College Basketball Picks: North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Florida State Seminoles

No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels at Florida State Seminoles
Saturday, 1/14/12, 2:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  North Carolina -8
Current Betting Line:  North Carolina -8
Opening Total:  142
Current Total:  142
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Florida State Seminoles have one of the best defenses in the country

North Carolina will play its first Atlantic Coast Conference road game Saturday in Tallahassee, which will also serve as its first game away from Chapel Hill in 42 days.  The Tar Heels just finished off a perfect 9-0 homestand, which includes a 73-56 win over the Miami Hurricanes as 16.5-point favorites.  “Our bench has been really great for us this year with giving us big jolts when they come in there,” stated Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams.  The program has won 18 of its last 21 conference games, including two wins to start this year.  North Carolina is 6-2 ATS on the road.

The Tar Heels own a commanding advantage in this series, posting a 42-10 record, including a 32-9 mark since the two teams became ACC rivals.  North Carolina currently  has a five-game winning streak in Tallahassee, with the last four being absolute thrillers.    Harrison Barnes hit a three-pointer with three second remaining to give the team a 72-70 win inside the Tucker Center last year as 2.5-point road favorites.  North Carolina dominated the glass by finishing with a 39-28 edge in rebounding.

Florida State will host ESPN College GameDay on Saturday and comes off a solid 63-59 win over the Virginia Tech Hokies as four-point road underdogs.  The Seminoles defense played incredibly well in the victory, holding the Hokies to 30.5 percent shooting from the field and 16.7 percent from three-point range.  “We’ve been up and down,” commented Seminoles head coach Leonard Hamilton.  Senior Bernard James was the star of the show, scoring a career-high tying 18 points.  Florida State is 4-1-1 ATS in its last six conference games.

The Seminoles have the third-best winning percentage in the ACC over the last four years, averaging 23.3 wins per year since the 2008-09 campaign.  Florida State enters Saturday’s game with 21 wins over nationally ranked teams in the first 10 years of the Hamilton era.  There’s no doubt that defense is the name of the game around this program, ranking third nationally in field goal percentage defense.

Bettors will likely back the Seminoles due to their 6-1 ATS mark in the last seven meetings, while the favorite is 2-5 ATS in that same span of games in this series.

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