North Carolina vs. Texas Pick NCAA Basketball – Dec 12th

Today is an absolutely loaded day of college hoops, with great action starting as early as noon and rolling all the way until after midnight on the East Coast with Gonzaga hosting UCLA. The highlight of the day for me is the renewal of the Crosstown Rivalry (ne: Shootout) between Xavier and Cincinnati. This game was moved to a neutral floor for a few season after a steady escalation in tension resulted in an embarrassing brawl and several players saying “that’s how we roll. We zip ‘em up” in a reference to body bags, in their post-game presser. Not exactly the look the tiny private Jesuit school was looking for, so overreactive-action was taken.

Alas, the rivalry is back on campus, at the Cintas Center, today on Fox at 5:30 PM, and if it is on Fox there is a good chance Gus Johnson may be there to have an aneurysm on the microphone, so a double-win for fans of college basketball and extreme excitement. Pencil me in for sure.

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Today’s Free Pick:

North Carolina Tarheels -6 at Texas Longhorns (Total: 153)

There are a ton of games to choose from today; I like Xavier laying points at home despite the rivalry, I like Marquette and Ohio State hanging around with Wisconsin and UConn respectively. But I LOVE the Tarheels today against overmatched and soon to be overwhelmed Texas.

Did you see what North Carolina did to Davidson last week? The flood of athleticism and smothering defensive pressure? And before you say “well, wait, that was Davidson and this is mighty Texas” take a look at both teams. One has a good shot to play in March, and the other does not – and it isn’t just a function of conference. Since Marcus Paige has returned, UNC has LOOKED like the #1 team in the country they were projected to be. They are so long and play SO FAST that very few teams can keep up for 40 minutes. Add in Paige making clutch shots and orchestrating the offense with perfection, and they are simply dynamite.

Texas is struggling, and I find it hard to believe they get right against the mighty Heels. They already own losses to Texas A&M bu double-digits and to Michigan, who has lost to everyone this season and usually by a lot of points. They struggled with Texas Arlington and couldn’t bury Samford.

Carolina shoots 6% better from the floor and 9% better from the line (where Texas is terrible). I expect Carolina to force a ton of fouls with their tempo and a ton of turnovers as well. I honestly don’t think Texas can make this a basketball game, even at home.

I love Carolina, and would have been willing to lay more points to back to best team in the country today.

Free Pick: North Carolina Tarheels -6