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2017 March Madness Round of 32 – North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Arkansas Razorbacks Predictions, Picks and NCAA Basketball Betting Preview

2017 March Madness Round of 32 – North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Arkansas Razorbacks Predictions, Picks and NCAA Basketball Betting Preview

No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 8 Arkansas Preview

Where: Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville

When: Sunday, March 19, 6:10 PM ET

Line: North Carolina Tar Heels (-10.5) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks (+10.5); total: 162.5 – view all NCAAB lines

TV Broadcast: TNT

College Basketball News and Previews

Betting on the North Carolina Tar Heels (-10.5)

Top-seeded North Carolina stormed into the second round of the NCAA Tournament with an emphatic 103-64 win over Texas Southern on Friday. It was a dominating performance by the Tar Heels who recorded their highest point total in an NCAA game since scoring 108 against Arkansas in the 2008 second round. North Carolina was sizzling from the field the entire game, nailing 38 of its 75 field goal attempts for an incredible 50.7 percent clip. The Tar Heels were ruthless as well on the defensive end as they held the Tigers to just 36.7 percent shooting from the field.

Justin Jackson led the way for the Tar Heels in this contest, scoring 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field. Jackson’s explosion was a welcome sight for head coach Roy Williams as his star was mired in a shooting slump prior to the tournament. The ACC player of the year made just 20 of 60 shots (33 percent) and 7 of 31 3-pointers (23 percent) in his previous four outings. Jackson has been a vital cog in North Carolina’s success this season, leading the team in scoring with an 18.1 PPG average.

Make no mistake about it, though, the Tar Heels are not just a one-man team. Three other players are also averaging in double-figures for North Carolina this season, namely Joel Berry II (14.5 PPG), Kennedy Meeks (12.6 PPG) and Isaiah Hicks (12.5 PPG). They combined for 33 points in the win against Texas Southern. Quite concerning, though, for North Carolina is the injury situation of Berry. He rolled his ankle against the Tigers and was a non-factor in Friday’s game. He scored just three points on 1-of-8 shooting from the floor.

North Carolina is 7-3 SU and 6-3-1 ATS in its last 10 games.

Betting on the Arkansas Razorbacks (+10.5)

Arkansas booked a ticket to the second round of the national tournament with a thrilling 77-71 win over Seton Hall on Friday. The No. 8 seed Razorbacks battled back from an eight-point deficit late on to record the win and in the process set up a humdinger of a showdown with North Carolina in the round of 32. This will mark the third time in less than a decade that the Tar Heels and Hogs meet in the tournament’s second round. North Carolina won against Arkansas in 2008 and 2015.

For the Hogs to grab the victory this time around, they will need to push the tempo against the Tar Heels. A faster pace might benefit the Razorbacks this coming Sunday as head coach Mike Anderson believes that tactic played a huge factor in his side’s victory against Seton Hall. Anderson said that his team made better basketball decisions when they sped up their play against Seton Hall. That’s a challenge, however, that Roy Williams and the rest of the Tar Heels are willing to face head on. The Tar Heels have the legs to cope with that offensive scheme with eight North Carolina players logging nine or more minutes in the first-round win against Texas Southern.

Expected to lead the way for Arkansas in this crunch clash is Jaylen Barford. He was the catalyst for Arkansas’ stunning comeback on Friday, scoring 12 of his 20 points in the second half. Barford, who also had seven rebounds and four steals, hit the go-ahead layup with 57.8 seconds left that effectively tilted the game in the Hogs’ favor. Barford has been a beast for Arkansas this season, averaging 12.9 points per game this campaign. He’s one of four players who’s averaging in double-figures for Arkansas this season.

Arkansas is 8-2 SU and 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games.

Writer’s Prediction

North Carolina (-10.5) wins but doesn’t cover.

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Written by Joel

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