By Charles Jay
Will the third time be the charm for the Syracuse Orange? The North Carolina Tar Heels hope it isn’t, but they will have to finish off a three-game sweep over there ACC rivals if they are going to advance to the championship game in the NCAA Tournament. The stage is set for an 8:45 PM ET start at NRG Stadium in Houston, and Vietbet customers can keep the action going long after that, when they take advantage of what’s available through the phenomenon known as Live Betting Extra.
North Carolina is 32-6 straight-up on the season, with the basketball pointspread record of 18-19-1. They do indeed carry some glittering statistics into the proceedings, and the metrics tell us that they are #1 in the nation in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency. Currently sporting a nine-game winning streak, they have covered seven of their last eight against the number, and they are pretty balanced as far as their scoring is concerned.
Syracuse is a team that many thought shouldn’t be in this tournament in the first place. After all, they had 13 defeats as the NCAA Selection Committee met, and all of the “bracketologists” had them on the “bubble” at best. But they have made the right plays at the right times, and there matchup zone causes some potential problems for the Tar Heels as this game approaches.
March Madness – Final Four Betting Line from Vietbet:
In the final four betting odds posted on this game by the people at Vietbet, North Carolina is a significant favorite:
North Carolina Tar Heels -.5
Syracuse Orange +9.5
Over 144.5 points -110
Under 144.5 points -110
Since these teams are both part of the Atlantic Coast Conference, which sent four teams into the Elite Eight, they met twice during the season. On January 9, North Carolina hit 52.5% of its shots, with a lot of good inside work provided by Isaiah Hicks (21 points) in the process of an 84-73 victory at Chapel Hill. When they went up to the Carrier Dome for the February 29th rematch, North Carolina had less success from the field, making only 41% of its shots in a 75-70 victory. In both games, Syracuse fought them tough until very close to the end. And the big concern is that North Carolina made only 24% of its three-point attempts.
Vietbet patrons may be asking how much of a concern that is. Well, Syracuse designed its defense to make it very difficult to go inside, so many teams have to resort to outside shooting. And the Tar Heels it only 32% of their shots from three-point range this season. They have been inconsistent at best in that area, and this venue, a big stadium that presents depth perception problems for many shooters, won’t exactly help that situation.
Fortunately for North Carolina, there are a number of different ways they can score. Bryce Johnson, who was just named a first-team All-American, has averaged 21 points per game, and Justin Jackson has elevated his game, hitting 45% of his triples in the tournament. The Tar Heels have averaged 89 points per game in this event, and we know that they hit the boards with plenty of enthusiasm, ranking seventh in the nation in offensive rebounding. That will be the challenge for Syracuse – they might be able to prevent a good “look” at a shot initially, but you’ve got to continue to defend the Tar Heels.
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