Texas Longhorns at No. 6 North Carolina Tar Heels
Wednesday, 12/21/11, 7:00 PM EST, TV: ESPN2
Opening Point Spread: North Carolina -12
Current Betting Line: North Carolina -10.5
Opening Total: 153
Current Total: 155.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Texas takes to the road for the first time since picking up a 69-59 win over the UCLA Bruins as two-point underdogs and comes off an impressive 77-65 home victory over the Temple Owls. “I don’t know if anything has clicked, but we have steadily improved,” commented Longhorns senior Clint Chapman. “That happens when you have a young team like this.” Head coach Rick Barnes starts three freshmen, but are led by junior guard J’Covan Brown, who is averaging 19.3 points per game. Texas is 6-6 ATS as an underdog over the past two-plus seasons.
The Longhorns will be meeting the Tar Heels for the seventh time and have won four straight contests in a series that dates back to the 1992-93 season. Texas has been an absolute force on the boards over the last four contests, recording a +16.8 rebounding margin. Barnes’ squad has always been strong defensively, allowing an average of just 62.5 points per game on 36.5 percent shooting. Offensively, the team has had five different players lead the squad in scoring during its current seven-game win streak.
North Carolina is set to play its third game in five nights in hosting Texas and will look for its first win in this series since Nov. 24, 1994, in the Smith Center. The Tar Heels simply overwhelmed lesser competition in the past two games to get ready for this high-profile matchup. “I thought we were going to come out with a little more fire than we did, just getting prepared for Texas,” commented Longhorns sophomore Reggie Bullock. North Carolina is 10-7 ATS in December the last two-plus seasons.
The Tar Heels have really made some headway this year from beyond the arc, shooting 39 percent as a team, which is greatly improved from their 32.8 percent mark from a year ago. North Carolina has hit 10 or more three points twice through 12 games after going so just five times in 37 games a season ago. The program will put its 23-game win streak on the line tonight inside the Smith Center, which is the second-longest in the venue’s 26-year history. North Carolina hasn’t lost a home game to a non-ACC opponent in over six years inside the venue.
Bettors will likely back the Longhorns due to their 6-1 ATS mark as an underdog, while the Tar Heels are 1-4 ATS as a home favorite of 7 to 12.5 points.
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