No. 7 North Carolina Tar Heels at Virginia Cavaliers
Saturday, 2/24/12, 4:00 PM EST, TV: ESPN
Opening Point Spread: North Carolina -3
Current Betting Line: North Carolina -3.5
Opening Total: 128
Current Total: 128
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
North Carolina will try to keep pace with Duke atop the ACC standings and will also be looking to win its sixth consecutive road game in conference play. The Tar Heels captured a decisive 70-52 win over the Virginia Cavaliers in the first meeting this year as nine-point home favorites, while going “under” the total for the seventh consecutive time in the series. The program is a dominating 46-24 on the road in conference play in nine seasons under current head coach Roy Williams. North Carolina is 2-5 ATS on Saturdays.
The Tar Heels have won eight of their last nine games against the Cavaliers, while also posting a 2-0 record inside John Paul Jones Arena over that span. North Carolina has won three games in a row in Charlottesville, including a 62-56 win as 6.5-point road favorites last year. Tyler Zeller is certainly a player to watch offensively in this particular contest, as he scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the first meeting. The program is the only one in the ACC that has a perfect record inside Saturday’s venue, winning all three previous affairs.
Virginia has put together a two-game win streak since dropping back-to-back games, including a 61-59 win over the Virginia Tech Hokies as two-point road favorites. The Cavaliers have managed to go “under” the total in five of their last six games. Senior forward Mike Scott is averaging 17.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, coming into this weekend as the conference’s active leader in those two categories for his career. “I’m so proud of him,” commented Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett about Scott. “Mike is having a terrific year.” Virginia is 11-4 ATS when playing on Saturday.
The Cavaliers have amassed a perfect 17-0 record when scoring at least 60 points this season, while going 24-2 when hitting at least the 70-point plateau during Bennett’s time on the sidelines. Virginia is second in the nation in scoring defense and seventh in allowing opponents to shoot just 28.6 percent from beyond the arc. Scott ranks in the top 10 in the ACC in scoring, rebounding and field-goal percentage.
Bettors will likely back the Cavaliers due to the underdog being 5-2-1 ATS in the last eight meetings, while the Tar Heels are 2-5-1 ATS in that same period.
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