Huge Rebounding Edge Makes UNC Our Tourney Pick Over Providence

Ross Benjamin

Saturday, March 19, 2016 2:59 PM GMT

Saturday, Mar. 19, 2016 2:59 PM GMT

Our NCAA Tournament consultant provides us with a betting preview article on the East Region second round game between Providence and North Carolina. Check our NCAAB pick inside.

#9 Providence vs. #1 North Carolina 9:40 PM ET
The Providence Friars face an unenviable task of taking on the East Region #1 seed North Carolina on Saturday night. Their degree of difficulty becomes even more cumbersome considering where the game will be played. The PNC Arena in Raleigh is a short 25 minute drive from North Carolina’s campus in Chappell Hill. The Last time these teams met was during the 2014 NCAA Tournament, and North Carolina escaped with a narrow 79-77 win. Current NCAA Tournament odds indicate that North Carolina is a 9.5 point favorite, and the posted total is 151.0. The winner of this matchup advances to the “Sweet 16” where they’ll either take either on Indiana or Kentucky.

 

Teams First Round Recaps
Providence advanced with a heart throbbing last second 1 point win over USC on Thursday. However, they failed to cover as a 2.0 point favorite, and the game easily went under the total of 139.0. Considering they only shot 40.3% in the win, and allowed USC to make 53.8% of their shots, it’s not a stretch whatsoever to deem Providence as being fortunate. The Friars were also a -4 in the rebounding department. One thing you can bank on, a similar performance to the one against USC, and Providence will have very little chance against the top seeded Tar Heels

North Carolina had a much more difficult time than expected against #16 seed Florida Gulf Coast. They shockingly led by just 1 at the half before pulling a away for a 16 point win. Despite the double digit victory, they failed to cover as a 23.5 point favorite. The contest barely went over the total of 149.0. North Carolina was a -2 on the boards during that first round win, and that was just the seventh time in thirty-five games that they were outrebounded. As a matter of fact, North Carolina possesses a massive +8 rebound per game differential this season.

 

Friars as a Dog
Providence has gone a very profitable 9-5 ATS (64.3%) this season when installed as an underdog. They also won eight of those fourteen contests outright. Saturday will be the second highest amount of points they’ll have received this season. The most came when they were a 12.0 point underdog at Villanova on January 24th, and Providence pulled off a huge 82-76 upset win on that occasion.

 

Saving the Best for Last
North Carolina will enter Saturday’s contest having won six games in a row, and appears to be hitting their stride at the most advantageous time to do so. They’ve also covered four of their last five games, and all came as a favorite. As a matter of fact, North Carolina is a perfect 6-0 SU&ATS in their last six games when they close as a single digit favorite, and covered those contests by a combined 39.5 points.

 

Final Take and Pick
North Carolina is a deep and very balanced team that can’t hurt you in many different ways. Providence relies heavily on 6’4 star point guard Kris Dunn (16.0 PPG/6.3 APG/5.4 RPG) who was voted the Big East Player of the Year, and their leading scorer 6’9 power forward Ben Bentil (21.1 PPG/7.8 RPG). Providence is capable of keeping this game tight for 30 minutes or so, but will likely be worn down by North Carolina’s overall depth. In a tournament that’s been filled with early round upsets thus far, I’m going the opposite direction in this one for one of my Saturday NCAA Tournament picks.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: North Carolina -10.5
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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