Kansas vs North Carolina Betting Odds
At the beginning of the tournament, FanDuel offered an exact National Championship matchup market. Kansas vs North Carolina was 26-to-1.
But we’re here!
Caleb Love and North Carolina did the unthinkable Saturday evening, sending Mike Krzyzewski into retirement.
Meanwhile, Kansas steamrolled a shorthanded Villanova team, winning wire-to-wire. Rock Chalk Jayhawk is hunting for Bill Self’s second title.
But North Carolina has been the best team in the country in the second half of the season. Hubert Davis worked out the growing pains and got his team playing their best basketball in March.
But will it be enough to take down the vaunted Jayhawks?
Kansas Jayhawks Odds
When you boil down the Jayhawks, they’re a collection of great shot makers.
The Jayhawks grade out poorly in most ball-screen and set pieces. But they’re great moving off the ball and setting off-ball flare screens. The Jayhawks get shooters in the open court and those shooters love to make shots.
Ochai Agbaji went 6-for-7 from deep against Villanova. Christian Braun hit a late-game rainbow 3 that ended Villanova’s season. Remy Martin played poorly but has been hitting big shots for the entire tournament.
And when everything else fails, the Hawks can dump it down to David McCormack. McCormack is one of the best offensive rebounders in the game but also dominates in post-up situations. Against Villanova, he dropped 25 points on 10-for-12 shooting while grabbing nine boards.
McCormack will be huge in this game. Armando Bacot and Brady Manek make up the best frontcourt tandem in college hoops. Stopping those two will be squarely on the broad shoulders of McCormack.
If the big 6-foot-10 Virginia product can do that, Kansas will have a great chance to win this basketball game.
Because while Love and RJ Davis have been transcendent, Kansas has the advantage on the perimeter. The Jayhawks have too many weapons and are too good defensively for North Carolina to keep up.
Kansas’ perimeter wall held Collin Gillespie – one of the greatest Villanova players of our generation – to three turnovers and zero assists. Kansas suffocated the ‘Nova guards, and the Wildcats couldn’t compensate without Justin Moore on the floor.
Expect the Jayhawks to do the same to the Tar Heels.
North Carolina Tar Heels Odds
The important thing for Love and Davis is that coach has given the two the green light.
The backcourt tandem took a combined 33 shots against Duke. Some were incredibly ugly. Some were beautiful, including Love’s dagger 3 which put the rivalry game away.
Growing up, Caleb Love dreamed of going to Duke and playing for Coach K. But he was never offered a scholarship.
Tonight, Caleb Love hit the biggest shot of his career, sending UNC to the championship game and ending Coach K’s career.
WHAT. A. WORLD.pic.twitter.com/ubg9CsQ6G3
— 24/7 High School Hoops (@247HSHoops) April 3, 2022
The two have come up massive in this run. They’ve combined for almost 35 points per game in the five tournament matchups. Love carried UNC past UCLA with 25 second-half points. It’s been the biggest difference between the first and second halves of UNC’s season.
Bacot has been surreal. He grabbed over 20 rebounds for his second straight tournament game. He’s vacuum-like on the interior. He also scored in double-digits and went 5-for-8 from the charity stripe.
He also hurt his ankle. He immediately re-entered the game after the medics checked him out. But I’m not going to disregard the injury altogether when handicapping this game.
Manek continues to be a flamethrower. After a pitiful first half, he hit three massive 3s in the second, extending his streak of 3+ 3-pointers made to five straight games. The most impressive one came with less than 10 minutes left, as Manek stood on his toes and kept his “Heels” off the baseline when spotting up. He drained the rainbow shot.
I’m just worried about the defense. The Tar Heels do not pressure the ball, ranking second-to-last nationally in both defensive turnover rate and defensive non-steal turnover rate. They won the game, but Duke still scored over 1.1 points per possession while turning the ball over just four times.
If Villanova couldn’t chase around the Kansas shooters, why would we expect North Carolina to? The Jayhawks likely will get even better looks than they did in the semifinal, and that’s a death sentence for Hubert Davis’ squad.
Kansas vs North Carolina Prediction and Pick
I love this matchup for Kansas.
Again, the perimeter matchup is too lopsided. Kansas will hound Love and Davis, North Carolina will not hound Agbaji, Braun, and Martin. That’s a death sentence.
McCormack should see success against Bacot, and that rebounding battle will be a joy to watch. But I think the battle will ultimately balance out.
Which circles back around to the perimeter battle, which will decide this game.
Could Davis/Love go thermonuclear from deep again? Sure.
Will Agbaji/Braun see some game-to-game shooting regression? Maybe.
But either of those outcomes feels unlikely and I don’t want to bet either will happen. I’ll roll with the Jayhawks and enjoy Self winning his second national title.