out. The loser might be worse, instead of the winner being better.

Final North Carolina-Alabama Prediction & Pick

North Carolina’s lack of cohesion is really surprising, but it’s reality thus far in the season. The Tar Heels aren’t going to solve their problems right away. Alabama did get drilled by UConn, but UConn looks like a really good team right now. Don’t punish the Tide for losing to UConn, which is (by the way) favored to beat the Iowa State team which defeated North Carolina two days ago. Go with Bama here.

Final North Carolina-Alabama Prediction & Pick: Alabama -0.5