The second game of Saturday’s Final Four doubleheader gives us an ACC rivalry clash between the eighth-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels (28-9) and the second-seeded Duke Blue Devils (32-6). The two teams split their matchups during the regular season in conference play.
Saturday’s matchup will be the first time these two storied programs will face off against each other in the NCAA Tournament.
Saturday’s tip-off is at 8:50 p.m. EST inside the Ceasers Superdome in New Orleans, LA. Duke is a 4-point favorite in the rubber match, and the over-under total is at 151.0 points.
What to Know – #8 North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina returns to the Final Four for a record 21st time in program history and first for first-year head coach Hubert Davis. The Tar Heels tied for second place in the regular-season standings and were bounced from the conference tournament by Virginia Tech.
Offensively, the Tar Heels average 78.1 points per game, hitting 45.2% of their shots from the field and 36.1% from the 3-point line. North Carolina’s defense holds opponents to 71.1 points per contest, 42.5% shooting from the floor, and 34.0% from deep.
The Tar Heels weren’t going to fall victim to the Cinderella run of Saint Peter’s, cruising to a 69-49 triumph in the Elite Eight. North Carolina jumped out a 38-19 halftime advantage thanks to 41% shooting from the floor. Armando Bacot was unstoppable, leading the Tar Heels with 20 points and 22 rebounds.
North Carolina is 10-1 since a mid-February loss at home to Pittsburgh.
What to Know – #2 Duke Blue Devils
The Blue Devils make their 17th Final Four appearance and the 13th in head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final season on Duke’s sideline. Duke was the regular-season champion in the ACC before an upset loss to Virginia Tech knocked them out of the conference tournament.
Duke’s offense scores 80.1 points per game thanks to 49.4% shooting from the floor and 37.0% shooting from the arc. The Blue Devils’ defense surrenders 67.4 points per game, 41.7% shooting from the field and 31.9% from three.
In Duke’s Elite Eight 78-69 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks, the Blue Devils had an 8-0 run to close out the half was the difference in the contest. Four Blue Devils scored in double figures, led by AJ Griffin with 18 points. Mark Williams added 12 points and secured 12 rebounds for Duke.
The Blue Devils have lost three of their last four games against North Carolina.
The Pick is In
North Carolina handed the Blue Devils a loss in Coach K’s final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. That motivation, paired with the play of Duke in the NCAA Tournament, leads us to believe the Blue Devils are destined for a spot in the national title game. UNC gives Duke an early test, but the Blue Devils close it out over the final minutes of play to cover.
Betting Pick: Duke Blue Devils -4