Gonzaga vs. UNC Prediction
Will Gonzaga pull off the small upset tonight when it takes on North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament Championship Game at 9:20PM ET?
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Tar Heels are now 1.5-point favorites versus the Bulldogs after opening as a 2-point favorite. As for the total, the number hit the board at 154.5 before being bet down to 153.5.
GONZAGA KEY TRENDS: The Bulldogs are 34-15-2 against the spread in their last 51 games overall but are just 1-4-1 at the betting window in their last six NCAA tournament games. They're also 0-3-1 against the spread in their last four matchups with ACC opponents and are 1-3-1 against the number in their last five non-conference games. That said, they're 21-7-2 ATS in their last 30 games when playing an opponent with a winning record.
NORTH CAROLINA KEY TRENDS: The Tar Heels are 21-10-1 at the betting window in their last 32 NCAA tournament games as a favorite and are 14-6-2 against the number in their last 22 games played on neutral floors. They're 21-8-3 against the spread in their last 32 neutral site games as a favorite, but are winless at 0-3-1 ATS in their last four games when favored between 0.5 and 6.5 points.
OUR PREDICTION: North Carolina nearly handed its ticket to tonight's championship game to Oregon on Saturday night but was able to hang on to a one-point win despite missing four consecutive free throws in the closing seconds. The Tar Heels were able to grab two offensive rebounds off those missed free throws and didn't allow the Ducks to get off a game-winning or tying shot in the end. Now the moment that the Tar Heels have been waiting a year for is finally here, as they have an opportunity to push aside the memories of Villanova's Kris Jenkins hitting the game-winning shot to win the national championship last season. It won't be easy though. Gonzaga is No. 1 in defensive efficiency and its front court of Johnathan Williams, Przemek Karnowski, Zach Collins and Killian Tillie can help neutralize UNC's outstanding rebounding ability. Fewer offensive rebounds means fewer opportunities for the red-hot Justin Jackson and Co. Despite North Carolina's desire to get the taste of last year's national championship out of its mouth, I think it's Gonzaga's time.
NCAA TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP PREDICTION: GONZAGA BULLDOGS +1.5