Lean Florida Gulf Coast +22 With Your NCAA Basketball Picks vs. UNC

Ross Benjamin

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 6:34 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 16, 2016 6:34 PM UTC

Our NCAA Basketball analyst provides us with a very informative betting preview article on Thursday’s NCCA Tournament game between Florida Gulf Coast and top seeded North Carolina.

#16 Florida Gulf Coast (21-13) vs. #1 North Carolina (28-6) 7:20 PM ET
Florida Gulf Coast is coming off an impressive 96-65 over Farleigh Dickinson in a NCAA Tournament “First Four” matchup on Tuesday in Dayton. They now have the unenviable taking of taking on the East Region’s #1 seed North Carolina, and having to do so in their own backyard. The PNC Arena in Raleigh is a short 25 minute drive from North Carolina’s campus in Chappell Hill. Needless to say, this will be pro North Carolina crowd. Current (3/16) NCAA Tournament odds at Pinnacle have North Carolina as a 22.0 point favorite, and the posted total is 148.0. This will be a first ever meeting between these schools on the hardwood. Just in case you’ve been living on a deserted island for 20 years, and just returned to civilization, no #16 seed has ever beaten a #1 see during the rich history of the NCAA Tournament.


Playing With House Money
By winning on Tuesday, Florida Gulf Coast captured their third NCAA Tournament victory in school history. At this point, they have everything to gain and very little to lose. In all reality, nobody expects them to upset #3 ranked North Carolina, and especially in their own home state. I fully expect FGCU to be a loose bunch heading into this matchup. They do have the luxury of already having a NCAA Tournament game under their belt, and with one day in between games including travel, FGCU players will have very little time to contemplate about the seemingly insurmountable task that lies ahead. On a positive note, they’ve averaged 84.8 points scored per game over their previous four contests, and shot a sizzling hot 54.1%. They also possess a massive +15 rebound per game differential over its last five outings. Besides Tuesday’s game, FGCU has faced only one team this season which is part of this 2016 NCAA Tournament field, and was very competitive during a 10 point loss at #15 Texas A&M.


Primed and Ready for Deep NCAA Tournament Run
North Carolina is one of the odds on favorites to be crowned national champion in Houston. They’re coming off winning the ACC Tournament title by virtue of a 4 point win over Virginia in the championship game. The Tar Heels have won five straight, and that includes covering each of their last four. During those previous five contests, they were dominant on the defensive end, holding opponents to just 63.4 points per game, and a paltry 37.9% shooting. They also held a +11 rebound per game differential in those contests. North Carolina has gone 3-4 ATS this season as a favorite of 20.0 points or more.


Final Take
I do think Florida Gulf Coast will be competitive at least early on in this contest. They’re also are a solid three point shooting team, and that bodes well for some type of back door cover of this sizable point spread. I’m going to give a very small lean to the underdog for one of my NCAA Tournament picks.

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NCAA Basketball Picks: Florida Gulf Coast +22 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


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