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North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Northern Kentucky Norse Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/27/13

Northern Kentucky Norse (4-7) at North Carolina Tar Heels (8-3)

College Basketball: Friday, December 27, 2013 at 7:00 pm (Dean Smith Center)

The Line: North Carolina Tar Heels -27.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds


The 4-7 Northern Kentucky Norse visit the 19th ranked North Carolina Tar Heels in Friday night action from the Dean Dome at 7PM on ESPNU.

The Norse are in the midst of a three game win streak after starting off the year a troubling 1-7.  The Norse have scored 68+ points in all three wins during that streak and most recently prevailed 72-65 over Navy this past week.  In that contest, Northern Kentucky overcame a 6 point halftime deficit by scoring 49 in the second half as they rallied for the win.  Four of the Norse’s starting five scored in double figures with Jalen Billups and Todd Johnson leading the way with 16 points each.  Billups added 11 boards and Jordan Jackson was strong in the all purpose game, putting up 11 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.  The Norse finished the game 51% from the field, but left quite a few points at the line, finishing 59% there.  The Norse should benefit from this streak and be about as loose as they can as they roll into hostile territory Friday evening.

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Northern Kentucky Norse Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/27/13

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina’s roller coaster season was on full display last Saturday as Davidson rolled to town and pushed the Heels to the brink before a 18-6 run by UNC in OT sealed the win 97-85.  These two squads traded baskets from the tip -- both teams shot it just under 50% from the game, but Davidson’s ability to knock down the 3 ball is really what kept them in it.  UNC allowed 9 Wildcat threes for the game to just 3 of their own.  J.P. Tokoto led the Heels with 22 and 11 to go along with 5 steals and 4 blocks. Marcus Paige added 17, 6 and 5 and James Michael McAdoo chipped in 19 and 7 boards.  The Heels forced Davidson into 22 turnovers (11 steals, 11 blocks) and really ramped up their D in the extra session to cement the victory.

Some trends to consider - Northern Kentucky is 1-4 against the spread in their last 5 games overall and UNC is 9-2 against the spread in their last 11 Friday night games.

While UNC has struggled with the likes of Belmont, UAB, and Davidson early on this season, those teams are on a different level talent wise than Northern Kentucky and while I think the Norse can and will hand tough for about a half, the Heels are far too deep and talented to keep this one close for long.  Look for McAdoo to lead the way down low and Marcus Paige to make a push for double digit assists against a smaller Northern Kentucky team as the Heels get the cover at home.

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North Carolina -27.5

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