North Carolina vs. Arkansas - 3/19/17 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Walt Beazley

Walt Beazley

Williams' memories of North Carolina playing SC back in the old days of the ACC don't sound very fond.

Arkansas is coming off a 77-71 grinder over Seton Hall on Friday to advance to today's game.

We'll have up-to-the-minute scoring and stats here throughout the game.

North Carolina led by 17 points after a dominating start, blew that lead and trailed 65-60 with about 3 1/2 minutes left then came up with a response befitting its veteran experience.

Forward Josh Jackson poured in a game-high 21 points versus Texas Southern, converting five of his three-point attempts to go along with his seven rebounds. The Tar Heels outclassed the Tigers in the paint as Isaiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks, Tony Bradley and Luke Maye all scored in double digits.

The Shockers, who, at this very moment, are sixth in KenPom's rankings, entered the NCAA tournament as a 30-4 No. 10 seed that was favored by six points over the No. 7 seed that had won the outright Atlantic 10 regular season title. They had lost their ability to run their offense. The Razorbacks rank 26th in adjusted offensive efficiency (116.7) and 94th in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to kenpom.com, and take care of the ball rather well considering they average more than 73 possessions per game.

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Towering centre back Robert Huth doubled the lead for the away side he headed in a 7th minute corner by Marc Albrighton. City striker Jamie Vardy had scored just a hat-trick against Manchester City in his previous 26 games before today.

A faster pace is something Arkansas coach Mike Anderson endorses because he said fatigue might have played a factor in his team's favor in defeating Seton Hall. "You can just go out there and play".

Matchup to Watch: Arkansas will likely not survive another game in the NCAA Tournament when putting up a minus-14 rebounding margin, especially against a team that was plus-27 in their opening game.

For the point guard, the decision to opt out of the play was because he didn't want to push it, but he insists he was able to sprint back on defense if the game had required it.

This year, Wichita State has a chance to return the favor in a game where, as a No. 10 seed, they may only end up being a one or two point underdog. The win was Roy Williams's 32nd tournament win and the 750th of his career. Add a dash of hot 3-point shooting (they average a solid-but-not-great 36.5%), and win the turnover battle (the Razorbacks generate a lot of steals, and are well above average at limiting turnovers of their own), and you have the recipe for an upset. The Tar Heels are the prohibitive favorite to not just to get to the Final Four out of this region, they were the odds-on bet to win the whole tournament. And with that, UNC is onto a regional semifinal for the 34th time in school history.

The narrow path to victory for Arkansas looks something like this: get the Tar Heel bigs into foul trouble, getting them off the floor, and take advantage at the free throw line, where Arkansas excels (76.3% as a team).

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