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Louisville vs North Carolina Game Preview, Odds, Picks & Predictions

Tar Heels Bidding for 14th Home Win

Rematch of OT Clash

There hasn’t been much to cheer about for Louisville basketball fans this season, but the Cardinals nearly pulled off one of its most memorable wins of a difficult campaign the last time they faced North Carolina. Louisville led by as many as six points before falling in overtime. Two Louisville technical fouls in overtime ended any hope of victory.

The Cardinals are just 2-7 on the road so trying to take down North Carolina will be significantly more challenging, especially with the Tar Heels only two games out of first place in the ACC standings.

Louisville vs North Carolina Game Preview, Odds, Picks & Predictions
Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

North Carolina is a national championship contender more years than not, but this season the Tar Heels are sitting at +10000 in the latest March Madness odds.

Louisville at North Carolina Game Information

  • Game: Louisville (12-14) at North Carolina (19-8)
  • Location: Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
  • Day/Time: Monday, 7 p.m. ET
  • Television: ESPN

Louisville Struggling to Dial Long Distance

There are plenty of reasons why Louisville is struggling to find its way this season, but poor 3-point shooting would have to be pretty high on the list.

The Cardinals have dropped 10 of their last 12 games. Louisville shot less than 30 percent on 3-pointers in five of those losses, including a two-game stretch when it was 7 of 43 from 3-point range. Even when the Cardinals secured a rare victory, as they did against Clemson on Saturday, it wasn’t a result of 3-point shooting. Louisville was just 8 of 29 in the game. It was the ninth time in the last 12 games that the Cardinals attempted more than 20 3-pointers per game. That is a curious strategy considering that Louisville ranks 290th out of 350 Division I men’s teams in 3-point field goal percentage.

It is no wonder that finding Louisville matched with March Madness predictions is no easy task

Nine different Louisville players have attempted at least 10 3-pointers and six are shooting less than 33 percent from long range.

Louisville is 3-10 against the college basketball spreads in its last 13 games.

North Carolina’s Bacot in Select Company

There are plenty of ways to heap praise on a player but when you are named in the same sentence as Tim Duncan, that is pretty hard to top.

After recording double-digit rebound totals in just three of his first six games of the season, North Carolina’s Armando Bacot has been on a rebounding tear not seen in the Atlantic Coast Conference in quite some time. His 15 rebounds in Saturday’s win over Virginia Tech was the 18th time in the last 21 games that Bacot had at least 10 boards.

Bacot is averaging 14 rebounds in conference play, the most by an ACC player since the aforementioned Duncan pulled down 14.9 rebounds per game against ACC foes during the 1996-97 season.

North Carolina has lost both ACC games when Bacot didn’t have at least 10 rebounds, and in the Tar Heels’ last four ACC losses, he is averaging 9.8 rebounds. North Carolina is 6-1 in conference play when he has at least 14 rebounds.

Bacot has been a good rebounder in his first two collegiate seasons, averaging 8.3 and 7.8 per game, but he has taken it to another level with 12.2 rebounds per contest this season. He is a major reason why North Carolina still has a chance to be a part of the March Madness bracket.

It is a good thing Bacot has been doing the inside work because Dawson Garcia, one of three North Carolina players averaging more than five rebounds per game, hasn’t played since January 12

The Las Vegas odds total has gone over in six of North Carolina’s last seven games.

Louisville at North Carolina Head-to-Head

North Carolina has won four of the last five games against Louisville and covered in each of the victories. That includes a 90-83 win at Louisville on Feb. 1 when the Tar Heels were listed as four-point favorites. Showing how far the Cardinals have fallen, Louisville was favored by 10½ points when the Tar Heels paid a visit in 2020.

That Feb. 1 game was the first since 2017 decided by single digits, which is something for those who bet online to consider.

The last 11 times the teams met, the winner of the also covered against the spread.

North Carolina has won at home in six of the last seven meetings but covered in just three of those games.

Louisville vs North Carolina Prediction

North Carolina and Louisville have had some elite defensive teams during their illustrious histories, but the 2021-22 versions of the Tar Heels and Cardinals won’t be included on that list. Louisville is ninth and North Carolina 13th in the ACC in scoring defense.

The teams played in 2008 with a spot in the Final Four on the line and have since had some ACC battles with plenty at stake. This game is simply a case of North Carolina taking care of business against a Louisville team sitting in 10th place in the ACC standings.

North Carolina hasn’t been setting the world ablaze, but playing at home, the Tar Heels figure to cover as nine-point favorites.

Pick: Over 143½

Pick: North Carolina Tar Heels -9

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