Tar Heels on a Slide

The last time North Carolina lost consecutive home games, Boston College was partially responsible.

The fourth-ranked Tar Heels look to avoid dropping two straight at the Smith Center for the first time in more than two years Thursday night when they face the struggling Eagles.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made North Carolina -19 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 79% of bets for this game have been placed on Boston College +19 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

North Carolina (19-1, 4-1 ACC), which lost its No. 1 ranking following an 82-80 home defeat to Maryland on Jan. 19, returns to the court after an eight-day layoff. The Tar Heels had no trouble rebounding from their first loss of the season as they rolled to a 98-82 victory at Miami on Jan. 23 behind a stellar performance from star forward Tyler Hansbrough.

Hansbrough scored 27 of his season-high 35 points after halftime, shooting 8-for-10 from the field and 11-for-12 from the foul line in the final 20 minutes.

"My confidence was good tonight," Hansbrough said. "But also, I'm still frustrated about some things from last game."

Hansbrough fell five points shy of his career high after he was limited to 17 points while shooting 6-for-15 from the floor in the loss to Maryland.

"I think he's been pressing a little bit, thinking that he has to score against two guys, three guys, 21 guys," coach Roy Williams said. "And tonight, he passed it. ... I think he was trying to do a little bit too much and he got in the flow tonight. Needless to say, he was good."

The win over Miami was North Carolina's 13th 90-plus point performance this season. The Tar Heels, averaging 91.4 points, are on pace to be the highest scoring team in school history, slightly ahead of the 1986-87 squad (91.3).

North Carolina has averaged 96.2 points while winning nine of 10 home games this season. The Tar Heels are shooting 49.4 percent from the field, while outrebounding the opposition by 14.3 boards per game at the Smith Center.

The Tar Heels haven't dropped two in a row at home since Jan. 14 and 25, 2006, when the first loss was to Miami and the second came at the hands of Boston College (12-6, 3-2). That Eagles team, however, was ranked 20th and on its way to a 24-6 regular-season record.

Excluding season-ending defeats, North Carolina is 24-4 following a loss under Williams.

Boston College is coming off an 81-73 overtime loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday, its second straight defeat and fourth in six games.

Tyrese Rice scored 27 points and Rakim Sanders added 17 for the Eagles, who haven't lost three in a row since Feb. 14-21 last season.

Keeping pace with high-powered North Carolina could be a problem for Boston College, which averages 73.8 points per game - seventh in the ACC.

The Eagles have split two games this season against ranked teams, losing to then-No. 3 Kansas on Jan. 5 before beating 21st-ranked Miami on Jan. 15. Boston College's last victory over a top 10 opponent was an 85-82 win over then-No. 10 North Carolina on March 11, 2006.

North Carolina won both meetings last season against Boston College, including a 71-56 victory on March 10 in the semifinals of the ACC tournament.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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