Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook
The UNC Tar Heels will face the Duke Blue Devils in a historic matchup. This is the first time these two teams will face each other in March Madness and this is Coach K’s final season as the head coach of Duke. UNC and Duke last faced each other in Coach K’s last home in Cameron Indoor Stadium, and the Tar Heels stunned Duke 94-81. Duke is looking for revenge since that loss.
The UNC Tar Heels were counted out for most of the season but have shown why they are one of the best teams in the country this March. They entered March Madness as an 8-seed, but they dismantled the Marquette Golden Eagles 95-63 in the First Round.
The Tar Heels followed up their First Round victory with a tough 93-86 overtime win against the Baylor Bears. It did not get much easier after that, as UNC had to take on the UCLA Bruins. It was a difficult battle, but UNC scored 45 second-half points and won 73-66.
UNC had an interesting Elite Eight matchup against the surging Saint Peter’s Peacocks. Saint Peter’s was a 15-seed and on a cinderella run. However, that did not phase UNC and they routed them 69-49. Armando Bacot and Brady Manek combined for 39 points and 30 rebounds in that game.
UNC has an excellent offense with four players scoring 13 points or more a game. They will need to depend on their offense to outscore an electric Duke offense.
The Duke Blue Devils had some questionable late-season losses but have been mentally tough this March and pulled out some difficult wins.
Duke faced the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Elite Eight. They had an insane first half and led 45-33 going into the second half. The Razorbacks tried to fight back, but it was too late. The Blue Devils won 78-69 behind A.J. Griffin’s 18 points.
Since this is Coach K’s last season and Duke is looking for revenge against UNC, I am picking Duke to squeak out a win. This should be the most exciting game of the season and tensions will be running high.
Duke beats UNC 75-72. UNC covers, Under 151 points.
|UNC Tar Heels||Head-to-Head||Duke Blue Devils|
|Hubert Davis||Head Coach||Mike Krzyzewski|
|28-9 (15-5, 2nd in ACC)||Standing||32-6 (16-4, 1st in ACC)|
|Leader (Per Game)|
|Armando Bacot (16.5)||PPG||Paolo Banchero (17.1)|
|Armando Bacot (12.8)||RPG||Paolo Banchero (7.7)|
|RJ Davis (3.7)||APG||Wendell Moore Jr. (4.4)|
|Caleb Love (1.1)||SPG||Wendell Moore Jr. (1.4)|
|Armando Bacot (1.7)||BPG||Mark Williams (2.9)|
|Armando Bacot (.586)||FG%||Mark Williams (.719)|
|Brady Manek (.398)||3P%||AJ Griffin (.458)|
The UNC Tar Heels are the underdogs. However, they beat this Duke team once before this year and can win again if they create turnovers and win the rebounding battle.
UNC is facing a Duke squad that scored over 80 points a game. The Tar Heels have to step up defensively and swipe the ball away from the Blue Devils. If they create turnovers, they will limit Duke’s scoring chances.
UNC and Duke are similarly good rebounding teams. They both average a little under 40 rebounds per game. UNC needs to box out and fight for rebounds more than ever this game.
The Duke Blue Devils are the favorites but facing a hot UNC team. They need to hit free throws and protect the rim to win this game.
Duke is a moderately good free throw shooting line. They hit 72.9% of their free throw attempts and go to the line over 15 times a game. They need to hit 80% of their free throws this game. If they do, they will get a lot of easy points.
UNC has some impressive big men in Armando Bacot and Brady Manek. They combine for 31.7 points per game and most of those points come near the hoop. The Duke big men need to stop Bacot and Manek near the hoop. If they do, they will heavily limit UNC’s scoring.
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Forward Armando Bacot is a very impressive player. The 6’10” junior averages 16.5 points and 12.8 rebounds per game. His rebounding has become even more impressive in March, and he is coming off a 22-rebound game against St. Peters.
Bacot is also an excellent rim protector. He averages 1.7 blocks per game and makes life hard for opposing big men.
Bacot needs to continue grabbing every rebound and score at the hoop. He is UNC’s x-factor and needs to have a massive game.
Forward A.J. Griffin is coming off an 18-point game against Arkansas. He only played 26 minutes but went 7-9 overall and 2-3 from deep.
This Duke team is filled with stars, but Griffin may be the x-factor. He has shown that he can have big games and needs to have another one against UNC.
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|UNC Tar Heels vs Duke Blue Devils Information|
|What||UNC Tar Heels vs Duke Blue Devils|
|Where||Ceasers Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana|
|When||Saturday, April 2, 8:49 PM EST|
|How to Watch||TBS|
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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