Auburn Tigers (28-9) vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (29-6) (TV: TBS)
NCAA Tournament: Friday, March 29 2019 7:29 PM ET (Sprint Center) Kansas City, MO
Spread: UNC -5 Over/under: 164 Money line: UNC -231 Auburn +193
FREE March Madness Pick Auburn Tigers vs. North Carolina Tar Heels
The North Carolina Tar Heels will face the Auburn Tigers in their Sweet 16 matchup. This should be a high level game as both teams are playing well offensively. UNC averages 85.97 ppg, the 3rd most in the nation. Auburn averages 79.44 ppg and have been playing their best basketball since winning the SEC Title over Tennessee, 84-64. They followed that win up with a narrow win over New Mexico State, 78-77 and a blowout win over Kansas, 89-75. Auburn has some momentum going into this game and it should be competitive throughout.
Auburn is lead by senior guard, Bryce Brown (15.9 ppg 2.0 rpg 1.9 apg) who is shooting 40.8% from 3. Junior point guard, Jared Harper (15.3 ppg 2.5 rpg 5.7 apg) is a capable ball handler who runs their half court sets and is their best playmaker. Sophomore forward, Chuma Okeke (11.8 ppg 6.7 ppg 1.9 apg) moves well laterally and this attribute will be key when defending against UNC’s senior forward, Luke Maye (14.9 ppg 10.6 rpg 2.3 apg). Maye is a great rebounder and Okeke will need to box out and play disciplined defense against the crafty senior. Outside of their 3 double digit scorers, Auburn has 6 players that average at least 3.9 ppg. Auburn will need solid contributions from players outside of their big 3 to stay competitive against a talented UNC team.
March Madness Pick Auburn Tigers vs. North Carolina Tar Heels
UNC is lead by senior guard, Cameron Johnson (16.9 ppg 5.8 rpg 2.5 apg) who is shooting 46.3% from 3 and can score from mid range efficiently. Freshman point guard, Coby White (16.1 ppg 3.6 rpg 4.1 apg) is lightning quick when he gets a lane to the basket and is a decent finisher at the rim through contact. If he can make the right decisions and limit his turnovers, UNC should get the win. White is largely responsible for why UNC has just a high paced offense which Auburn will attempt to slow down. Senior forward, Luke Maye is their best rebounder and a talented inside scorer who is capable of stretching it out to 3 point range. Freshman forward, Nassir Little (10.0 ppg 4.7 rpg 0.7 apg) is a game time decision because of the flu.
If Little does miss the game, UNC will miss the athleticism and energy that he brings off the bench. Little has had a great tournament scoring 19 points in his first tournament game, followed up by 20 points in their second game against Washington, 81-59. Defensively, UNC allows 72.39 ppg, while Auburn allows 68.86 ppg. This should be a high scoring game that UNC should win having superior talent and solid go to players in Maye, White and Johnson as options in crunch time.
Pick: Money line UNC -231