- UNC and Marquette battle Thursday in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament
- The Tar Heels have gone 8-2 in their last 10 heading into March Madness
- Read below for the Marquette vs North Carolina odds, analysis, and betting prediction
The University of North Carolina always carries name recognition in college hoops, but the Tar Heels could be one of the more underrated teams in the NCAA Tournament.
They check in as an 8-seed in the East Region, and will battle the upstart Marquette Golden Eagles in the opening round. The winner probably gets a crack at the top-seeded Baylor Bears in the Round of 32.
It all gets underway Thursday at 4:30pm ET at Dickes Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, in a game can be seen live on TBS.
Marquette vs UNC Odds
|Marquette Golden Eagles||+133||+3.5 (-114)||O 152 (-110)|
|North Carolina Tar Heels||-159||-3.5 (-106)||U 152 (-110)|
Odds as of March 16th at Barstool Sportsbook.
The Tar Heels open as 3.5-point favorites, in a contest that features a total of 151.
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Marquette Golden Eagles Betting Analysis
New coach, new team, in a March Madness bracket after sitting out a year. Things are looking up for Marquette in the first year of the Shaka Smart era, as the team finished fifth in the Big East with an 11-8 mark.
It’s been a rough go for them down the stretch, however, picking up just four wins in their final 10 games, including an opening-round loss to Creighton in the Big East Tournament.
— Marquette Basketball (@MarquetteMBB) March 6, 2022
Still, there’s plenty of pieces there to make it out of the first round.
If the Golden Eagles find their shooting stroke, it could be an issue for any opponent. They led the Big East with 769 three-point attempts, and connected on a conference-best 34.7% clip. Marquette is 11-1 this year when connecting on 10 or more threes.
Marquette's Darryl Morsell quietly having a solid season after transferring from Maryland.
— B/R Hoops (@brhoops) January 15, 2022
Justin Lewis will be counted on to do much of the heavy lifting. The 6-foot-7 forward led the team with 17.1 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, and was named to the All-Big East First Team.
Guard Darryl Morsell was an All-Big East honourable mention, and averaged 13.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists on the year.
UNC Tar Heels Betting Analysis
Even with distant NCAA Tournament odds, the Tar Heels might be a team equipped to make some noise as one of the lower seeds. UNC tied with Notre Dame for the second best record in the ACC regular season at 15-5, just a game behind the Duke Blue Devils.
What may throw bettors off the scent is the clunker they laid in the opener of the ACC Tournament to eventual champion Virginia Tech.
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) March 8, 2022
The Tar Heels were in the midst of their best stretch of basketball, having reeled off six straight and eight of nine prior to that loss to the Hokies. They’re also ranked 30th overall in KenPom, with an adjusted offensive efficiency ranking of 27.
Carolina’s offense put up 77.5 points per game in the ACC, and they dominated the glass, leading the conference in total rebounds and defensive rebounds per game, and were one of four schools to average double-digit offensive boards. That means trouble for Marquette.
Brady Manek: 21 points vs Virginia Clips: pic.twitter.com/QXqf26O1JZ
— Jarrod (@jhardy575) March 11, 2022
Four players averaged double-figure scoring for Carolina this season, led by 6-foot-10 big man Armando Bacot, who put up 16.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. He was flanked by 6-foot-9 forward Brady Manek, who averaged 14.4 points and 5.7 rebounds.
Marquette vs UNC Pick
Size will matter in this one, especially if UNC can hold Marquette to an average shooting day from beyond the arc.
There doesn’t look like a lot of second chance opportunities for the Golden Eagles, who were last in both rebounding margin and offensive rebounding in the Big East, and 10th out of 11 schools in rebounds per game.
Aside from Lewis, no other player on the Golden Eagles averaged more than four rebounds per game.
North Carolina is also 7-3 against the spread in the their last 10, with Marquette lagging at 3-6-1.
UNC has also delivered on the moneyline, putting up a crisp 22-4 mark as favorite this year.
I expect this one to be close for a while, but look for Carolina to win going away.
Pick: UNC Tar Heels -3.5 (-110)
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