There’s not a lot that coach Mike Krzyzewski hasn’t seen in 41 years on the sidelines at Duke. But this will be one: North Carolina on the other bench during a Final Four game. The Blue Devils and Tar Heels will meet in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the history of their storied rivalry — with a shot at the National Championship game on the line.
After the teams played two wildly different games in the regular season, which style will win out in the rubber match? Duke won in Chapel Hill on Feb. 5 by taking control of the glass and hitting almost every open look in an 87-67 blowout. Then North Carolina turned the tables in Coach K’s final home game, stealing the show and winning 94-81. The Tar Heels picked up the tempo in the second meeting and played a much sharper game in that matchup.
Since the upset win at Cameron Indoor Stadium, UNC has only lost once, going 5-1 SU and ATS in the postseason. The Blue Devils look to have figured it out as well, covering the spread in their last three NCAA Tournament games, and they come in as 4.5-point favorites in this battle of blue bloods.
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Duke Blue Devils Odds, Trends, and Picks
March Madness NCAA Tournament Final Four Betting Odds and Lines
|North Carolina Tar Heels
|Duke Blue Devils
|(28-9 SU, 20-16-1 ATS)
|(32-6 SU, 20-16-2 ATS)
When: Saturday, April 2, at 8:49 p.m.
Where: Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, LA
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Duke Blue Devils Spread Pick
With a blowout win for each team in the regular season, this Final Four contest could truly go either way.
For North Carolina to win, the Tar Heels will need to feed its bigs, Armando Bacot and Brady Manek, and dominate from the inside out. Few teams can actually attack the Blue Devils down low, but UNC has the personnel and ability to do so.
The Blue Devils, on the other hand, will need to shoot their way to the National Championship game. Duke shoots well from deep at 37.7 percent, and this team also has a player in Paolo Banchero who can dominate in the post.
With a game that truly seems like a coin flip, and the public likely to push the spread higher leading up to the 8:49 p.m. Saturday tip, I recommend waiting and taking North Carolina at +4.5 or better.
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Duke Blue Devils Spread Pick: UNC +4.5
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Duke Blue Devils Total Pick
When these teams get together, defense appears to be pretty optional. In the two previous contests this season, they tallied 154 and 175 combined points, respectively.
The number of shot attempts both teams give up is part of the reason for these high-scoring games. The Blue Devils give up 91.69 shot attempts per 100 possessions, and the Tar Heels aren’t much better, giving up 86.87 looks per 100 possessions. Given how good these teams are at pushing the tempo and actually hitting the shots they’re attempting, the over/under total is easily within reach.
Even though 151.5 points might seem like a big number in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament, I like the over to hit.
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Duke Blue Devils Total Pick: Over 151.5 points
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