NCAA Tournament Picks: Lock North Carolina To Beat Syracuse By Double Digits

Charles Stark

Saturday, April 2, 2016 4:52 PM UTC

Saturday, Apr. 2, 2016 4:52 PM UTC

Syracuse has shocked a lot of people making it to the final four and North Carolina is the only number one seed left. NCAA Tournament Odds have made them as favorite against the Orangemen.

Can Syracuse pull off another upset or will the Tar Heels continue to roll? Odds makers have North Carolina as a -9.5 favorite like at Bookmaker -110. This is a lot of points considering the last time these two met up North Carolina escaped with a five point win at home. With a lot of time to get ready for their zone defense for one of my NCAA basketball picks I'm going to back North Carolina minus the points to win this game by double digits.


Syracuse Orangemen
Syracuse averages just 70.1 points per game but defensively allows opponents to shoot just 30.8% from distance which ranks 13th in the country. This is a really interesting matchup of two teams that go at different paces with Syracuse relying on their zone defense to cause teams trouble and control pace while North Carolina likes to get up and down the floor. Offensively the Orangemen have nothing really that stands out but they do shoot 36.1% from distance and average 8.5 three-pointers per game.

Defensively they allow just 64.6 points per game which ranks 22nd in the country and they rank 28th in the country in opponent shooting efficiency. The issue for me in regards of them tonight against North Carolina has a lot to do with I think Syracuse has been fortunate with the matchups in this tournament that has been conducive to the way they play. That will not be the case tonight as they face a team that is athletically and statistically better.


North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina averages 83 points per game and they have an average scoring margin of +13.1 both of which rank seventh in the country. It is hard to argue overall that North Carolina has not been the most dominant team in the tournament and in the NCAA basketball odds boards so far. They are a really tough matchup across the board against Syracuse and they are very unselfish averaging 17.7 assist per game which ranks fourth in the country. On top of the fact that they are a very good scoring team they play really good defense within their system allowing opponents to shoot just 41.3% overall from the floor.

As well, North Carolina is both the superior rebounding team averaging 40.1 rebounds per game which ranks 13th in the country, and the better team at protecting the ball ranking 11th and 28th in the country in turnovers per play and turnovers per game respectively. The Tar Heels have had a week to prepare for the Syracuse zone and is hard for me to imagine that they will lose the momentum that they have gained so far this tournament. I look for them to slowly pull away and win this game by well into double digits.

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Free NCAA Tournament Pick: North Carolina -9 (-110)
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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