Kansas Looking for First National Championship in a Decade
During a season when upstart programs made a splash on the national scene, it could be considered a little surprising that Blue Blood programs will square off for the national title.
Kansas being in the championship game is not that big of a surprise to those making March Madness predictions considering that the Jayhawks came into the season with +1400 odds to win the national championship although the Jayhawks haven’t been in the national title game since 2012. North Carolina came into the season with +2800 odds to be cutting down the nets in New Orleans.
The key for North Carolina, which needed a strong push at the end of the regular season just to secure an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament, will be putting the emotional win over rival Duke in the national semifinals behind them.
Something to consider for those who bet online, North Carolina is 5-0 straight up and against the college basketball spreads in the last five games when listed as the underdog.
Let’s check the latest news, stats, injury reports, and March Madness Odds for North Carolina vs Kansas. We have plenty of predictions for you to consider.
Davis Has North Carolina on Verge of Title in Debut Season
When North Carolina dropped back-to-back games to Miami and Wake Forest in January by an average of 25 points, there were questions about whether the Tar Heels made a mistake giving the head coaching job to Hubert Davis following the retirement of Roy Williams. The March Madness odds for the Tar Heels were not promising.
Davis, who spent nine seasons as an assistant coach with the Tar Heels, had never been a head coach at any level.
No doubters are a little quieter these days. Davis will always be beloved by the North Carolina fans for being at the helm when the Tar Heels sent Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski into retirement with a classic win in the national semifinals.
Davis had one of the best 3-point shooting percentages in NBA history and the ability to connect from the perimeter happens to be a strong suit of his first UNC team,
North Carolina has connected on at least 10 3-pointers in four of the five games in the NCAA tournament. Brady Manek and Caleb Love lead the way with 18 3-pointers each during the tournament while R.J. Davis made five of his nine treys in the second-round upset of top-seeded Baylor.
A surprise in the Duke game was the two 3-pointers from Leaky Black who had missed all three of his 3-point attempts during the NCAA tournament coming into the Final Four.
North Carolina has covered against the college basketball spreads in its last five games.
Agbaji Gets Hot at Perfect Time for Kansas
The unanimous Big 12 Player of the Year and first-team All-American was uncharacteristically quiet in the early part of the NCAA tournament.
Ochai Agbaji had 12 field goals including just two 3-pointers in the first three games in the tournament.
He showed signs of life making 8 of 12 shots including both 3-point attempts in a win over Miami in the Elite Eight and then erupted by making 6 of 7 from 3-point range to lead Kansas past Villanova in the national semifinals.
A battle of the blue bloods on the biggest stage 🏆
Kansas. North Carolina.
Need we say more? pic.twitter.com/JGRkbbzN30
— Kansas Men’s Basketball (@KUHoops) April 3, 2022
Agbaji was handling the scoring from the outside and fellow senior David McCormack dominated inside with a season-high 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting. Much like Agbaji, McCormack’s production has increased as the stakes have gotten higher. He averaged 8 points and 5 rebounds in the first three games in the tournament but has seen his numbers rise to 20 points and 6.5 rebounds in wins against Miami and Villanova.
The huge games by Agbaji and McCormack overcame a rare off offensive night from Remy Martin. Add in Christian Braun scoring all 10 of his points in the second half including two huge 3-pointers and the Jayhawks are back in the national title game for the first time since 2012.
Kansas is 7-2 against the Las Vegas odds in its last nine games.
North Carolina vs. Kansas Head-to-Head
The rivalry started in the 1957 national title game when North Carolina defeated the Wilt Chamberlain-led Kansas team to win its first championship.
Kansas won 84-66 in the 2008 national semifinals as a three-point underdog and went under the 158-point total.
There were matchups in back-to-back March Madness brackets. In 2012, Kansas won 80-67 in the Midwest Regional final as a two-point favorite.
The most recent matchup came in the second round of the 2013 tournament with Kansas emerging with the 70-58 win at a 6.5-point favorite in the Round of 32. It was the third time in the last four meetings that went under the total.
North Carolina vs. Kansas Game Information
- Game: North Carolina (29-9) vs. Kansas (33-6)
- Location: Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
- Day/Time: Monday, April 4, 9:20 p.m. ET
- Live Stream: TBS.com
- March Madness Bracket
North Carolina vs. Kansas Betting Lines
North Carolina vs. Kansas Prediction
Don’t look for much in the way of bench scoring other than from Kansas’Martin. North Carolina has been outscored 53-6 in bench points in the last three games. Mitch Lightfoot and Martin are the only reserves seeing regular roles during the tournament for Kansas.
A key for North Carolina has been the play of Manek, who not only provides a 3-point threat but also helps provide production and a physical presence in the post. He is no stranger to the Kansas players as he faced the Jayhawks eight times in the four seasons he played at Oklahoma as he averaged 11.8 points and 6 rebounds against the Jayhawks.
The showdown between McCormack and Bacot in the low post will be an intriguing game within the game. If one of them needs to sit because of early foul trouble, it could shift the balance of power.
North Carolina had a bit of an inconsistent season but has figured it out at the perfect time. However, it is hard to go against Kansas in this one even if the 4½-point line seems a bit on the high side.