UNC Tar Heels vs. BC Eagles Preview and Pick – Point Spread – Betting Odds

North Carolina Tar Heels (14-12 SU, 7-16 ATS) vs. Boston College Eagles (12-13 SU, 9-12 ATS), 12:00 p.m. EST, Saturday, February 20, 2010, Silvio O. Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, Mass. TV: CBS
by Ryno of Predictem.com

Point Spread: North Carolina +3.5/Boston College -3.5
Over/Under: 143.5

Who would have thought the North Carolina Tar Heels would be playing for a spot in the NIT in late February? Well, the they are! Unless they win each of their last five games and make a deep run in the ACC tournament, they have virtually no chance of making the NCAA tournament. In the last seven weeks, the Heels have lost to the College of Charleston and lost by double-digits to Clemson, Wake Forest, Virginia, Maryland, Duke and Georgia Tech. Other than a home win over Virginia Tech on January 10, they haven’t defeated an NCAA tournament-level team since a win over Michigan State on December 1. This is certainly not even close to the same team that won the National Championship this season. Boston College is by no means a quality team this season, but the Eagles have the same conference record (3-8) as the Heels and have a chance to knock them off in Chestnut Hill on Saturday afternoon.

Boston College has lost four games in a row, eight of its last 10, and nine of its last 12. The Heels have similarly lost five of their last six games, eight of their last 10, and nine of their last 12. UNC’s only conference wins have come over NC State (twice) and Virginia Tech. The Heels’ win at NC State is their only road win all season long. BC’s conference wins have come over Miami (twice) and Clemson.

In BC’s last game, the Eagles lost 62-47 at Florida State on Sunday. The game was tied at the half but the Seminoles pulled away in the second half. Joe Trapani had 17 points and seven rebounds, and Rakim Sanders scored 12 points. The Eagles only shot 33 percent from the field and 6-for-18 from 3-point range. They got out-rebounded by nine, committed 19 turnovers, and only got to the free throw line eight times. Florida State shot 44 percent from the field and 6-for-24 from 3-point range.

UNC is coming off a 68-51 loss at Georgia Tech on Tuesday. Deon Thompson had 17 points, and John Henson had 11 points and 10 rebounds in the freshman’s second start of the season. The Heels shot just 32 percent from the field and 3-for-15 from 3-point range. They also shot just 10-of-24 from the free throw line. They forced 20 turnovers but committed 19 turnovers and got out-rebounded by five. They allowed Georgia Tech to shoot 45 percent from the field and 6-for-15 from 3-point range. If the Heels continue to shoot 32 percent from the field and 20 percent from 3-point range and commit 19 turnovers, they won’t be winning any games the rest of this season.

Both of these teams have a worse than -2 turnover margin in conference play. The Heels are +2 in rebounding margin in conference play, while the Eagles are barely better than even. The Heels are shooting 31 percent on 3-pointers in conference play and allowing opponents to shoot 37 percent. The Eagles are shooting even worse in conference play from beyond the arc at 29 percent, but they are also holding opponents to 29 percent. UNC is shooting 41 percent from the field in ACC play and allowing opponents to shoot 43 percent, while BC is shooting 43 percent in conference play and its opponents are shooting 47 percent. The strengths for the Heels in this game will be down low, so they need to pound the ball inside to Thompson, Davis, Zeller (is probable after being injured for the past few weeks) and Henson. They can’t afford to settle for outside shots. BC will need to take care of the ball and try to force the UNC guards into some turnovers out front to lead to easy baskets for the Eagles.

UNC is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games following an ATS loss, 1-5 ATS in its last six games overall, and 1-6 ATS in its last seven road games. BC is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 home games. The under is 4-1 in the last five meetings between these teams. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five games between these teams, the underdog is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings, and UNC is 2-5 ATS in the last seven meetings.

Ryno’s Pick: UNC has been horrible this year. Boston College is not a great team, but they do perform well on their home court. Look for BC to cover the spread.