2017 NCAA Tournament
South Region – Second Round
#1 North Carolina Tar Heels vs #8 Arkansas Razorbacks
Sunday, March 19, 2017, 6:10 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Bon Secours Wellness Arena – Greenville, South Carolina
Opening Line: North Carolina -10
Current Line: North Carolina -11
Opening Total: 160 1/2
Current Total: 165
Opening Money Line: North Carolina -700 / Arkansas +500
Current Money Line: North Carolina -700 / Arkansas +500
The 28-7 North Carolina Tar Heels take on the 26-9 Arkansas Razorbacks in the South region second round Sunday in Greenville. North Carolina is the #1 seed in the region and Arkansas is the #8 seed. The winner will advance to play #4 seed Butler in the Sweet 16 later this week in Memphis. Carolina leads the series 5-3 against Arkansas including 3-2 in the NCAA Tournament. This is the the third straight time the teams will meet in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. UNC won the last meeting 87-78 in Jacksonville in 2015.
Arkansas is coached by Mike Anderson. The Razorbacks finished tied for third in the SEC with a 12-6 record. Arkansas beat Ole Miss 73-72 in the SEC quarterfinals, Vanderbilt 76-62 in the semis and lost to Kentucky 82-65 in the championship game in Nashville. Arkansas beat Seton Hall 77-71 in the first round Friday. The Razorbacks are making their 31st appearance in the tournament and look to return to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1996.
Arkansas has road losses to Minnesota, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, Missouri, and Florida, plus home losses to Florida, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt. The Razorbacks have home wins over Southern Illinois, UT-Arlington, Mount St. Mary’s, Stephen F. Austin, Austin Peay, Houston, Missouri, LSU, Alabama, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, and Georgia. Arkansas has road wins over Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, LSU, South Carolina, and Auburn. Arkansas has neutral site wins over Texas in Houston and Sam Houston State in Little Rock. The Razorbacks are 18-15 ATS and the total is 17-16 this season. Arkansas was a pick over Seton Hall and the total was 146.5.
North Carolina is coached by Roy Williams. The Tar Heels won the ACC regular season title with a 14-4 record. They beat Miami 78-53 in the ACC quarterfinals in Washington but were upset by Duke 93-83 in the semifinals. UNC crushed #16 seed Texas Southern 103-64 in the first round Friday. The Tar Heels are making their 53rd trip to the tournament and look to return to the Sweet 16 for the 32nd time.
North Carolina has road losses to Indiana, Georgia Tech, Miami, Duke, and Virginia, plus a neutral site loss to Kentucky in Las Vegas. The Tar Heels home wins over Chattanooga, Long Beach State, Davidson, Tennessee, Northern Iowa, Monmouth, NC State, Florida State, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Louisville, and Duke. UNC has road wins at Tulane, Hawaii, Clemson, Wake Forest, Boston College, NC State, and Pittsburgh, plus neutral site wins over Oklahoma State and Wisconsin in the Maui Invitational, plus Notre Dame in Greensboro. The Tar Heels are 17-14-2 ATS and the total is 13-19-1 this season. North Carolina was a 26.5 point favorite against Texas Southern and the total was 157.
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Arkansas is outscoring teams 80-74 this season. The Razorbacks are #41 nationally in scoring. Arkansas is shooting 46.1% from the field and 36.5% from 3 point range. The Razorbacks make 76.3% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 41.8% from the field and 33.3% from 3 point range. Arkansas averages 36.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 33 per game. The Razorbacks average 14.1 assists, 11.7 turnovers, 7.7 steals and 4.8 blocks per game. Opponents are averaging 12.5 assists, 13.1 turnovers, 5 steals and 3.3 blocks per game.
Dusty Hannahs averages 14.6 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. Daryl Macon averages 13.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Jaylen Barford averages 12.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Moses Kingsley averages 712.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 2.6 blocks per game. Anton Beard averages 7.1 points, 2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Four other players average at least 12 minutes a game. R.J. Glasper is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.
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North Carolina is outscoring teams 85-70 this season. The Tar Heels are #9 nationally in scoring. North Carolina is shooting 47.2% from the field including 36.6% from 3 point range. UNC is #43 nationally in field goal percentage. The Tar Heels make 70.6% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 41.5% from the field and 34% from 3 point range. UNC is in the top 35 nationally in both categories. The Tar Heels average 43.8 rebounds per game and allow 27.4. UNC is #1 nationally in rebounding and #9 in rebounds allowed. The Tar Heels average 18.2 assists, 11.9 turnovers, 6.9 steals and 3.3 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.5 assists, 13.6 turnovers, 6.3 steals and 4.5 blocks per game.
Justin Jackson averages 18.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. Joel Barry II averages 14.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He is probable with an ankle injury. Kennedy Meeks averages 12.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1 block per game. Isaiah Hicks averages 12.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. Tony Bradley averages 7.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Four other Tar Heels average at least 14 minutes per game. Kenny Willaims is out for the season with a knee injury.
Arkansas is 8-3 ATS against teams with winning records, and overall, 5-2 in non-conference games, 3-9 after the opponent scores 100 or more points, and in neutral site games, 2-7 in NCAA tournament games, 1-4 as an NCAA Tournament underdog, 2-8 against ACC teams, 1-6 as an underdog, and 0-4 in Sunday games.
North Carolina is 5-1 ATS in NCAA Tournament games, 13-3 as an NCAA Tournament favorite of 7-12.5 points, 6-2-1 as a favorite, against teams with winning records, and overall, 21-8-2 in neutral site games, 18-7-1 against SEC teams, 20-8 as an NCAA Tournament favorite, 5-2 after scoring 100 points or more, and 11-5 after scoring more than 90 points.
Arkansas has improved a lot during the season and is playing their best basketball of the season. Still, North Carolina simply has too much and should win a high scoring game convincingly.