North Carolina comes into the NCAA Tournament riding high after knocking off rival Duke in the last game of the regular season.
The Tar Heels have an inside presence in Armando Bacot mixed with some talent on the perimeter in Caleb Love, R.J. Davis, and Brady Manek. North Carolina will look to make some noise in head coach Hubert Davis’ first season with the team.
Marquette also has a head coach in his first year with his team in Shaka Smart. This is a team with impressive wins over Villanova, Providence, Illinois, and Seton Hall this season. Freshman forward Justin Lewis leads the way as a prolific scorer who averaged 17.1 points per game this season.
This projects as a closely-contested matchup between the 8- and 9-seeds in the East Region. It’s one of those games that can go either way, so it would not surprise me to see it decided on the last possession. We could be in for a treat with this one.
North Carolina vs Marquette Odds
North Carolina vs Marquette odds are provided by BetRivers and current as of 1 p.m. ET on Monday, March 14.
- Moneyline: North Carolina (-155) @ Marquette (+130)
- Spread: North Carolina -3 (-112) @ Marquette +3 (-108)
- Over/Under: Over 151.5 (-109) / Under 151.5 (-110)
- Implied Score: North Carolina 77, Marquette 74
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North Carolina vs Marquette Prediction
North Carolina ranks 29th in KenPom thanks to an offense that finished 27th in efficiency. One of the underrated aspects of their team is their ability to knock down their free throws, converting at a 77.2% rate from the charity stripe.
Free throws could prove to be a crucial factor in this game, especially if it goes down to the wire. Marquette isn’t nearly as good from the line, hitting on 74.7% of their attempts this season.
While Marquette has some big wins against strong competition, they come into the tournament on a bit of a slide, going 4-5 in their last nine games. They are placed 47th in Pomeroy’s rankings due to a solid balance on offense (62nd) and defense (46th), but they could be in a tough spot against the Tar Heels.
North Carolina vs Marquette Score Pick
North Carolina 76, Marquette 70
These are two teams headed in opposite directions, but we should still see a close game. It’s going to come down to who makes fewer mistakes and knocks down their free throws.
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We could also see North Carolina’s superior three-point shooting have an impact in this game. As long as the Tar Heels can keep Justin Lewis in check, they should be able to squeak one out here.
North Carolina vs Marquette Best Bets
North Carolina Moneyline (-155) at BetRivers Sportsbook
Wager: 1 Unit
You can just sense that this game is going to come down to the last possession. While I think that North Carolina will come out on top because they are playing better basketball right now, it feels risky to lay the three points in this scenario.
The (-155) moneyline is a palatable cost to eat the juice in such a close game. We want to avoid dealing with any bad beats due to a one- or two-point win for the Tar Heels.
Under 151.5 Total Points (-110) at BetRivers Sportsbook
Wager: 1 Unit
This is a lot of points to lay in a game that projects to be close. We could see each team slow down the pace toward the end of the second half if it comes down to the last possession.
Both teams have the ability to light up the scoreboard, but I feel more comfortable siding with the Under given the high total.