|College Basketball Odds: Kent State at North Carolina Spread, Preview & Public Picks|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Wednesday, 02 January 2008 03:27|
One Final Tune Up
North Carolina is off to its best start in a decade, but the tough part of its schedule is just around the corner.
The top-ranked Tar Heels get one final tuneup before their conference schedule begins as they host Kent State on Wednesday.
Oddsmakers from Bodog have made North Carolina -21 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 81% of bets for this game have been placed on North Carolina -21 (View College Basketball bet percentages).
North Carolina (13-0) is off to its best start since winning 17 in a row to start the 1997-98 season. The Tar Heels rank second in the nation with 92.4 points per game and are defeating their opponents by an average of 23.2 points - 34.3 in their last three games.
They will be trying to match their longest winning streak under coach Roy Williams, who is in his fifth season at North Carolina. His 2004-05 team, which won the school's last national championship, won 14 straight.
The Tar Heels have been on top of the rankings since the preseason poll, and their nine-game run at No. 1 is their longest since a 13-week stretch in 1985-86. They play their conference opener on Sunday at No. 19 Clemson.
Tyler Hansbrough had 23 points and 13 rebounds in Sunday's 90-58 win over Valparaiso. Hansbrough, who leads the ACC with averages of 22.2 points and 9.8 rebounds, was named the league's co-player of the week along with Florida State's Toney Douglas.
Hansbrough has won the award five times in his career and four times this season.
Danny Green added a career high-tying 20 points off the bench, and Deon Thompson added 11 points and eight rebounds. Green helped spark a 27-2 run in the second half that Williams called "probably our best basketball of the year."
"You look down and we had a lot of plus moments from a lot of different kids," said Williams, who will coach his 150th game at North Carolina on Wednesday.
The Tar Heels played their first game without reserve guard Bobby Frasor, who was lost for the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee in Thursday's 106-70 win over Nevada. Senior guard Quentin Thomas also missed the game after spraining his ankle in practice on Friday and is questionable for Wednesday's contest.
Junior swingman Marcus Ginyard, the team's top individual defender, was forced into duty at point guard behind Ty Lawson.
"It's a little frustrating to lose Bobby to say the least, and then lose Thomas the next day at practice to a sprained ankle," Williams said. "I'm not sure right now whether he'll be able to play Wednesday or not."
The Tar Heels, who are playing their fifth straight at the Dean Smith Center, have won 20 straight non-conference home games. They have won both of their previous matchups against Kent State (10-2), but have not faced the Golden Flashes since 1978.
However, Kent State shouldn't figure to be a pushover - the Golden Flashes have won seven straight, including Saturday's 84-69 win over Cleveland State. They have not lost since a 78-65 loss to Xavier on Nov. 23.
Mike Scott, who leads the team with 14.7 points per game, had 17 while Al Fisher, the Mid-American Conference East Division player of the week, had 15 points and 10 assists. The Golden Flashes hit a season-high 11 3-pointers.
"Every 3 we took was a good one. I don't evaluate how many we take, I look at the quality of the 3," coach Jim Christian told Kent State's official team Web site.
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