College Basketball Picks: North Carolina Tar Heels at Illinois Fighting Illini

North Carolina Tar Heels at Illinois Fighting Illini
Tuesday, 11/30/10, 9:30 PM EDT, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Illinois -5.5
Current Betting Line:  Illinois -6.5
Opening Total:  147.5
Current Total:  148.5
Current Moneyline:  Illinois -275 / North Carolina +23

North Carolina is a 6.5-point road underdog in facing the Illinois Fighting Illini in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge

North Carolina will play its first road game of the 2010-11 season on Tuesday night when it visits Assembly Hall in Champaign, Illinois for a ACC-Big Ten Challenge contest against Illinois.  This is the fourth time the Illini and Tar Heels are meeting in the Challenge, with tonight’s home team holding a 2-1 advantage.  The last matchup was on November 29, 2005 when the Illini won 68-64 in Chapel Hill.  North Carolina leads the all-time series 4-3.  The Tar Heels have gone 3-0 at home on the year and 1-2 in a trio of neutral site games in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off the week before Thanksgiving.  The team will be playing its second game in three nights after beating College of Charleston 74-69 at home on Sunday night.  Carolina is 31-43 ATS over the last three years and the NCAA basketball lines page has them as an underdog tonight.

Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams has a career record of 4-3 against the Fighting Illini, including a 2-1 mark at Carolina and 2-2 record at Kansas.  He has never coached a game against Illinois in Champaign as a head coach.  The program has won six of its seven games in the Challenge since he became head coach in Chapel Hill, including wins in four straight.  That is a vast improvement from the squad’s 0-4 mark in the first four years of the event.  It’s important to point out that the Tar Heels 2010-11 roaster does not included a scholarship senior and is the first team since 2003-04 without one.

Illinois has produced a 4-7 all-time record in the Challenge and this will be the fifth time it has played at home, producing an even 2-2 mark in the previous four games.  The Fighting Illini have won three straight games since losing to Texas at Madison Square Garden and are second in the Big Ten in scoring at 80.4 points per game.  The team is coming off an impressive 78-63 road win over Western Michigan, committing a season-low 10 turnovers in the contest.  “We had it all going, offense, defense, transition,” said head coach Bruce Weber.  Illinois is 4-3 ATS as a favorite this year and 21-24 ATS over the last three campaigns.

The Fighting Illini have been dominant at home offensively, shooting 53.1 percent in four games at Assembly Hall.  Illinois is outscoring opponents by an average of 25.3 points in home games.  One of the reasons for the team’s dominance over opponents early on has been the bench, outscoring the opposing bench in every game this season.  The reserves are averaging 28.9 points per game, outscoring the opponents’ reserves by an average of 13.8 points per contest.

Bettors will be interested in knowing that the Tar Heels are 7-1 ATS versus the Big Ten, while the Fighting Illini are 1-4 ATS versus the ACC.

The college basketball handicappers at Maddux Sports are rolling this season and ready for you to join them today!

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