Fresh off a trip to top-5 Kansas on Friday night, No. 5 UConn has another tough test on Tuesday night in the Jimmy V Classic: a battle with the No. 9 North Carolina Tar Heels at Madison Square Garden. The game tips off at 9 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
UConn’s battle with the Heels marks the defending national champs’ second game in a row against a national title contender, and the Huskies still have to face No. 7 Gonzaga before the start of Big East play. The Heels are coming off a conference win over Florida State last Saturday and a statement victory over then-No. 10 Tennessee on Nov. 29.
Below is everything you need to know about Tuesday’s game, including our North Carolina vs UConn betting pick.
Here are our North Carolina vs UConn odds, picks, and predictions.
North Carolina vs UConn Odds: Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under
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UConn Huskies (7-1, 4-4 ATS)
The Huskies’ trip to Lawrence to take on the Jayhawks last Friday night disrupted UConn’s undefeated start to the season. Still, coach Dan Hurley‘s team impressed in a difficult environment. UConn had a chance to win it on a three-point attempt by Cam Spencer with Kansas leading 67-65 with five seconds to play, but Spencer’s shot missed and Kansas knocked down two free throws for the 69-65 victory.
Senior guard Tristen Newton was outstanding in the loss, scoring 31 points on 10-for-18 shooting (6-for-9 from 3) on a night when the rest of the roster was just 5-for-19 from downtown. UConn will look to bounce back against the Heels with an improved defensive effort — the Huskies kept Kansas star Hunter Dickinson in check, but allowed the Jayhawks to shoot 50% from the floor, including 64% from 3.
North Carolina Tar Heels (7-1, 4-4 ATS)
Hubert Davis and the Heels are off to an impressive start to the season, with last week’s win over the Volunteers showing off the Heels’ high ceiling as they look to bounce back from a rare season that ended without an NCAA Tournament berth a year ago.
Carolina added two shooters via the transfer portal — Cormac Ryan from Notre Dame and Harrison Ingram from Stanford — to address one of the biggest weaknesses of last year’s team, and both players have lived up to the expectations so far. Ryan and Ingram combined for 35 points against Tennessee, and on the season, they’re averaging a total of 25.5 points per game.
Those two, along with veteran guard RJ Davis and big man Armando Bacot, give the Heels solid balance, and UNC has also gotten a strong start from true freshman Elliot Cadeau.
North Carolina vs Connecticut Odds and Prediction: Huskies To Win Close One
The Tar Heels will need an oustanding performance to knock off UConn, especially with the Huskies coming off a loss, but Carolina should be able to hang with the reigning champs. One of the keys to this game will be which team can establish the tempo: the Heels want to play fast (they average 72.5 possessions per 40 minutes, according to KenPom), while the Huskies prefer a much slower pace. UConn is No. 279 in the country at an adjusted tempo of just 67.
If Newton and the Huskies can prevent UNC from making this a track meet, they have an excellent chance to win this one, but it’s hard to see them doing so comfortably. The 5.5-point spread in this game feels spot-on, making the Under the best play.
Pick: Under (150.5 at time of publishing)
How To Watch North Carolina vs UConn
- Date: Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023
- Tipoff: 9:00 p.m. ET
- Location: Madison Square Garden
- Where to Watch: ESPN