North Carolina To Go From Sweet To Elite Thursday

Chris Wassel
By , Updated on: Mar 24, 2024 08:00 PM
North Carolina To Go From Sweet To Elite Thursday

The up and down nature of the college basketball season remains like nothing else. Now, the top teams show themselves and determine who truly is the best of the best. On Thursday night, two of the best square off in the West Region. Top-seeded North Carolina faces fourth-seeded Alabama. At Online Sports Betting, we look at a matchup which could boil over. So, first, we look at Sweet 16 best bets. Can the Tar Heels conquer the Crimson Tide and their offense?

  • WHAT: North Carolina Tar Heels versus Alabama Crimson Tide
  • WHEN: Thursday, March 28th, 2024, 9:39 pm ET on CBS or streamed on FUBO TV
  • WHERE: Arena, Los Angeles, California
  • WHY: Sweet 16 West Region matchup

Experts, bettors, and fans keep building this game up more and more. The Sweet 16 best picks get enamored with the idea of North Carolina playing Arizona in the Elite 8. Now, betting on March Madness Favorites brings some historical merit (64% of the time a 1 seed wins the Title). That translates to 25 times in 39 years. Here is a table for Thursday night, thanks to Bovada Online Sportsbook.

NCAAM Sweet 16 WestBovadaBetOnlineBetUS
North Carolina Tar Heels (-4)-110-112-113
Alabama Crimson Tide-110-108-107

Sweet 16 Best Bets Sweet And Sour On North Carolina

Sweet 16 best bets are sweet and sour on North Carolina. Now, why is that? The problem remains the same with North Carolina. Sometimes, no one knows what they are going to get. This was a team that rolled through the ACC at times (beat Duke three times) then lost to NC State, Clemson, and Syracuse. Now, who knew NC State and Clemson would wind up in the Sweet 16 too? Yes, the ACC has four teams all in the Sweet 16 including the Duke Blue Devils.

Like we mentioned, there is the sweet with North Carolina. Again, the Tar Heels went 17-3 in the conference, were ranked fifth in the nation before the tournament, and took care of business in the first two rounds over the weekend. Beating Michigan State by 16 was not as easy as it looked. North Carolina played well and reasonably disciplined on defense.

This was a team that managed one Quad 1 win last year. 2023-24 was a much different story even with some of the same tendencies mixed in. Armando Bacot noted that "North Carolina is a work in progress." He mentioned players like Elliott Cadeau and of course, RJ Davis along with Harrison Ingram. Carolina gets to the foul line which will help offensively on Thursday.

Let's examine both teams and then their chances potentially against Arizona if the hypotheticals all play out, of course.

Can North Carolina Slow Down Alabama?

Sweet 16 best bets ask can North Carolina slow down Alabama? Hubert Davis knows he has the front court to irritate the Alabama Crimson Tide. The problem is will Alabama shoot as poorly as they did in Round 2. If they are around 40%, there is no way the Crimson Tide will advance if the is the case. Some experts argue that Alabama could potentially beat themselves. In theory, North Carolina can help that along if they get to the foul like like Grand Canyon did.

The Antelopes managed to hit the charity stripe a total of 37 times Alabama gets to the line a lot but foul a ton too (25.2 foul shots yielded a game). North Carolina rebounds well (leads the nation in defensive rebounds) and crashes the glass effectively. Their height and weight advantage could force Alabama to foul frequently. Again, those free points expect to be vital against a team that can pile up points quickly themselves.

Those are two reasons North Carolina likely will have to score at least 80-90 points. For one, no one expects Alabama to start around 20% again. Second, the rest of the Crimson Tide aside from Mark Sears shot 15% (3-for-20) from beyond the arc. That may regress upward some. Again, the key for North Carolina will be to slow down Alabama and force or alter shots.

Again, no one is expecting a miracle. However, North Carolina can somewhat contain a dynamic attack. Duke was mentioned but earlier in the season they kept up with Connecticut until very late in that game.

Sweet 16 Best Bets Giving Up Four Points?

So, what about Sweet 16 best bets giving up four points? Talk is cheap but North Carolina needs to make at least 75-80% of their foul shots (Grand Canyon made 62.2%). Also, keep the Crimson Tide from pounding the glass themselves (12.2 offensive boards and 39.7 rebounds a game), then make Alabama pay in transition. By keeping them honest, North Carolina can build a lead that Alabama may not recover from.

That is how a team beats an opponent who averages 90.7 points per game. ACC basketball is different than SEC hybrid basketball. Carolina did not turn the ball over in the first two games and must continue that trend. Five would be nice against Alabama but anything ten or fewer is probably ideal.

There is this thought that Grand Canyon wore Alabama down some. Everyone will see if that is true or not on Thursday. North Carolina's attacking, physical style expects to be the hammer.

North Carolina To win by five or more points Thursday

This Very High Over Is Scary

Okay, this very high over is scary in terms of Sweet 16 best bets. This game expects shifts. However, the game total started at a whopping 173.5. For both teams that average over 80 points a game, that is not a surprise. Instead of looking at the game total, The Under holds some weight for the teams too. Betting a very tiny amount of the team under for Alabama and North Carolina is not a bad idea. Carolina is at 89.5. That is a lot unless this game goes to overtime.

North Carolina To score less than 90 points

Online Sportsbook Reviews Are Handy

Our list of online sportsbook reviews are handy as OnlineSportsBetting's top ten sites feature some of the best in the industry.

Meet the author

Chris Wassel

Chris Wassel is a veteran sports writer with over 20 years of experience publishing thoughtful analysis and insightful perspectives on everything from hockey to basketball, football, and more. As a seasoned journalist, Chris has established himself as a leading voice o...

Online Sports Betting may receive compensation if you sign up through our links. Rest assured, we avoid biases and provide honest opinions on sportsbooks. Read more here.