North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Oregon Ducks
Date and Time: Saturday, April 1, 2017, 8:49 p.m. ET
Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
College Basketball Odds: North Carolina -4.5, O/U 152
North Carolina vs. Oregon TV Coverage: CBS
College Basketball Odds
North Carolina survived a furious rally from Kentucky to get to the Final Four after it looked like the Tar Heels had salted the game away late. UNC missed a couple free throws and committed a five-second violation to keep Kentucky alive, but stepped up when it mattered. Luke Kaye ended up hitting the game-winner with just three-tenths of a second on the clock and engraved his name in Carolina lore in the process.
Aside from Maye, it was Kennedy Meeks who was the man of the hour for the Tar Heels. Meeks grabbed 17 of the Tar Heels 38 rebounds on the night and provided the team numerous opportunities for second-chance points. He was the only Tar Heel with more than 5 rebounds and kept Kentucky from winning the battle on the glass against the team that is the best rebounding unit in the country.
Oregon got pushed to the limit by both Rhode Island and Michigan, but survived and advanced to get to its Elite Eight matchup against Kansas. Once there, the Ducks showed how ready they were to finally break through by shutting down Kansas’ heralded guards and holding the Jayhawks to just 60 points. Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey had great performances but the key was the defense.
With Boucher out, Jordan Bell is extremely important to this team’s chances of winning it all and he has had some monster efforts. Bell recorded double-doubles in both the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight, but took his game to another level versus Kansas. He pulled down 13 rebounds and more importantly swatted around 8 shots to almost get the rare triple-double with blocks, rebounds, and points. He won’t have the same numbers against a much longer team, but how he handles Meeks will be important.
Matchup to Watch
North Carolina is going to try to outmuscle Oregon down low, but Oregon will respond by putting pressure on UNC’s guards to make good decisions. Against Kentucky, the Tar Heels made a lot of mistakes, committing 15 turnovers, and that’s something they will have to watch here.
Particularly, the onus will be on someone besides Joel Berry II. It was revealed that Berry was playing on a hurt ankle against Kentucky and then hurt his other ankle over the course of the game and he won’t be at 100 percent for this game. That means Theo Pinson or Nate Britt will be tasked with more duties, including handling the tenacious defense of Brooks.
North Carolina vs. Oregon Free Picks
North Carolina and Oregon have both shown a propensity to run down the court this season, so don’t be surprised if points come in at a pretty decent clip here. Both offenses are very effective and have playmaking guards that can push the tempo and get baskets or find open teammates when given the chance. However, UNC’s ability here will be a bit limited with Berry’s injuries so the foot might not be pressed down on the gas pedal quite as hard.
The total is high in this one, but don’t be scared by it. These offenses will be able to create plays and hit shots and that will mean points. Wait to see if it might drop under 150, but the over is the play to make.
North Carolina vs. Oregon ATS Pick: Bet the over here
North Carolina vs. Oregon Score Prediction: North Carolina 83, Oregon 78