Advertisement

March Madness: Sweet 16 Betting Tips - North Carolina vs. Auburn

MIDWEST REGION: SWEET 16 – NO. 1 NORTH CAROLINA (-5) VS. NO. 5 AUBURN

One of just two of the lower-seeded teams to advance into the Sweet 16 in a season that has been shockingly chalk-filled, No. 5 Auburn is ready to challenge top-seeded North Carolina in a SEC-ACC hoops battle for conference bragging rights and a trip into the Elite 8.

North Carolina Tar Heels

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Tar Heels once again find themselves in the Sweet 16 despite getting an early scare in their opening round game with Iona. As is typically the case with UNC opponents, the depth and athleticism of the Tar Heels showed up in the second half. UNC’s dominance of No. 9 seed Washington was more consistent and pronounced in an 81-59 win in which the Tar Heels shot 51 percent from the floor.

North Carolina has excellent team depth and balance in scoring with four players averaging in double figures – senior guard Cameron Johnson (16.9), guard freshman guard Coby White (16.1), senior forward Luke Maye (14.9) and freshman forward Nassir Little (10.0). They have all had a hand in the early tournament success. Maye has been dominant on both ends, scoring 36 points and grabbing 23 rebounds, including eight offensive boards. Johnson has chipped in 34 points and 10 assists, Little has a team-high 39 points coming off the bench and White has added 27 points.

If there has been a surprise to Carolina’s game, it has been not going to the free throw line very often. They’ve attempted just 25 free throws, making 19 of them (76 percent). They have successfully stayed out of foul trouble, which has allowed them the luxury of getting a lot of minutes from their top six players and keeping on-court continuity in play.

Auburn Tigers

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In late February, Auburn was 18-9 and 7-7 in SEC race, but few teams have been hotter than the Tigers since. They won their last eight games to close out the season, including a pair of wins against Tennessee that knocked them out of the running for a No. 1 seed, but they had to hold on for a first-round win over New Mexico State. Auburn had an eight-point lead with less than two minutes to play, but needed a missed free throw with one second left on the clock to escape with a 78-77 win. The same wasn’t true against fourth-seeded Kansas. The Tigers put the Jayhawks away early, blowing out to a 25-9 lead eight minutes into the game and never being seriously challenged in an 89-75 win.

The Tigers have been powered by guards Bryce Brown and Jared Harper, arguably the best backcourt tandem in the county, all season and the tournament has been no exception. Brown has scored 37 points, including nine three-pointers (seven vs. Kansas) and Harper has scored 35 points with 10 assists. They’ve been backed up by forward Chuma Okeke, who has chipped 25 points with 10 rebounds and seven steals.

Both teams have their frontline players who are major contributors, but the key here will be if Auburn can handle the big men inside for North Carolina – both fighting for rebounds and keeping the UNC bigs from having their way inside.

North Carolina vs. Auburn: By the numbers

North Carolina (29-6): Against the Spread (21-12-1); Over/Under (14-20, 41.2 percent over, 58.8 percent under); Auburn (28-9): Against the Spread (19-16-1); Over/Under (19-17, 52.8 percent over, 47.2 percent under).

North Carolina vs. Auburn: Betting Preditions:

Auburn has been as hot as anyone with 10 straight wins. But, Carolina’s depth will be enough to hold off the Tigers and put Auburn away late with enough free throws to cover the point spread.

159.5 is a huge over/under, but these two average scoring 166 a game, so if there is a matchup to hit that gaudy over/under number, it’s these two and, if the game doesn’t turn into a 20-point lead for UNC early in the second half, it should hit the over as the talented guards keep firing.


More Stories

National Championship Game: Gonzaga vs. Baylor odds, picks and prediction

Previewing Monday's National Championship Game odds and lines, with Gonzaga vs. Baylor picks and predictions.

Read the full article

From The Web Ads by Zergnet

NCAA Tournament National Championship Game - How to watch Gonzaga vs. Baylor

How to watch the 2021 NCAA Tournament National Championship between Gonzaga and Baylor, with TV schedule, start time, odds and lines.

Read the full article

Baylor at Gonzaga NCAA Men's Basketball Championship Odds, Picks and Prediction

The national champion will be decided when the Gonzaga Bulldogs (26-0) and Baylor Bears (22-2) square off in the final game of the NCAA Tournament on Monday at Lucas Oil Stadium, beginning at 9:00 PM ET. Bookmakers expect Gonzaga to win it all, naming the Bulldogs as 4.5-point favorites.

The Bulldogs were led by Drew Timme's 25 points last time out in a 93-90 win against UCLA on Saturday. They failed to cover the spread as 14.5-point favorites, while the teams scored a combined 183 points to hit the over on the 147 over/under.

Jared Butler led the way for the...

Read the full article
More March Madness betting odds, lines, picks and predictions