NCAA Tournament Picks: North Carolina To Cover ATS Over Villanova

Joe Gavazzi

Monday, April 4, 2016 2:02 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 4, 2016 2:02 PM UTC

Villanova meets North Carolina for the 2015-16 National Title tonight; they both have positive rebound margin, positive assist/TO ratio and positive TO ratio. Who will end up being the NCAA champion?

No.2 seeded Villanova meets No.1 seeded N. Carolina for the 2015-16 National Title on Monday, April 4th. There was a lot of ink about the difficulties shooting at NRG Stadium. Neither of these teams found that to be a problem in their Final Four victories Saturday night. Villanova defeated Oklahoma (95-51), while N. Carolina defeated this year’s Cinderella team, Syracuse.

Each of these teams is 3* fundamental teams. That means they each have positive rankings: rebound margin, positive assist/TO ratio and positive TO ratio. After the respective victories of each of these teams Saturday night, playing on 3* fundamental teams, against opponents who are not, finishes the NCAA Tourney with a record of 24-15 ATS. 

This points out the importance of handicapping games from a fundamental perspective as well as using only a situational or technical approach. By the way, the sum of the N. Carolina differentials is 17.2 compared to 8.7 for Villanova with the greatest advantage being on the boards with an over 6 rebound per game differential.


Villanova Sneak Peek
What a late season charge for Villanova after losing to Seton Hall in the Big East CCT. In their 5 NCAA victories, the Wildcats won by an average of 24 PPG (which would be the largest margin ever, should they maintain that tonight). Their improved defense was in no small part responsible, as they have forced 69 TOs in their 5 games.  But, it was the offensive performance that was so amazing in Saturday night’s (95-51) victory against an Oklahoma team, who many thought could win the whole thing. In that 44 point victory, the Wildcats outshot the Sooners 71% to 32%. 

They scored 95 points on only 49 shots (think about that) and made 11/18 (3) pointers. So much for the poor shooting backdrop of NRG Stadium! The 4 out, 1 in, offense with perimeter players Arcidiacono, Hart, Jenkins and Brunson surrounding big man, Ochefu worked to perfection on both ends of the floor. The revenge win was sweet indeed. But what goes up, must come down!  After such a perfect game just 48 hours ago, it is most difficult to see a repeat of that performance against a superior team.


North Carolina Overview
The N. Carolina victory came in a much more workmanlike fashion. It was the Tar Heels’ 10thconsecutive victory, all by a double digit margin. If there is an Achilles’ “heel” for N. Carolina, it remains their 3 point shooting. They could knock down just 4/17 triples against the Orange, reflective of the fact that they average less than 6 triples per game on less than 32% shooting. But with positives of +12 rebounds and +13 assists, there is little doubt that N. Carolina dominated that victory in the paint, where they scored 50 points.That kind of performance, though not to that degree, would not surprise this bureau in tonight’s game.  


Final Analysis
The Tar Heels simply have too much size and depth up front with the like of Johnson, Meeks, Hicks, Jackson and James. Working in tandem with selfless guards, Paige, Berry and Pinson, N. Carolina is functioning on all cylinders. Too much depth and too much interior presence for a N. Carolina team who is no worse than equal to the Wildcats in the open court but will be far superior in the paint in half court sets. I invite you to put the NCAA basketball odds in your favor and join me in my NCAA basketball pick on N. Carolina in tonight’s Championship Game.

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Free NCAA Tournament Pick: North Carolina -2 (-105)
Best Line Offered: at Bovada

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