A trip to the New Orleans for the Final Four will be on the line this evening as the No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels will face the No. 15 Saint Peter’s Peacocks in the Elite Eight. The East Region final will take place at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
This game will tip off at 5:05 p.m. ET on CBS. North Carolina enters this matchup as an eight-point favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook.
No. 8 North Carolina 27-9 (15-5 ACC)
First Round: Defeated No. 9 Marquette 95-63
Second Round: Defeated No. 1 Baylor 93-86 (OT)
Sweet 16: Defeated No. 4 UCLA 73-66
KenPom rating: 18 Overall, 19 Offense, 42 Defense
Leading scorer: Armando Bacot (16.4 ppg)
Key stat of tournament: North Carolina’s last 10 victories have come by at least seven points
When the Tar Heels were 12-6 and 4-3 in the ACC in late January, there was a chance they wouldn’t be in the NCAA Tournament at all. Now their one game away from facing their ancient rival Duke in the Final Four with the chance to end Mike Krzyzewski’s career.
The Heels are one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the country, and have two posts in Bacot and Brady Manek that should give the Peacocks fits inside. When the defense helps, look for RJ Cole to try and get baskets from the outside.
No. 15 Saint Peter’s Peacocks 23-11 (14-6 MAAC)
First Round: Defeated No. 2 Kentucky 85-79 OT
Second Round: Defeated No. 7 Murray State 70-60
Sweet 16: Defeated No. 3 Purdue 67-64
KenPom rating: 99 Overall, 216 Offense, 24 Defense
Leading scorer: Daryl Banks III (11.4 ppg)
Key stat of tournament: The Peacocks are the first No. 15 seed to advance to the Elite Eight in tournament history.
No matter what, this Saint Peter’s team will never be forgotten. To knock off the No. 3, No. 7, and No. 2 team in their bracket makes them a part of history. The Peacocks defend at a high level, holding opponents to an eFG of just 44.2%, good for seventh in college basketball. They don’t take a lot of threes, and will need to be efficient on their drives and pull-up midrange shots to be in this. But controlling the glass will be their biggest challenge and chance at victory.
Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Point spread: North Carolina -8
Point total: 137
Moneyline: UNC -350, Saint Peter’s +270
Against The Spread Pick: North Carolina -8
Point total pick: 137
Pick to Win: North Carolina
At some point, the magic for the team from Jersey City is likely to run out. Purdue played particularly poorly, and also played right into the Peacocks hands. But the balance of the Tar Heels should give them enough ways to be dynamic in scoring.
And the offensively-challenged Peacocks are likely to only get one look at the basket on most possessions. Without the glass in their favor, this should be one for the Heels.
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