NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Boston College - Tarheels Favored
The fourth-ranked Tar Heels hope to show that won't be the case this season, though they may be without a key player as they try to knock No. 21 Boston College off its perch atop the league standings when the teams meet on Saturday.
Oddsmakers have made North Carolina -6 point spread favorites (College Basketball Odds) for todays game, the over/under
has been set at 157 total points (View College Basketball Sports Books).
Freshman forward Brandan Wright hurt his right shoulder in North Carolina's practice Thursday when he collided with teammates, coach Roy Williams said. Wright, the team's second-leading scorer and rebounder with 14.6 points and 6.6 boards per game, missed practice Friday and will be a game-time decision.
Wright also leads the Tar Heels with 42 blocks and his potential absence could open up the lane more for Eagles star forward Jared Dudley, the ACC's top scorer at 19.6 points per game.
Dudley is a big reason Boston College won both meetings with North Carolina in 2005-06, including an 85-82 victory in the semifinals of the conference tournament on March 11. Including a 75-72 win on March 20, 1994 in the NCAA tournament, Boston College, now in its second season as a member of the ACC, has won three straight over the Tar Heels and leads the all-time series 3-2.
Dudley had 21 points against North Carolina in the ACC tournament after scoring 17 in the first meeting last season, an 81-74 win on Jan. 25. North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough had 26 points in the first game and 23 in the second.
If the Tar Heels (22-4, 8-3) can win this time, they would take over at least a share of first place in the ACC. Boston College (18-7, 9-3) currently has a half-game lead over North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
The Tar Heels are coming off Tuesday's 81-80 overtime defeat to Virginia Tech, their first loss in 15 home games this season. Hansbrough, who leads North Carolina with 18.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, had 22 points and eight boards.
"We just didn't make the big plays that we needed," Hansbrough said. "I missed a free throw that would have been big for us.
"It was a home game, it was against a team that beat us at their place, and it just felt like before the game that this would be our chance to come back out here and prove that we could be a better team."
Freshman Ty Lawson, who had 13 points, was blocked twice in the final seconds of overtime. The Tar Heels' only other losses came against Gonzaga in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off in New York on Nov. 22, at Virginia Tech on Jan. 13 and at North Carolina State on Feb. 3.
"I did absolutely the worst job I've ever done in my entire life," said Williams, whose team ranks second in the nation with 88.1 points per game. "It was just one awful, awful job of coaching by me - that's the bottom line of the whole thing."
Boston College, which returned to the Top 25 on Monday after dropping out in late November, had a four-game winning streak snapped with a 78-70 loss to Duke on Wednesday.
The Eagles fell to 13-3 at home, where they have outscored opponents by an average of nearly 13 points. Dudley had only 11 points, including just one basket in the first half as BC fell behind by 11.
"It was just a bad first half," coach Al Skinner said. "There was nothing we did particularly well in the first half, and even at the start of the second."
Sean Marshall led the Eagles with 23 points and Tyrese Rice had 22.
"Tyrese was scoring and Sean was scoring, but they had to work for their baskets," Dudley said. "(Duke) had the lobs and the kickouts. They had so many easy baskets."
by: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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