The South Region has basically followed the chalk, with all the top seeds advancing. For this Elite 8 encounter, if it is close to as good a game as the one on Dec. 17th, we are all in for a real treat on Sunday.
South Region, Elite 8 Round
Sunday, March 26th, 5:05 pm E.T.
Though UCLA shot over 50 percent against Kentucky (32-5, 17-18-1 ATS), it was the Wildcats defense which played a huge role in the Wildcats making this far. After UCLA had committed only nine turnovers in two tourney games, Kentucky's defense forced 13 against the Bruins and they will have to equally disruptive to knock off North Carolina for a second time this season. De'Aaron Fox was masterful against UCLA (39 points) and they will need him and a continuation of tremendous outside shooting. Though Edrice Adebayo was essentially a non-factor against the Bruins (2 points), he played a big role in last meeting and was a key contributor to Kentucky winning the rebounding battle and having a +5 edge in offensive rebounds. At last look John Calipari's 'Cats were a 2.5 point underdog according to the college basketball odds and they likely will need another monster game from Malik Monk or Fox to win again.
North Carolina Breakdown
After a rather fortunate victory over Arkansas, North Carolina (30-7, 19-16-1 ATS) was locked in from the start against Butler and dispatched of them rather quickly. That is really the key for the Tar Heels, being mentally engaged from the start and if they want to reach another Final 4, they will have to be against Kentucky. Two elements that will matter against the Wildcats, doing a much better job on the boards with their size and defending the three-point line better after giving up 10 trey's in the last contest. Having Theo Pinson playing in this battle should be a positive, however, he's not been much of factor in their last four games with just 14 points and 11 turnovers.
What to Watch For
For college basketball picks, this should be a special game and I will side with North Carolina because like the last game they went to free throw line continually and should be able to take advantage of Kentucky in the paint. As along somebody for the Wildcats does not score 40 or more points, the Heels should advance.