The North Carolina Tar Heels are not ranked among the top 75 teams in the country in shooting either two-pointers or three-pointers, but they are indeed the favorites to go all the way in the NCAA Tournament because they are so incredibly athletic, and and some experience to boot. They went through the heartache of losing in last year’s national championship game, and at least according to head coach Roy Williams, they have use that for added motivation as they came into this season’s Big Dance.
They have a big challenge initially with the Oregon Ducks, and that they get by that, it’s on to the winner between Gonzaga and South Carolina, in what is most certainly an interesting Final Four grouping. VietBet customers can place wagers on all the Final Four games and get reduced juice, to give them better value in the odds, and they can also place wagers after the game’s tip off, using the state-of-the-art software available through Live Betting Ultra.
Final Four Odds:
In the Final Four odds established at VietBet, the Tar Heels are the favorites among the four teams, as you can see:
North Carolina +141
South Carolina +950
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Final Four Odds and Preview – North Carolina Tar Heels:
North Carolina, which is 31-7 straight-up and 19-16-2 against the basketball point spread, can beat teams on the inside or the outside. Even though they are not necessarily a prolific three-point-shooting team, they are doing better in that department that they did last year, and they have a solid floor leader who can indeed hit from behind the arc. Joel Berry was 39.2% accurate from three-point range this season, and he is, hands down when the better point guards in the country. However, experiencing ankle problems early in the tournament, which led to him making only three of his first 21 shots. He turned the other ankle against Kentucky in the Elite Eight game last weekend. But he has had some time to rest, so he should be all right.
When it comes to strength up front, very few teams can beat the Tar Heels, and this is something that has been very evident all season long. North Carolina not only is the best offensive rebounding team in the nation, pulling down 41.9% of all opportunities, they are 22nd in defensive rebounding, and have the best rebounding margin in the nation. So needless to say, whether it is Oregon or the inside-South Carolina winner, it is a major assignment for any opponent to keep them off the glass.
Defensively, the Tar Heels are very solid; only one of the last 12 opponents they have faced has reached 45% from the field. And as a team, they did a great job against Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox last week, holding them to just five out of 14 from the floor. Theo Pinson was a big part of that; he is not a big scorer, but he is a dogged defender and can deal with both guard and both forward positions, which means he might see a lot of time guarding Dillon Brooks, Oregon’s star forward, in the Final Four round.
North Carolina has an All-American at the small forward spot. Justin Jackson is the team’s leading scorer at 18.2 points per game, and at 6-8, he adds to the size that they have up front. But in his last two games, he’s made only three out of 13 from beyond the arc, so he’s got to straighten that out. There is a very useful bench for UNC, and that includes last week’s hero, Luke Maye, the 6-8 reserve forward who has scored 17 and 16 points in his last two games and nailed the game-winner against Kentucky with time running out. North Carolina can and even more size when they put Tony Bradley into the game. The 6-11 freshman center has logged some important minutes, but North Carolina has to be careful about how many big men puts on the floor at once because Oregon is going to have an edge in quickness, as they try their best to play “small ball” with the Tar Heels.
By Charles Jay
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