The Villanova Wildcats will look to win the second national basketball championship in school history when they take on the ‘loaded’ North Carolina Tar Heels in the 2016 NCAA Championship game on Monday night. Thanks to this fun-filled expert preview on the seriously intriguing affair, you’re going to be able to make the most out of all your championship wagers, no matter what kind of bet you’re placing. Okay, with tip-off time quickly approaching and the college basketball odds about the get hot red, let’s get started with the complete game preview and betting analysis.
Betting Tips for the NCAA Championship Showdown
When: 9:19 PM ET, Monday, April 4, 2016
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
Livestream: ncaa.com and March Madness app
Odds: North Carolina -2
The Tar Heels (33-6 SU, 20-18-1 ATS) beat No. 16 Florida Gulf Coast 83-67 in the first round, No. 9 Providence 85-66 in the second round, No. 5 Indiana 101-86 in the Sweet 16, No. 6 Notre Dame, 88-74 in the Elite Eight and No. 10 Syracuse 83-66 in the Final Four.
Through five games, North Carolina is averaging a stellar 88.0 points per game during their March Madness run while limiting their opponents to an average of just 71.8 points per game.
North Carolina‘s Strengths
It’s no secret that North Carolina has a ton of athletic former high school All-Americans that give the Tar Heels a level of quality depth that most teams just can’t match. All-American forward Brice Johnson has increased his season scoring average from 17.0 points per game to a cool 20.0 per contest through five tourney games.
The Heels also have a pair of steady guards in senior Marcus Paige (12.3 ppg) and Joel Berry II (12.7 ppg) and a trio of tall, lanky and underrated forwards in Isaiah Hicks (9.1 ppg), Justin Jackson (12.2 ppg) and Kennedy Meeks (9.2 ppg) that can all rebound and score the ball in the low post.
North Carolina plays an up-tempo style of hoops in which they generally blitz their opponents into submission with their waves of standout substitutes.
North Carolina‘s Weaknesses
We haven’t seen it very much, during their run to the championship game, but North Carolina can often play like a bunch of inexperienced freshmen that look like they’re playing in their first game.
The Heels also have issues when it comes to shooting – and defending – the three-ball. Carolina ranked 294th in three-point shooting (31.9 %) and 262nd in defending the three (35.9 %).
By The Numbers
North Carolina ranked 10th in the nation in scoring this season (83.0 ppg) while also finishing 15th in field goal shooting (48.4 %) and 27th in free throw shooting (74.8 percent). Carolina has given up an average of 69.8 points per game this season (121st) while limiting their opponents to just 41.3 percent shooting from the field (66th).
- Tar Heels are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
- Tar Heels are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following an ATS win.
- Tar Heels are 16-5-1 ATS in their last 22 neutral site games.
The second-seeded Wildcats (34-5 SU, 20-17-1 ATS) reached the national title game by beating No. 15 North Carolina-Asheville 86-56 in the first round, No. 7 Iowa 87-68 in the second round, No. 3 Miami 92-69 in the Sweet 16, overall No. 1 Kansas 64-59 in the Elite Eight and No. 2 Oklahoma 95-51 in the Final Four.
The Cats are averaging 84.8 points per game during their March Madness run while limiting their five tourney opponents to a mind-boggling 60.6 points per game.
Villanova’s (33-5 SU, 19-17 ATS) greatest strength is that they’re kind of like the NBA’s Golden State Warriors or San Antonio Spurs in the way every player on the floor can put the ball in the hole. The Wildcats get double figure scoring from four players with two of them being backcourt mates Josh Hart (15.3 ppg) and Ryan Arcidiacono (12.3 ppg) while the other two are frontcourt starters Kris Jenkins (13.5 ppg) and Daniel Ochefu (10.1 ppg).
More importantly, Villanova is one of the few teams that can match North Carolina in the depth department as a whopping eight players average double digits in minutes played.
The Wildcats don’t have many weaknesses at all if you ask me other than a lack of size up front, although that could hurt them against the lanky Tar Heels frontcourt.
By The Numbers
For the season, the Wildcats average 78.0 points per game (57th) while draining an impressive 48.1 percent of their field goal attempts (19tt) and a blistering 78.2 percent of their free throw attempts, good for second in the nation. Villanova has been even better defensively, ranking 11th in the nation in points allowed (63.3 ppg) and 35th in defensive field goal percentage (40.2%).
- Wildcats are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up win.
- Wildcats are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
- Wildcats are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.
The Tar Heels (33-6) last won it all in 2009 while Villanova’s only title came way back in 1985. North Carolina’s Final Four win over Syracuse was their 10th straight win. Villanova has won nine of its last 10 games overall. The Wildcats shot an insane 71.4 percent from the field against Oklahoma in their Final Four matchup that ranks as the second best shooting percentage in Final Four history. Ironically, the only team to shoot a higher percentage was that eighth-seeded Wildcats team that beat Georgetown in the 1985 title tilt (78.6 %).
“They shot the ball very efficient tonight,” Hield said of Villanova. “If a team do this, I feel they can go win it all.”
North Carolina has won each of its five tournament games this year by an average of 16.2 points. The Tar Heels will make its 10th title appearance while Villanova makes its third. The two schools have some tournament history with the Tar Heels beating Villanova in the tournament on the way to their titles in 1982, 2005 and 2009. They downed the Wildcats in the national semifinals in 2009 before beating Michigan State for the championship.
North Carolina leads the all-time series 11-4 and is 5-1 against Villanova in the NCAA Tournament. The Tar Heels defeated the Wildcats in the 2009 national semifinal, 83-69.