Updated North Carolina vs. Marquette Odds, Spread, Pick & Predictions for 2022 NCAA Tournament

Mar 13, 2022 - 10:00 AM

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Marquette Golden Eagles 2022 NCAA Tournament Game Preview

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North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Marquette Golden Eagles Match Up Overview

North Carolina Marquette
Conference ACC Big East
W-L 24-9 19-12th
AdjEM 29th 47th
AdjO 27th 62nd
AdjD 64th 46th
Tempo 38th 27th
eFG% 83rd 66th
TO% 55th 101st
OR% 103rd 330th
FTR 201st 278th
DeFG% 171st 39th
DTO% 347th 132nd
DR% 2nd 206th
DFTR 11th 168th
Luck 32nd 175th

Stats via KenPom.

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North Carolina Tar Heels Preview

Hubert Davis had big shoes to fill in his first season at UNC. Despite the ups and downs this team faced all year, the Tar Heels find themselves in yet another tournament. They didn’t have the greatest season, but all slates are clear once March Madness begins.

Let’s start with the negatives. UNC had some really bad losses. Not only did they lose at home against Pittsburgh, but they were walloped in some other games as well. Against Kentucky, Duke, and Tennessee, the Tar Heels never even competed. UNC also had double-digit losses to Miami and Wake Forest. UNC’s lone impressive win was at Duke, upending Coach K’s final home game. North Carolina’s usual identify of being a great rebounding team still holds, as they ranked second in limiting offensive boards. They captialize on their own misses as well.

If UNC can get hot from deep, Davis’ squad is capable of keeping up with the top-tier teams. But their defense isn’t good enough to throw opponents off their game. The Tar Heels are ranked in the bottom half of D1 teams in three-point defense, and they don’t force many turnovers.

I don’t see this team as being capable of making a deep tourney run. They have size and athleticism but simply have not put it all together or looked consistently impressive throughout the year. It may be tempting to tag UNC as a sleeper given their blueblood history, but I’d reccomend caution here when filling out your bracket.

Marquette Golden Eagles Preview

Marquette has the potential to be the biggest tournament surprise out of the Big East. At this team’s peak, the Golden Eagles road a seven-game winning streak, taking down Villanova on the road, Providence, and Seton Hall.

Shaka Smart has led this fast-paced team poised to do some damage. Their ability to catch fire from deep can catch some teams sleeping, and their underrated top-50 defense has limited some top-tier offensive programs.

What gives me hesitation about this Marquette squad is that they don’t exactly do anything extremely well. They don’t beat themselves, but their playmakers, Justin Lewis and Darryl Morsell, can’t always pick this team up when needed. Even when they do perform well (such as Lewis’ 27-point effort in a loss to Butler), Marquette can still fall to some subpar teams.

Smart is a coach with plenty of tournament experience. He has shown his ability to game-plan as well as anybody. But this Golden Eagles program struggled to finish the season, and I do not know if they will be able to repeat their midseason magic in March.

Rapid Prediction for North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Marquette Golden Eagles

This may be the best game of the entire first round, as the big, bad UNC Tar Heels take on Shaka Smart and the Marquette Golden Eagles. I think a lot of people are going to write off Marquette because of the ability of UNC’s Armando Bacot to completely control the paint, but don’t let that blind you. When you are not as good a rebounding team as your opponent, how do you compete? By playing defense and hitting your shots. This is what Marquette does at a very high level, and the UNC three-point defense will prove to be too weak to hold up for a whole 40 minutes. I like Marquette to win outright, but it’s March, so take the points.

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Marquette Golden Eagles Round 1 Game Pick

Marquette +3

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