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North Carolina’s Kenny Williams (24) reacts following a 3-point basket  against Miami in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
North Carolina’s Kenny Williams (24) reacts following a 3-point basket against Miami in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)|Associated Press
NCAAB

NCAAB: Eckel on the ACC gives slight edge to UNC at home vs. Cavs

Virginia (pick) at NORTH CAROLINA, 7 p.m.

Mark Eckel

There is only one game in the ACC Monday night, and it’s a good one. Two of the top 10 teams in the nation face off when No. 8 North Carolina hosts No. 3 Virginia.

Virginia (pick) at NORTH CAROLINA, 7 p.m.
Pick: North Carolina

This line has fluctuated from the opening line of a pick game to Virginia minus 1 to North Carolina minus 1, back to a pick. Depending on where you place your wager you may see any of the three different spreads.

In any event the pace of the game is likely to determine the outcome. Virginia (20-2) is going to want to keep the game in the low 60s. The Tar Heels (19-4) are going to want the same kind of game Duke had with the Cavs, Saturday night, with a score in the upper 70s.

Consider North Carolina averages 88.3 points per game and has been held under 75 points just once all season in a loss to Michigan. Virginia, however, allows just 54.1 points per game and have held 13 opponents to 54 points, or less.

Both teams have interesting stats to back them in this one. Virginia is 6-1 on the road this season and has also covered in six of those seven contests. The Cavs are also 5-2 against teams ranked in the top 20 (both losses to Duke) and is 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 games.

North Carolina, winners of seven straight including Saturday’s overtime win over Miami where the Heels likely had one eye on this one, is 11-1 at home. UNC is also 5-2 against teams in the top 20 and like the Cavs have covered in seven of the last 10 games.

This one could also come down to Carolina making its 3-pointers. The Heels shoot 38 percent from behind the arc for the season, but in their only conference loss — to Louisville — they shot a season-low 13 percent.

A trend here that favors UNC is that the home team is 20-7-1 against the spread in the last 28 games in this rivalry and the Heels have covered four of the last five games against the Cavs at the Dean Dome.