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North Carolina vs. Washington State Betting Picks & Odds: Ted Sevransky

Free Pick: Washington State +8.5 -110 odds
Thu Mar 27 ’08 7:25p
In each of the last two years, Washington State has absolutely dominated their non-conference opposition. The Cougars reeled off 14 consecutive victories to start off this season, 9-4 ATS during that run. That included SU and ATS road victories at NCAA tournament bound teams Gonzaga, Baylor and Boise State, not to mention a 15 point win at USC on the opening weekend of PAC-10 play. Last year, the Cougars went 11-1 in early season non-conference action, and started the season by covering ten of their first fifteen lined games.

Tony Bennett’s team runs an extraordinarily difficult offensive system to defend, particularly for opponents who haven’t seen it before, and their defense is as sticky as it gets. That’s why the Cougars SU and ATS results tend to deteriorate down the stretch of the PAC-10 campaign – the other PAC-10 schools have seen it before, and they can prepare for it much better the second time around. North Carolina has no such advantage. And we saw how good this Cougars team can be with a unique level of motivation and focus, following a sluggish first half against Winthrop on Thursday – Wassou went on an incredible 36-5 run to open up the second half, then carried that momentum forward with an absolutely dominant showing against the Fighting Irish, holding Notre Dame to a season low 13 made field goals.

North Carolina was able to control pace and tempo in each of their first two opening weekend games, hanging 113 on Mt St Mary’s and 108 on Arkansas while shooting 61 percent and 68 percent from the floor in those two contests. Neither the Razorbacks nor the Mountaineers were capable of running with the Tar Heels, but neither squad had the defensive acumen to control the pace. Wassou has that acumen, and they are most assuredly a very talented team still searching for respect. Every team gets tested on their way to the Final Four. Expect this game to be the Tar Heels first true test of the tournament. Take Washington State.

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