Oregon Ducks versus North Carolina Final Four Betting Preview
Date: Saturday, 1st April
Place: University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, AZ
March madness odds:
Oregon +4½ (-110) 150½ (-110) +173
North Carolina -4½ (-110) 150½ (-110) -205
How they got here
The Ducks upset the No. 3 seeded Kansas Jayhawks 74-60 in the Sweet 16 on Saturday to return to the Final 4 for the first time since 1939 – in other words, since the inaugural NCAA Basketball Tournament. Tyler Dorsey scored 24 points, Jordan Bell had 14 rebounds and eight blocks, and Dillon Brooks had four assists. Oregon shot 51% from the floor and 11 of 25 from the three-point line. UNC held off Kentucky 75-73 on Sunday for their second straight trip to the Final 4. Justin Jackson had 19 points and four assists, and Kennedy Meeks grabbed 17 boards. Luke Maye added 17 points off the bench, including the game-winning shot with 0.3 remaining. What can we say? Maye the Force be with you, Luke.
The Tar Heels lead the all-time series 4-0. UNC beat Oregon 89-78 and 106-73 in 1968, 86-60 in 1976, and 98-69 in 2008.
Players to watch
Perhaps the UNC players to keep an eye on are precisely those who draw the least attention. We know Jackson is the go-to guy for head coach Roy Williams (and to a decreasing extent, Joel Berry II), but Luke Maye, Isaiah Hicks and Nate Britt can come at’cha outta nowhere, as Maye proved against UK. Meanwhile, Jordan Bell has joined legends such as Larry Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Tim Duncan as the eighth player since 1985 to pots four games in a row with 12 or more rebounds in the NCAA tournament.
March madness betting trends
The Tar Heels are 8-0 straight-up and 7-1 against the spread in their last eight games against Pac-12 teams, and 10-2 SU in their last 12 games against teams with a winning record. The Ducks have a 33-5 record (22-14-1 against the spread).
What to expect
This one will be a battle for control of the boards. In particular, between Bell’s 8.6 rebounds per game and Meeks’ 9.3. UNC averages a rebounding margin of plus-14 during the tournament while allowing a combined 33 offensive rebounds. As for Oregon, the Ducks have held opponents to 69.3 point per game while posting an average rebounding margin of plus-7.5 boards per game.
This just in
According to OregonLive.com, rebounding was a source for concern for the Ducks after they lost Chris Boucher. However, “in the five games since Boucher’s injury, the Ducks have allowed 1.5 fewer offensive rebounds per game than their season average.”
The Tar Heels will enter Saturday as the overwhelming march madness betting favorite. On paper, UNC versus Gonzaga is the national championship game we’re looking forward to (which would be the second trip in a row for North Carolina), but then Oregon would not have made it this far if they hadn’t upset March madness odds against the Kansa Jayhawks.