No. 8 North Carolina vs. No. 9 Marquette NCAA Tournament

No. 8 North Carolina vs. No. 9 Marquette | NCAA Tournament Betting Favorites & Analysis

It’s ninth-seeded Marquette of the Big East facing No. 8 seed North Carolina of the ACC in NCAA Tournament East Region play on Thursday with the winner almost surely facing No. 1 Baylor in Round 2. The Heels are short favorites on the NCAAB odds.

How to Bet Marquette vs. North Carolina NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

Why Bet on Marquette?

Marquette (19-12) hasn’t won back-to-back games since late January and comes off a 74-63 loss to Creighton in its Big East Tournament opener. Guard Darryl Morsell led the way with 18 points and forward Justin Lewis chipped in 17 points and seven rebounds. Guard Tyler Kolek had seven rebounds and six assists.

Creighton made eight of its first nine shots in the second half to pull away by double figures.  The Golden Eagles made a pair of rally attempts down the stretch, closing to 63-61 on a 3-point play by Greg Elliott, but weren’t able to complete the comeback.

Lewis claimed the Big East Most Improved Player Award. Lewis, who was tabbed All-Big East First Team, concluded the regular season ranked among the conference leaders in six categories. He is third in the league in scoring at 17.1 points per game (led the Big East in league-only games at 18.2 ppg.) and fourth in rebounding (7.9 rpg.), the only player in the league in the top-five in both categories. He appeared in 21 games as a true freshman in 2020-21, earning one starting assignment, and contributed 7.8 points and 5.4 boards per contest.

Marquette has earned a spot in the NCAA tournament field for the first time since 2019, marking the program’s 34th appearance all-time. The Golden Eagles earned the No. 5 seed in the West Region in 2018-19 and were upset by Ja Morant and Murray State (No. 12 seed) in the opening round at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn.  The Racers posted an 83-64 victory. Marquette owns an overall record of 41-34 (0-2 as a No. 9 seed – 1980 and 1983) in the event.

MU h as just a pair of players with NCAA tournament experience, and both Morsell and Kur Kuath advanced to the postseason with different programs.  Morsell (Maryland) started a total of four games, helping the Terrapins to the Round of 32 in both 2019 and 2021. Kuath (Oklahoma) appeared off the bench in a pair of games in 2021, helping the Sooners to the second round as well.

Marquette and North Carolina have met on just six occasions all-time, but the limited series has provided a key highlight for MU fans. Legendary head coach Al McGuire directed MU to the national title in 1977, which culminated with a 67-59 win over North Carolina in Atlanta. The game would be McGuire’s last as a collegiate coach. MU posted an 83-70 win last season in Chapel Hill.

Why Bet on North Carolina?

UNC (24-9) lost 72-50 to Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament semifinal to snap a six-game winning streak. The Hokies opened the second half with a 9-0 run on a three-point play by Keve Aluma and back-to-back 3s by Hunter Cattoor and Justyn Mutts that upped the lead to 41-26. The Tar Heels, looking to return to the ACC title game for the first time since 2018 and set up a rubber match with Tobacco Road rival Duke for the championship, never mounted a real threat.

Armando Bacot had 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Tar Heels. It was Bacot’s 25th double-double in 33 games this season, extending his UNC single-season record. Bacot is the seventh player in ACC history with at least 25 double-doubles in a season and the third in the last 25 seasons. The others include Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan with 29 in 1996-97, Wake Forest’s Len Chappell with 26 in 1961-62, NC State’s Tom Burleson with 26 in 1973-74, NC State’s Ronnie Shavlik with 25 in 1955-56, Maryland’s Jordan Williams with 25 in 2010-11 and Notre Dame’s John Mooney with 25 in 2019-20. Bacot became the second Tar Heel ever with 400 rebounds in a season. He passed Tyler Hansbrough (399 in 2007-08) to move into second place in UNC single-season history with 412.

Carolina’s 59 points were its fewest since a 58-47 win over Boston College on 1/26/22. The 59 points were UNC’s fewest against Virginia Tech since a 62-48 loss in Blacksburg on 12/5/1949. Carolina came into the game averaging 8.4 three-pointers per game at a 37.1% clip, but went 3 for 26 (11.5%). The three 3FGs were the fewest in a game since a season-low one (in 13 attempts) in the loss to Kentucky on 12/18/21. The three 3FGs were the fewest ever in a game in which UNC attempted 25 or more.

North Carolina is playing in the NCAA Tournament for the 52nd time, the second-most tournament berths all-time. Carolina is a No. 8 seed for the fifth time and the second season in a row (1990, 2000, 2021, 2022).

Carolina beat No. 1 seed and No. 1 ranked Oklahoma as an eight seed in the second round in 1990 (current coach Hubert Davis was a sophomore on that UNC team). Carolina advanced to the Final Four in 2000 as a No. 8 seed. Carolina is 126-48 in the NCAA Tournament, the second-most wins all-time. UNC is first all-time with 20 Final Fours, second in NCAA history in appearances (52), games (174), wins (126) and winning percentage (.724) and is third in championships (6).

Game Trends

  • Golden Eagles are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 Thursday games.
  • Golden Eagles are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 neutral site games as an underdog.
  • Golden Eagles are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss.
  • Golden Eagles are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 NCAA Tournament games.
  • Tar Heels are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
  • Tar Heels are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up loss.
  • Tar Heels are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 neutral site games as a favorite.

Expert Prediction

  • North Carolina 77, Marquette 75

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