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Apr 03, 2022

UNC Tar Heels vs. Kansas Jayhawks Picks, Predictions, Odds

The North Carolina Tar Heels (29-9) square off against the Kansas Jayhawks (33-6) for the 2022 National Championship in Monday's final game at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. Tip-off between the upstart 8th-seed Tar Heels and the 1-seed Jayhawks is scheduled for 9:20 p.m. (ET) on TBS.

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Score Prediction

Kansas 84, North Carolina 71

Best Bet

Kansas -179
Kansas -4 (-110)
Over 152 (-110)

NCAA Tournament Expert Picks

UNC TAR HEELS vs. KANSAS JAYHAWKS PREDICTIONS

The North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team, their alumni and their fans are feeling awfully good about themselves. Not only did this team spoil rival Duke's regular-season finale, the last game for legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski in Cameron Indoor Stadium, but they just ousted their heated rivals from the Final Four and ended his career. If you asked North Carolina fans what a dream scenario season would be, even the most passionate fan would never have envisioned this situation playing out in Hubert Davis' first season at the helm. But it did, and it is.

The Kansas Jayhawks have been the lone No. 1 seed sticking in the NCAA Tournament for a while now. They have faced Texas Southern, Creighton, Providence, Miami-Florida, Villanova and now UNC. You play the teams placed in front of you, and never apologize for a series of upsets which made the road a little bit easier.

Kansas hasn't had to face a fellow No. 1 seed at any point of this tourney, and now catch a No. 8 seed. That usually happens in the second round, not the final. I expect UNC to have expended a ton of energy in its emotional win over Duke, and I look for Kansas to roll.

UNC TAR HEELS vs. KANSAS JAYHAWKS BETTING ODDS

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UNC TAR HEELS vs. KANSAS JAYHAWKS BETTING RESOURCES

  • Date: Monday, April 2, 2022
  • Matchup: No. 8 vs. No. 1
  • Venue: Caesars Superdome
  • Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • TV-Time: TBS - 9:20 p.m. ET
  • Final Four Betting Picks

UNC TAR HEELS BETTING ANALYSIS

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 29-9
  • ATS: 21-16-1
  • O/U: 22-15-1

The Tar Heels were actually seeded incorrectly, if you look at their overall body of work. They really only had one bad loss at home to Pittsburgh, and a 20-point setback to Duke which sticks out. Losses early in the season on a neutral floor against Purdue and Tennessee, as well as to Kentucky, as well as a few hiccup road games inside the conference in January. That's it.

UNC lost in the ACC Tournament to Virginia Tech, but that turned out not looking so bad, since they Hokies ended up cutting down the nets in Brooklyn.

So really, is UNC's success in the NCAA Tournament surprising? Well, yes. They looked like a team with Sweet Sixteen potential, maybe topping out as an Elite Eight squad at best. But this isn't a Butler situation, or even a Villanova situation, a team which was an 8-seed to go all the way. They're chock full of NBA-caliber players, and they just bloomed at the right time.

UNC has covered five in a row, while going 12-3-1 ATS in the past 16 games against teams with a winning overall record. They're also 5-0 ATS in the past five as an underdog. The Heels are also 13-4-1 ATS in the previous 18 games overall if you expand it back all the way back into late January.

For totals, the OVER has hit in each of the previous two outings, while going 6-2 in the past eight as an underdog. The OVER is 17-8-1 in the previous 26 games overall for UNC, too, while hitting in four of the past five NCAA Tournament games as an underdog, which, of course, is the role they find themselves Monday night.

KANSAS JAYHAWKS BETTING ANALYSIS

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 33-6
  • ATS: 20-18-1
  • O/U: 21-18

The Jayhawks have covered back-to-back games, and done so rather handily, with a 76-50 win over Miami as a 5.5-point favorite, before ousting Villanova 81-65 as a 4-point favorite.

Kansas has rattled off 10 straight wins overall since a 74-64 setback at TCU back on March 1. After an 0-3 ATS run from Nov. 25-28 on a neutral floor, the Jayhawks have posted an 8-0 SU/6-2 ATS mark in the previous eight games in a neutral-site game.

The Jayhawks have posted covers in seven of the past nine games overall, while stacking covers with a 5-1 ATS mark in the past six following a cover in the previous game. Kansas is 7-2 ATS in the past nine following a straight-up win, too.

In terms of totals, the OVER is 6-2 in the past eight following a cover in the previous outing. Kansas has also posted the OVER at a 6-1-1 clip in games played on a Monday, for whatever that is worth.

Kansas looks to grab its sixth overall national title, and fourth in NCAA Tournament history. (AP)

INSIDE THE STATS - UNC TAR HEELS

  • Record: 29-9
  • PS/G: 78.1 (28th)
  • PA/G: 71.3 (242nd)

INSIDE THE STATS - KANSAS JAYHAWKS

  • Record: 33-6
  • PS/G: 78.4 (23rd)
  • PA/G: 67.2 (118th)

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • UNC: Armando Bacot - F (16.6 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 1.7 BPG, 1.5 APG)
  • UNC: Caleb Love - G (15.7 PPG, 3.7 APG, 3.4 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 87.5 FT%)
  • KU: Ochai Agbaji - G (19.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.7 APG, 47.7 FG%, 41.1 3P%)
  • KU: Christian Braun - G (14.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 50.9 FG%)

UNC TAR HEELS vs. KANSAS JAYHAWKS BETTING CONCLUSION

The biggest news for the Tar Heels heading into Monday's game is the ankle health of superstar and double-double machine Armando Bacot. He suffered a sprained right ankle against Duke, but X-rays after the game were negative. Bacot had a ridiculous 21 rebounds with 11 points and a blocked shot against the Blue Devils. Leaky Black also pulled down nine rebounds, while RJ Davis had seven boards. In all, UNC grabbed 48 rebounds in the Final Four win.

Head coach Hubert Davis said Sunday that the big man was walking around and feeling good, and that he and the medical staff were encouraged by the lack of swelling around the injured area. Still, it's a huge concern for UNC backers heading into Monday. And, if he plays, and plays to the best of his abilities, it still won't/shouldn't matter.

Kansas had a 35-29 rebounding advantage against Villanova, and will have to up its game on the glass if Bacot is able to play. Jalen Wilson had 11 points, 12 rebounds and a blocked shot, and he'll likely be tasked with trying to outduel Bacot, as well as the inconsistent David McCormack. The latter had a tremendous game against 'Nova, going for 25 points, nine rebounds and a 10-for-12 shooting night.

Head coach Bill Self would love to see more of that, and less of the combined 4-of-13 shooting effort McCormack had against Creighton and Providence in the earlier rounds. The nine boards were his most since the Big 12 title game against Texas Tech. The good news is McCormack seems to shine the most when the lights are brightest. Remy Martin has also been a beast in the postseason, stepping up with 12.0 PPG, 4.4 RPG and 3.0 APG in eight postseason games while hitting 49.3% from the field.

These teams last met on March 24, 2013, so it's been a spell. In a second-round NCAA Tournament game, with UNC as an eight-seed, and Kansas as a one-seed, the Tar Heels actually led 30-21 at halftime. Kansas went on a 14-5 run to tie the game in the first five minutes of the second half, before pulling away for a 70-58 win. The result will be eerily familiar for the Tar Heels here, with a lot more offense.

Look for the Jayhawks to pull away in the second half similar to that '13 game vs. UNC, and the Miami game in the Elite Eight, before inching the total across the finish line for OVER bettors late. Kansas and its fans will celebrate to "One Shining Moment" with a convincing win and cover.

UNC TAR HEELS vs. KANSAS JAYHAWKS BETTING TRENDS

  • UNC is 5-0 ATS in the past five games overall.
  • UNC is 5-0 ATS in the past five as an underdog.
  • UNC is 12-3-1 ATS in the past 16 vs. winning teams.
  • Kansas is 7-2 ATS in the past nine games overall.
  • Kansas is 7-2 ATS in the past nine as a favorite.
  • Kansas is 6-2 ATS in the past eight neutral-site games.
  • Kansas is 5-1 ATS in the past six following a cover.
  • OVER is 6-2 in the past eight for UNC as an underdog.
  • OVER is 17-8-1 in the past 26 games overall for UNC.
  • OVER is 5-2 in the past seven NCAA Tournament games overall for UNC.
  • OVER is 4-1 in the past five NCAA Tournament games as a 'dog for UNC.
  • OVER is 6-2 in the past eight following a cover for Kansas.
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