Iona Gaels (17-15) at North Carolina Tar Heels (27-6)
NCAA Basketball: Friday, March 22, 2019, at 9:20 pm (Nationwide Arena)
Lines & Odds: North Carolina -23; Over/Under: 166
March Madness Pick Iona Gaels vs North Carolina Tar Heels
March Madness is finally here! Brackets are either filled out or in the process of being filled out. However, one game is the life line of every team, and that’s where the madness begins and ends. One of the tournament teams in Iona went on a 10-game win streak, including claiming the AAC (Atlantic Athletic Conference) Tournament title over the Monmouth Hawks, 81-60 to punch their ticket in the field of 64. This win was the fourth straight AAC Tournament title for the Gaels. Now as they prepare for their upcoming matchup in title contender in North Carolina, the Gaels will have to play a perfect game in order to earn an upset over the Tar Heels.
Iona Gaels (17-15) #16
The Gaels have came a long way, winning 10 straight games, including a AAC Tournament title to punch their ticket for the 2019 NCAA Tournament. The Tar Heels will be a handful as the Gaels have not faced a team of this caliber all season. Even though the Gaels have will play with an collective effort on offense, they will need to truly rely on their four top scorers in E.J. Crawford (17.9 PPG, 5.1 RPG, & 3PT%: 39.1%), Rickey McGill (15.5 PPG, 5 APG, & 4.6 RPG), Tajuan Agee (13.3 PPG, 8.1 RPG, & 3PT%: 35.8%), and Asante Gist (12.4 PPG, 2.3 APG, & 3PT%: 36.4%) to carry the offense but within the unison of the group to defeat the Tar Heels. However, if the Gaels are going to upset the Tar Heels,will need to be efficient from the field through three-point shooting as the Gaels shoots only 35.1% (142nd), which is somewhat respectable but could be better with better shot selection as they only have 420 assists (209th) for the season. Iona will also need to rebound better than the Tar Heels, who are the best rebounding team in the nation with 1,449 rebounds. Lastly, the Gaels will need to play better defense as they hold opponents to 75.6 PPG (278th) while the Tar Heels averages 86.1 PPG (3rd). You do the math! The Gaels will have to play suffocating defense to upset the Tar Heels.
North Carolina Tar Heels (27-6) #1
The Tar Heels recently lost to one of the best teams in the nation in Duke in the ACC Tournament Semifinal by a hair,74-73. The Tar Heels are still one of the title contenders and will potentially make it far in tournament play. However, the Tar Heels will begin their national title quest by matching up against the Iona Gaels. The Tar Heels are one of the best offenses in the nation as they average 86.1 PPG (3rd). Behind points per game, North Carolina shoots 46.4% (65th) from the field, 51.9% (116th) from two-point range, 36.5% (77th) from three-point range, 74.2% (61st) from the free throw line, grabbed 433 offensive rebounds (10th), and dished out 627 assists (3rd). This prolific offense is led by their trio scorers in Cameron Johnson (16.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, & 3PT%: 46.5%), Coby White (16.3 PPG, 4.2 APG, 3.4 RPG, & 3PT%: 36%), and Luke Maye (14.7 PPG & 10.5 RPG). Offense is the Tar Heels’ bread and butter for their season success. The only offensive weaknesses of the Tar Heels are turnovers, with 432 (216th) and opponents PPG with 72.9 PPG (217th). The Tar Heels will also have to be careful with foul trouble as they have racked up 566 fouls (159th). On the other hand, North Carolina have plenty to defeat the Gaels…just don’t give them any bit of hope.
Cover The Spread 365 Trends
Iona is 8-1 ATS in its last 9 games
Iona is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Iona’s last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Iona’s last 15 games
North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
North Carolina is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of North Carolina’s last 10 games
March Madness Prediction Iona Gaels vs North Carolina Tar Heels
The Gaels will do everything in their power to put up their greatest effort against the Tar Heels. Iona are currently on a hot streak, winning 10 straight games to make it where they are currently. They have the offense to compete with the Tar Heels. It’s this thing called defense that will have to prevail in order for them to have any chance of upsetting the No. 1 seed North Carolina. However, in the end, the Tar Heels are clearly a better team, with a legendary coach in Roy Williams in their corner to help lead them to victory. Sorry Gaels, the Tar Heels move onto the second round!
Pick: Under 166