Tar Heels on NCAA Bubble
It is almost unthinkable that North Carolina and Syracuse could miss the NCAA Tournament for the second time in the last three years after it hadn’t happened since 2002 but it is entirely possible.
North Carolina is listed as one of the last four teams out in Jerry Palm’s updated bracketology and it took the Tar Heels winning three games in a row just to get to that point. Syracuse played in 31 NCAA Tournaments from 1983-2021 but it is going to take an improbable run to the ACC tournament title for Syracuse to be in this year’s event. A 3-7 road record has played a role in a disappointing season for the Orange.
Obviously, North Carolina will need to win this one to help the Tar Heels in the March Madness predictions.
North Carolina (+15000) is somehow behind Syracuse (+13000) when it comes to the latest March Madness predictions.
Rare Productive Outing for Syracuse’s Bench
Buddy Boeheim, his brother Jimmy and Cole Swider are among the top players in the ACC in minutes per game, leaving limited minutes for Syracuse’s reserves.
With things not going well when Duke made the trip to the Carrier Dome on Saturday, the bench players had a chance to show what they could do. Freshman Benny Williams hadn’t played more than seven minutes in the last seven games, but he had 14 points in a career-high 30 minutes. It was his first double-digit scoring game.
Bourama Sidibe, a senior who made his season debut in late December, made all four of his field goal attempts and all three of his foul shots for his first double-digit scoring game since the 2020 ACC tournament. After playing a combined 12 minutes in his first five games, he has averaged 19 minutes per game over the last four. He is 8 of 11 from the field with 15 rebounds in those four outings.
The 29 points were the most scored by the Syracuse bench this season. The offense will continue to run through the Boeheim brothers, Swider and Joseph Girard III, who have combined for 80 percent of Syracuse’s field-goal attempts. Still, it will be worth watching to see if Williams and the other reserves earned more playing time after the Duke game.
Syracuse has covered against the college basketball spreads in one of its last five games.
Senior Night for North Carolina
North Carolina will honor seniors Leaky Black, Brady Manek and Ryan McAdoo before Monday’s game — its final home game of the season. For a team on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament, every win is crucial to improve the Tar Heels’ March Madness odds.
Manek, who connected on his 300th career 3-pointer in Saturday’s win over North Carolina State, has scored in double figures in his last nine games. He is averaging 16.4 points and 5.8 rebounds in that span, helping North Carolina go 7-2 in those games to remain in contention for an at-large bid to the March Madness bracket. He had one three-game stretch where he had 15 3-pointers.
Black is averaging 4.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists. He recently made his 100th career 3-pointer and has started 86 games over the last three seasons. He did leave the last game with a knee injury so it is worth monitoring his status.
— InsideCarolina (@InsideCarolina) February 26, 2022
McAdoo has played in five games this season and in 24 contests over the last four seasons after beginning his career at Florida Gulf Coast.
North Carolina is 14-2 at home — only Duke and Wake Forest have more home victories among ACC teams. The Tar Heels have dropped two of its last four home games and failed to cover against the Las Vegas odds in three of their last four games in Chapel Hill.
The total has gone over in nine of North Carolina’s last 12 games.
Syracuse vs North Carolina Head-to-Head
Syracuse has won two of the last three meetings with North Carolina after the Tar Heels won the previous nine matchups.
Syracuse has never won in Chapel Hill, although the last two games were decided by single digits. North Carolina is 5-0 against Syracuse in the Dean Dome but just 2-2-1 against the spread.
The two meetings in 2021 were decided by six points or less with each time winning and covering on its home floor.
Six of the last nine games in the series finished over the total.
Syracuse vs North Carolina Game Information
- Game: Syracuse (15-14) at North Carolina (21-8)
- Location: Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
- Day/Time: Monday, 7 p.m. ET
- Television: ESPN
Syracuse at North Carolina Betting Lines
Syracuse vs North Carolina Prediction
The total of 156 is on the high side, but considering that six of Syracuse’s last nine games and seven of the last nine North Carolina games went over the total, this contest could certainly trend in that direction.
North Carolina, behind the play of double-double machine Armando Bacot, leads the ACC in rebounding margin while Syracuse is one of five conference teams being outrebounded. So one of the questions is whether the Orange can slow down North Carolina’s inside game, especially with second-leading rebounder Jesse Edwards out for the season.
The eight-point line might cause those who bet online to be a little hesitant to trust a North Carolina team that has failed to cover in three of the last four home games when favored by at least 7½ but with the way Syracuse looked in its last outing, it makes sense to go with the Tar Heels to cover at home.