Kansas vs UNC Best Bets: Can the Tar Heels Find the Magic One More Time?

Last game of the college basketball season and we have a very interesting matchup between eighth-seeded UNC and the number 1 seeded Kansas Jayhawks. Let's break down the game.
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Kansas vs UNC Best Bets: Can the Tar Heels Find the Magic One More Time?

UNC comes into this game with one of the more impressive tournament runs in college basketball history. Only a few 8 seeds have ever made the NCAA championship game and they had a very tough road to get here. They blew out Marquette from start to finish and then held on to beat Baylor in OT after nearly blowing a 25-point lead with 10 minutes to play. After they made the sweet 16, they really hit their stride. They had a very nice comeback against UCLA as they took the lead in the final minutes and were able to hold on thanks to the impressive performance of Caleb Love.

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Love has been inconsistent this season, but he has stepped up in the biggest moments as he dropped 30 against UCLA and 28 against Duke to propel the Tar Heels to victory in games they were not expected to win. Love has been the catalyst for this high-powered UNC offense. Love's biggest problem all season has been his inefficiency from the field as he sometimes takes very ill-advised shots that are out of the flow of their offense. UNC and Love are at their best when he is attacking the rim going downhill to create scoring opportunities for himself, drop-offs to Bacot, or kick-outs to Manek/Davis for open threes.

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Another key for UNC in this game is going to be how effective Armando Bacot can be on the inside as he deals with an ankle injury. For basketball players, ankle injuries can be very limiting and may limit his lateral quickness and athleticism. Every report says he is going to play and the lack of line movement toward Kansas also tells me that Bacot intends to play with his normal minutes and workload. Bacot has probably been the MVP of the tournament to this point as he has been dominant on the inside. UNC is a really good rebounding team as a whole as they are ranked second in the nation in defensive rebounding percentage and 74th in offensive rebounding percentage.

David McCormack is a very capable post player on the other side for Kansas and if UNC can limit the Jayhawk's second chance opportunities on missed shots, then I think it greatly increases their chances to win. Kansas has had a phenomenal season and has played really well from start to finish. They have looked impressive in their tournament games as well as they really haven't had to sweat down the stretch in any of their games. Where Kansas has showed a little bit of vulnerability though, has been in the 1H of games. They trialed Miami by 6 at halftime as 6-point favorites and they only led by 1 against an undermanned Creighton team without their best post player.

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Another thing that Kansas has struggled with this year is defending the paint and protecting the rim. Kansas is much better at defending the 3-point line as opponents are only scoring 28% of their offensive production on threes vs the Jayhawks this season, which is ranked in the top 60. On the flip side, Kansas' opponents are scoring 54.3% of their offensive production on 2-pointers against the Jayhawk's defense which is in the bottom 65 in the nation. Love, Davis, and Bacot love to get to the rim for layups and free throw opportunities and I think they will be able to have success in the paint tonight.

On the defensive side of the ball for UNC, they excel in defensive rebounding and defending without fouling. They are ranked eighth in the country in the lowest defensive foul percentage and this will be crucial for them tonight as McCormack, Ogbaji, Braun, and Wilson get a majority of their offensive production from line drives to the rim and drop-offs for layups/dunks. I think UNC is going to limit Kansas' ability to get open looks at the rim and force them to knock down threes. I also expect a little regression from Kansas as well as they shot the lights out in their last game against Villanova and don't necessarily expect that same type of production again here.

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With that being said, I am rolling with UNC 1H +2.5 at -108 for 1U and UNC 1H ML at +145 for 0.5u as I think the Tar Heels jump out to a fast start here, much like their performance against Baylor in the second round. These are my most confident picks of the night and the last picks of the college basketball season. Let's get it.

Kansas vs UNC Best Bets

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Joey has spent the last 6+ years betting on sports with a focus on basketball and baseball. Basketball is his main focus, and not many people know more about mid-major basketball than him. Whether you need advice on a Saturday night primetime game or a Tuesday night back-alley SWAC/MEAC game, Joey is your man.

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