Handicapper sees Cougars slowing Tar Heels' tempo

No. 1 seed North Carolina has topped 100 points in its first two NCAA Tournament victories, routing Mount St. Mary's 113-74 and Arkansas 108-77.

Despite the totals soaring over the number in each of those games, professional sports handicapper Paul Stone is playing the under in today's North Carolina-Washington State game.

Stone, who is down $1,210 for the tournament -- despite a winning record (15-14-2) -- bet $880, his largest wager of the day, that the game will go under 1421/2 points.

"I believe those 100-point-plus performances have driven the total up slightly in this game, giving the under bettor even more value," said Stone, who also noted the Tar Heels have totaled 82 or more points in eight of their last 10 games.

Washington State appears to be the key factor in this one, with a 30-12-1 under mark against nonconference opponents and a 7-3 under record in its past 10 games overall.

Stone, who said Mount St. Mary's and Arkansas "made the mistake of essentially attempting to run with North Carolina," expects the Cougars to slow the pace.

"Unfortunately for the Tar Heels, Washington State's not going to allow them to get into that tempo," he said. "Head coach Tony Bennett does a great job of teaching the deliberate half-court offensive set. Certainly, North Carolina is going to have some opportunities to run, but they're going to be few and far between."

Stone also is playing 3-point favorite Louisville for $660 and UCLA-Western Kentucky under 133 for $440.

Stone said Louisville and its opponent, Tennessee, are "headed in different directions." The Cardinals cruised past Boise State and Oklahoma by an average of 24 points, and the Volunteers were threatened by No. 15 seed American and beat Butler in overtime.

Also, Tennessee has covered in only one of its last six games against Big East competition, and Louisville has covered eight of its last 10 games overall.

"I'm going to take the better team from the better conference in a better spot," Stone said.

As for the Bruins-Hilltoppers game, Stone said UCLA has gone under the total in 16 of its last 20 NCAA Tournament games and Western Kentucky has gone under in its last eight games with totals in the 120s or 130s.