The No.4-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels play the No.5-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks in the third round of the NCAA tournament at Veterans Memorial Arena – Jacksonville, FL. Action begins at 8:40 pm ET on Saturday, Mar. 21.
The Tar Heels played well in their last game, barely hanging on to beat Harvard 67-65 in the second round. Marcus Paige was the team’s leading scorer with 23 points. The Razorbacks, meanwhile, are coming off a 56-53 win against Wofford in the second round. Arkansas still lost despite the best efforts of Bobby Portis, who recorded his 11th double-double of the season with 21 points and three rebounds.
This showdown pits one of the nation’s top offenses against one of its elite defenses, as North Carolina currently ranks 26th in the nation in offensive efficiency and Arkansas is 25th in defensive efficiency.
The odds for North Carolina and Arkansas are even, while the Over/Under (O/U) is currently not available. The Tar Heels have gone 25-11 Straight Up (SU) and 19-16-1 Against The Spread (ATS). Over their last 10 games, they have had success covering the spread (7-3). The Tar Heels are one of the best in Division I in terms of field-goal percentage, shooting an impressive .475 from the field. The rebounding edge goes to the Tar Heels in this matchup, who are one of the top rebounding teams in the nation with an average of 41.5 boards per game. North Carolina is one of the most disciplined teams in the nation with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.39. Crossing over to the defensive end of the court, the Tar Heels prevent teams from making three-pointers, ranking 10th in the nation with a .295 opponent field-goal percentage from three-point range.
Over on the other bench, the Razorbacks have 27-8 SU and 17-17 ATS records. The Razorbacks get to the line and convert their free throws at a high volume, ranking 17th in the nation with 530 made (16.1 per game). The Razorbacks have controlled the offensive glass with an average of 13.1 per game, 19th in the country. The Razorbacks are the better of the two teams when it comes to assist-to-turnover ratio, ranking 16th in Division I at 1.39. Moving on to the Arkansas defense, the Razorbacks are a terror in the passing lanes, averaging an impressive 7.8 steals per game.
This game marks the season’s first head-to-head clash between these two. Their previous game was a Razorbacks victory, but the win was not enough to overtake North Carolina in the head-to-head series. Their record is now 0-1 SU. With a 1-0 record, the Tar Heels also have the advantage ATS.
Predictions: SU Winner – ARK, ATS Winner – ARK
In its last game, Arkansas lost by a margin of three points. North Carolina is 2-2 in games decided by a margin of three points or less. Arkansas has a 3-3 record in close games.
Ranked 41st, the Arkansas Razorbacks have an offensive rating of 110.2. The North Carolina Tar Heels rank 118th with a defensive rating of just 178.8.
The North Carolina Tar Heels average a field goal percentage of 47.5% this season. The Arkansas Razorbacks have split their games this season (5-5) when opponents have a FG% of 47.5% or greater.
The North Carolina Tar Heels and the Arkansas Razorbacks both rank higher in average field goal percentage when compared to their effective field goal percentages. North Carolina is 87th and 27th in the nation for eFG% and FG% respectively, while Arkansas ranks 122nd and 100th in these categories.
North Carolina ranks among the best in the nation in assists at second (17.7 assists per game). Arkansas is ranked 12th with 16.2 assists per game.
North Carolina ranks 53rd in blocks per game with 4.5 and Arkansas ranks 40th with 4.8 blocks per game.
North Carolina is one of the best teams in the country when it comes to offensive rebounds, ranking 12th. Arkansas ranks just 247th in defensive rebounds.
Arkansas makes an average of 7.8 steals per game. North Carolina has a winning 9-5 record when it allows at least 7 steals.
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.