North Carolina Simply Too Tough: Take Tar Heels as Your NCAA Basketball Pick vs. UCLA

Charles Stark

Saturday, December 19, 2015 3:18 PM GMT

I can see why the NCAA basketball odds have come out making North Carolina such a strong favorite against UCLA. This looks to be a really fast-paced game.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: North Carolina -7.5
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

NCAA basketball odds have come out making the Tar Heels a solid -7 favorite. For my selection today I will take North Carolina minus the points to win this game by double digits. For me this is difficult game because I'm actually a North Carolina and Roy Williams fan so I need to check my heart at the door. Ultimately though when breaking the game down the value is on the Tar Heels.

 

North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina comes in averaging 85.3 points per game while shooting 49.5% on the field, and allowing 70.2 points per game on 41.7% from the field. They have really battled with some injury issues and tonight Kennedy Meeks will be out, but I don't think that will be such a major handicap because they are deep. The fact that they have Marcus Paige back in the lineup is a huge boost and offensively they don't really have any weaknesses. They are averaging 31.5 field goals made per game which ranks sixth in the country, and they move the ball as well as anybody averaging 19.3 assists per game which ranks 10th. Although they don't shoot the three a ton they are very efficient in their two point shooting at 54.6% per game. Defensively they have been good in their percentages as well even though they like to push tempo. Their scoring defense is something left to be desired ranking towards the middle in the country, but that really isn't an issue with the Tar Heels who have a +15.1 scoring margin which ranks 27th in the country. There are a couple areas they can improve on the defensive side, however they make up for a lot of it simply for how well they put the ball in the bucket. Rebounding is not a problem, and they limit teams second chances, allowing just 31.2 opponent total rebounds per game which ranks 22nd in the country.

 

UCLA Bruins
UCLA's averaging 80.4 points per game while shooting 47.2% from the field, and allowing 75 points per game on 41% shooting from the field. Steve offered has a talented team and they are very similar to North Carolina in many ways especially when it comes to pace, attempts, and rebounding. The Bruins are on a nice winning streak and I like the way they are playing right now, especially with the win at Gonzaga. I'm not putting a lot of stock into their win against Kentucky because I think they caught the Wildcats in a tough spot on their home floor. What I do like about UCLA is  offensively I think they have a chance to keep up with the Tar Heels with a very solid shooting percentage, and averaging 29.3 made field goals per game which ranks 33rd in the country. However, North Carolina will be just too difficult a matchup for them from the inside out. UCLA rebounds well averaging 41.2 per game which ranks 38th in the country, but defensively their statistics are not good enough to hang in today as they rank in the middle of the country in opponent shooting percentage, and opponent two point shooting percentage.

North Carolina is the type of team that can score in bunches in a hurry. Today for your NCAA pick I recommend backing them minus the points to run away with this game in the second half. Both teams have faced tough competition so far this season but North Carolina is simply the better team and we should see them focused and geared up to play a pretty good UCLA team.