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North Carolina at Texas: What bettors need to know

North Carolina Tar Heels at Texas Longhorns (+4.5, 140)

Texas has already played in the Maui Invitational and lost to Georgetown and UCLA, and the schedule gets tougher this week with games against North Carolina and Michigan State.

The week begins with a visit from the 19th-ranked Tar Heels, who have won three straight since losing to Indiana by 24 on Nov. 27. North Carolina survived a scare against East Carolina on Saturday before winning 93-87, while Texas is coming off a 12-point win over Texas State. The Longhorns have struggled while waiting for sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo to be cleared by the NCAA, which is investigating his relationship with a professional agent. Texas has won four of the last five contests against the Tar Heels and holds a 4-3 series lead in the series.

TV: 9 p.m., ET, ESPN2

ABOUT NO. 19 NORTH CAROLINA (8-2, 5-3 ATS): Coach Roy Williams was not pleased after the Tar Heels allowed East Carolina to score 61 second-half points on Saturday. Look for the Tar Heels to be a little more aggressive in the paint after they grabbed just 10 offensive rebounds – and none by a post player – against the Pirates. Senior guard Dexter Strickland, who has 26 assists in his last three games, recorded his first career double-double with 11 points and 10 assists against East Carolina. Sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo leads the Tar Heels in points (15.4) and rebounds (8.3), while Desmond Hubert, Brice Johnson and Joel James continue to share time at center.

ABOUT TEXAS (6-4, 3-5 ATS):
The Longhorns are hoping Kabongo’s eventual return will jump-start their offense, which ranks 267th in the country while averaging 63.3 points. While the offense sputters, the defense has kept the Longhorns competitive. They lead the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense (33.2) while allowing 58.2 points per game. Offensively, guard Sheldon McClellan averages a team-high 15.3 points, and forward Jonathan Holmes leads the team with eight rebounds per game. Freshman guard Javan Felix has bounced back from a shaky start to average 16.5 points in his last two games. Felix ranks second in the Big 12 in assists (5.8).

TRENDS:

* Tar Heels are 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games.
* Longhorns are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 non-conference games.
* Over is 4-1 in Tar Heels' last five overall.
* Over is 9-3 in Longhorns last 12 vs. Atlantic Coast.

TIP-INS:

1. The Longhorns have won 14 straight non-conference home games and are 86-3 in nonconference home games since the start of the 2002-03 season.

2. North Carolina has attempted 20 or more three-point field goals in six of its first 10 games.

3. Texas is 212-22 under coach Rick Barnes when holding opponents to under 40 percent shooting.

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