UNC vs. Lipscomb March Madness Betting Preview & Pick

UNC vs. Lipscomb March Madness Betting Preview & Pick

Written by on March 15, 2018

No team has repeated as national champion since Florida in 2006 & ’07. Second-seeded North Carolina begins its quest to join that exclusive group as the Tar Heels take on No. 15 Lipscomb in NCAA tournament West Region play Friday night. We take a look at the latest March Madness betting odds for this matchup.

UNC vs. Lipscomb March Madness Betting Preview & Pick

When: Friday, 2:45 PM ET Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte TV: CBS Radio: 1110 AM (UNC) / 94.9 FM (Lipscomb) Opening March Madness Betting Lines: UNC -19.5

Latest March Madness Betting Trends

  • Bison are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
  • Bison are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
  • Lipscomb is 9-4-1 ATS in their last 14 non-conference games.
  • Tar Heels are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
  • Tar Heels are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
  • North Carolina is 12-4-2 ATS in their last 18 games following a ATS loss.

Why Bet on Lipscomb?

The Bisons (23-9) finished second in the Atlantic Sun but then won the conference tournament over regular-season champion Florida Gulf Coast, 108-96. Lipscomb led by 29 points at halftime, went up by 32 in the second half, then saw the lead get shredded down to five. Garrison Mathews scored 33 points and the second-seeded Bisons held on. Lipscomb shot 65 percent from the field, a crazy 87 percent from 2-point range, and took 47 free throws to FGCU’s 28 on the way to dethroning the two-time reigning A-Sun champion Eagles. In only the 16th men’s basketball season in school history, Lipscomb will be dancing for the first time. Under the guidance of Casey Alexander, the Bisons have produced back-to-back 20-win seasons and finished the year on an eight-game win streak. Lipscomb can put up points, 82.6 a game (23rd in the nation), led by all-conference guard Mathews, the Atlantic Sun tournament MVP.  That kind of scoring will be a necessity in the tournament. Mathews is ranked 12th nationally in scoring (22.1 ppg).

Can UNC Defend?

North Carolina does not defend well on the perimeter, so if Mathews gets hot from beyond the 3-point line, it could set him off. An active and aggressive defensive approach from their opponent will likely be the Bisons’ undoing in the NCAA tournament. They turn the ball over on more than 20 percent of possessions, which often leads to easy buckets on the other end. The last time a No. 15 seed beat a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament was in 2016 when Middle Tennessee State stunned Michigan State.  Like MTSU was in 2016, Lipscomb is a No. 15 seed in the West Region and North Carolina is a No. 2. Since the national tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1995, only eight No. 15 seeds have beaten No. 2 seeds. Projected starting lineup: F Rob Marberry, 6-7, Jr. (16.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg); G Kenny Cooper, 6-0, So. (9.9 ppg, 3.7 apg); F Eli Pepper, 6-9, Jr. (7.0 ppg, 7.9 rpg); G Garrison Mathews, 6-5, Jr. (22.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg); G Michael Buckland, 6-5, So. (7.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 80.0 FT%).

Why Bet on North Carolina?

The Heels finished in a four-way tie for third in the ACC regular-season standings and then reached the ACC Tournament title game, losing to Virginia. The Tar Heels lead the ACC in nearly every offensive category and feature five players — Luke Maye (17.2), Joel Berry II (17.1), Cameron Johnson (12.7), Kenny Williams (11.4) and Theo Pinson (10.3) — who average in double-figure scoring.  If allowed to get into a rhythm, North Carolina, which averages 82 points per game, is capable of scoring points in bunches and putting the game out of reach early. Despite going with a smaller starting five, the Heels have remained an elite rebounding team, earning UNC many second chances. The Tar Heels lead the nation in rebounds per game (42.7) and rebounding margin (plus-10.7). One of the hidden keys to that success is the rebounding prowess of Carolina’s starting wings Pinson (6.1 RPG) and Johnson (4.6 RPG). This is the least depth a UNC roster has had since 2012-2013, when they flamed out in the second round. In the ACC regular season, Garrison Brooks and Sterling Manley were the sixth and seventh men off the bench. They only averaged a combined 21.4 minutes per game. Four of the five starters averaged more than 30 minutes per game. Only Theo Pinson averaged less, at 29.1 minutes per game.

How Well Did the Team Do Against Other Teams in the Tournament?

Is UNC a safe bet in the First Round of March Madness 2018?v Carolina went 13-9 against teams in the 2018 NCAA Tournament field. The Tar Heels went 2-0 against Syracuse; 2-1 vs. Duke, 1-0 vs. Bucknell, Arkansas, Michigan, Davidson, Tennessee and Ohio State; 1-1 vs. Clemson, NC State and Miami; 0-1 vs. Michigan State, Florida State and Virginia Tech; and 0-2 vs. Virginia. UNC’s strength of schedule (NCAA and KenPom) was the most difficult in the nation. This is Carolina’s ninth time as a No. 2 seed (1981, 1983, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1995, 2001, 2011 and 2018). The Tar Heels are 22-8 as a No. 2 seed, previously advancing to the Final Four as a second seed in 1981 and 1995. UNC is 6-0 vs. No. 15 seeds. The Tar Heels last played a No. 15 in 2011 in Charlotte when they beat Long Island University. Since the field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985, the Tar Heels are 29-1 in first round games (only loss was in 1999 as a No. 3 seed to No. 14 Weber State). Projected starting lineup: G Joel Berry II, 6-0, Sr. (17.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.3 apg, 88.8 FT%); G Cameron Johnson, 6-8, Sr. (12.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 86.2 FT%); G Kenny Williams, 6-4, Jr. (11.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg); G/F Theo Pinson, 6-6, Sr. (10.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 4.8 apg, 82.0 FT%); F Luke Maye, 6-8, Jr. (17.2 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 44.0 3FG%)

Expert March Madness Betting Prediction

Welcome to the big time, Lipscomb! Heels cruise and cover.