Back North Carolina As Your NCAA Tournament Pick Against Underdog Indiana

Joe Gavazzi

Friday, March 25, 2016 1:51 PM GMT

3 teams from the Big 10 have made the Sweet 16, but that pales in comparison to the 6 ACC teams, N. Carolina included, who have made it to the Tourney. See NCAA basketball picks inside.

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Indiana vs. North Carolina
Under 8th year HC Tom Crean, Indiana is one of the teams in the country, who has been helped the most by this year’s rule changes.  It has allowed Crean to fully implement his 94’ game without fear of his players being impeded from driving and cutting, which is the basis of his half-court offense.  That in turn sets up much of the drive and dish success of the Hoosiers, which has resulted in an average of 9.8 triples per game on 42% shooting.  

It can be most disheartening to an opponent, when Yogi Ferrell pulls up in the open court and drains a triple, making it look like no more than a layup, or when Ferrell drives the lane then finds an open 3 point marksman behind the arc for yet another heart-breaking triple.  This is the Hoosiers’ huge advantage in this game against a N. Carolina team, who averages 5.4 triples on 31% shooting. Overall, Indiana averages 83 PPG on 51% shooting.  But if there is a weakness to the Indiana game, it is the fact they turn the ball over an average of 13.6 times per game, which makes them less efficient in that regard than any team in the Sweet 16.  It may well be their undoing in this contest. 

With N. Carolina committing just 10.9 TOs per game, it is a huge edge.  That is just part of the fundamental excellence of a Tar Heel team, who with a mark of (17.2) 3* fundamentals is by far the best of any of the remaining 16 teams.  That includes an offense that averages 82 PPG on 48% shooting, as well as crashing the boards for a +8.2 rebound margin, while dishing out 17.7 assists per game.  N. Carolina is just as comfortable playing the 94’ game as Indiana and has better athletes to do it.  This includes interior force, Brice Johnson, who has come into his own this season, averaging 17 PPG.

 

Betting Analysis
Each of these teams cruised through their Opening Round with Indiana winning by 25 against Chattanooga and N. Carolina overwhelming FGCU in the 2nd half (83-67).  But while N. Carolina was pulling away from Providence in the 2nd half (again) for an (85-66) victory, Indiana had a far more emotional game expending tremendous energy in upsetting arch rival, Kentucky (73-67).  That’s a huge emotional edge for a N. Carolina team, who is playing their best ball of the season with 7 consecutive victories which includes wrapping up the ACC regular season title, as well as winning the CCT.  

In the end, the greater fundamentals of N. Carolina, the momentum of their winning streak and their emotional reserve combine for a comfortable victory against an Indiana team.  13th year HC Roy Williams is a lofty 67-23 SU in 25 invitations to this NCAA Tourney.  I invite you to put the NCAA Tournament odds in your favor and join me in my NCAA basketball pick on N. Carolina tonight.

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NCAA Basketball Free Pick: North Carolina -5.5.
Best Line Offered: at Bodog