5:15 pm
December 22

#19 Kentucky v. #9 North Carolina

Who will WIN this matchup?

#19 Kentucky Wildcats (8-2)

#9 North Carolina Tar Heels (8-2)


Current odds:

Kentucky Wildcats: (+120)

North Carolina Tar Heels: (-140)


 The line for this game is North Carolina by 2 points.

 Two of college basketball’s most prestigious programs again are on the same court when 10th-ranked North Carolina and No. 18 Kentucky clash in the CBS Sports Classic at Chicago on Saturday. The teams have combined to play in five national championship games over the last 10 seasons, with the Tar Heels winning two titles and the Wildcats claiming one during that span. The Tar Heels won the most recent meeting in memorable style as Luke Maye knocked down the winning shot with three-tenths of a second left for a 75-73 win that catapulted them to the 2017 Final Four en route to winning the national title. North Carolina already has topped 100 points on four occasions this season, and Kentucky coach John Calipari took note of how easily it rolled up points on Gonzaga in last Saturday’s 103-90 victory.

 North Carolina lost games earlier this season to Texas and Michigan but now appears to be finding a groove after the resounding win over the Bulldogs.

 Freshman guard Keldon Johnson is averaging a team-best 16.1 points and coming off a strong effort in which he made a season-high six 3-pointers while scoring 24 points in last Saturday’s 88-61 rout of Utah. “I’m not afraid to take a big shot or step up in big moments,” Johnson told reporters. “I’m shooting with confidence. That’s the main thing – my teammates have been just telling me to keep shooting. After I hit the first one, I knew it was going to be a good day.” Tyler Herro, another highly regarded freshman guard, is averaging 12.1 points but has made just 28 percent of his 3-point attempts compared to Johnson’s 43.8 success rate.

 Senior power forward Luke Maye is averaging 14.3 points and 10.1 rebounds, and his 20-point effort against Gonzaga gave him exactly 1,000 career points. “There’s not a lot of people that thought I would get to 1,000,” Maye told reporters. “I had confidence in myself and I knew Coach (Roy Williams) had confidence in me. That’s really all that matters.” Senior guard Cameron Johnson is averaging a team-leading 16.6 points while freshman guard Coby White is contributing 15.2 per game.

 North Carolina holds a 24-15 advantage in the all-time series, but Kentucky has won five of eight during Calipari’s tenure.

 Williams signed an eight-year contract extension through the 2027-28 season earlier this week.

 Kentucky senior F Reid Travis (14.6 average) scored 16 points against Utah for his fifth straight double-digit performance.

StreakSmarter Pick
#9 North Carolina Tar Heels