March 27, 2016 (12:00 PM ET)
There is one NCAA pick tonight. It was released yesterday, a day in advance.
After increasing our bankroll by a huge 27% last week, SPS is wrapping up another very profitable week!
Sports Profit System is 17-7 with college basketball picks in March and has also won 11 of its last 14 NBA picks!
Take Notre Dame +10 spread against North Carolina for 3% of the bankroll.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and North Carolina Tar Heels are certainly no strangers to one another. This will be the third meeting between the teams and will be arguably the most important matchup for both this season. UNC completely dominated the Irish in their most recent meeting in the ACC Tournament, coming away with a 78-47 victory. That loss was not completely unexpected after the Irish had put in a masterful performance in their prior game, sending the Duke Blue Devils to an early tournament exit. The Irish succumbed to a somewhat expected letdown and happened to run into what many believe to be the very best team in the country. Since that loss however, Notre Dame has been playing their best basketball of the season and have rattled off three straight victories to get to this point. They managed to defeat Michigan, Stephen F. Austin and Wisconsin in extremely hard fought battles. There is no question that they will be looking to atone for their most recent performance against the Tar Heels and we expect that they will at the very least, keep this game competitive.
North Carolina traveled to South Bend earlier this season and the Irish actually managed to come away with an 80-76 victory over the then #2 ranked Tar Heels. The Irish shot only 35% from the field and 19% from 3-point range in that contest, but had the perfect game plan to defeat UNC. They did a bulk of their damage at the charity stripe, going 31 of 38 from the line. They crashed the boards and kept the rebounding battle even, while coming away with an impressive 20 offensive rebounds! They got the Tar Heels into early foul trouble which is something that we expect them to try and do again in this contest. They have also been extremely disruptive on the defensive end. They forced the Tar Heels into 13 turnovers (10 by way of steals!) In their most recent victory over Wisconsin, three key steals late in the game allowed the Irish to pull off the victory. If the Irish are once again active with their hands and force UNC to turn the ball over, they should be able to keep this matchup competitive. Notre Dame matches up extremely well with North Carolina and is a big reason why they have taken 2 out of the last 3 meetings.
The Tar Heels have no doubt looked like the more impressive team and have come away with blowout victories on their road to this matchup. They've won all three of their contests by double digits, while Notre Dame has been playing in tightly contest affairs, so it's not a surprise that the oddsmakers had opened this game with the Heels being a double digit favorite. The issue that we have with this is that at this stage of the tournament, there are only quality teams remaining and while the Tar Heels have been tearing through the competition, they have yet to show that they can win a closely contested matchup when they need to. Notre Dame has been in knockdown, drag out dogfights and has shown a lot of heart in on their road to get here. Even when they have been down on the scoreboard, they have continued to fight and managed to make plays at the critical moments when the game is on the line. There is no discounting that. We have yet to see North Carolina is a situation where the pressure is on and they "need" to make plays. That could be an issue for them in this contest.
There is certainly no question that UNC is the odd-on favorite in this contest. Many 'expect' them to advance to the Final 4 and get past Notre Dame this evening. That can put a tremendous amount of pressure on these players, knowing that they are "expected" to win and could cause them to struggle. Meanwhile, not much is being expected from the Irish. In many’s eyes, they were not even expected to be here. They have nothing to lose by stepping out on the court and trying to play their style of game. If anything, that will give them the advantage of being able to play loose and free and allowing their game to come to them. They likely won't be forcing the action as much as the Tar Heels will be. Notre Dame has shown their ability to be a high powered and efficient offense and has a similar style to that of their counterparts. They will likely have no issue turning this game into a track meet as they have the speed and talent to play in transition just as the Tar Heels do. They also have a big presence in the paint with the extremely athletic Zach Auguste down low. Auguste could prove to be a difference maker in this contest.
Even if the Tar Heels manage to jump out to a huge lead, catching double digits at this point in the tournament could prove to be priceless. We have seen the Irish cut into leads all tournament long and it would not take much to see even a 12 or 15 point lead by UNC, dwindle down to an 8 or 9 point victory by the final buzzer. The Tar Heels would need to win this game in blowout fashion yet again in order to cover this number and we are just not completely convinced that they do so. We have seen strange things happen in the final minutes of games this season and wouldn't be surprised to see the Tar Heels squander a big lead late in the game which allows the Irish to sneak in the backdoor and cover the number. There are numerous ways that the Irish cover this number and cash our tickets, whether it be by making this a competitive game, by getting a backdoor cover late or even by managing to pull off the outright upset; the only way UNC does so is by a complete blowout. This is a lot of points to lay in an Elite 8 matchup and we believe they will come into play in this contest.
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