Free play on North Carolina as they take Ohio University set to start at 7:47 PM ET, Friday, March 23. The Midwest Region has had its’ share of upsets, but they still have the No 1 and No. 2 seeds left in North Carolina and Kansas.
I have already released a 20 star free college basketball pick in favor of Kansas to cover against NC State, and feel strongly that Kansas and North Carolina are on a collision course ending in the Regional Final Sunday.
College Basketball Betting Line
The NCAA Basketball lines for this game opened with the Tar Heels installed as a 10.5 point favorite and the betting odds have remained static. I do think this line may have a tendency to drift to 11 points. My confidence on that is low, so if you feel 10.5 is a good price then add it to your sports picks for at least half of the 5* amount now and look to complete the wager towards game time.
The simulator shows a high probability that North Carolina will win this game by 11 or more points. The North Carolina defense will be on display in this game and is projected to keep Ohio University to less than 40% shooting. In past games North Carolina is 17-7 ATS when their opponents make between 34 and 39% of their shots in a game spanning the past two seasons.
The simulator projects that Ohio University will score between 61 and 66 points in this game. In past games North Carolina is 11-3 ATS when have allowed an opponent to score between 61 and 66 points in a game spanning the past two seasons.
North Carolina will have dominant edge in total rebounding and the simulator shows a very high probability that the Tar Heels will have at least 10 more total rebounds than Ohio University in this game. In past games, North Carolina is a solid 108-56 ATS when they grab 10 or more rebounds than their opponents in games played since 1997.
Rebounding has always been a fundamental focus for the elite teams in the nation and it serves to reduce opponent second chance scoring opportunities and to give them fast break scoring opportunities in transition situations.
Team Rankings and Matchups
There is no doubt that UNC is a score first play defense second type of team. As mentioned, there strong rebounding serves to offset defensive weaknesses and reinforces their offensive high paced attack on opponents.
UNC ranks second in the nation in scoring offense averaging 82.0 points per game and will be matched up against an undersized Ohio University defense that ranks 50th in the nation in scoring defense allowing 62.4 points per game. However, this is very misleading based on the strength of schedules of the respective school.
Ohio University played a significantly weaker schedule, not be design, but simply because they are not a team playing in a major conference like the ACC. So, this defensive ranking is actually closer to an average defensive unit when strength of schedule is factored into the equation and this magnifies the North Carolina offensive advantages.
Ohio University ranks 106th in scoring offense averaging 69.8 points per game and will be matched up against a Tar Heel defense that ranks 151st in scoring defense allowing 66.8 points per game. However, the pace of play that North Carolina possesses makes the defensive appear far weaker than it truly is when compared to slower paced style of basketball teams.
Rebounding will be the dominant reason UNC will control the flow of this game and will limit Ohio University to numerous one shot possessions. North Carolina is by far the best rebounding team in the nation averaging 44.8 total rebounds per game. By comparison, Ohio University ranks 188th in the nation averaging 33.8 total rebounds per game.
More eye-popping is that North carolina ranks second best in the nation averaging 13.9 offensive boards per game and first averaging 28.1 defensive rebounds per game. By comparison, Ohio University ranks 67th in the nation averaging 10.7 offensive boards per game, but a horrid 293rd averaging just 19.8 defensive boards per game. Given the size and length advantages that North Carolina has in this matchup it will force Ohio University to limit the times they attack the offensive glass to ensure they don’t get caught in 2-on-3 fast break runs by the Tar Heels.
On every missed Ohio University shot, North carolina will be looking to the outlet pass near the sidelines to start any possible fast break scoring opportunity. I strongly believe that the Tar heels will run the Bobcats off the court in this Sweet 16 matchup.
My Pick: Take North Carolina as a 5* graded play.