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North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Providence Friars NCAA Tournament East Region Pick-Odds-Prediction 3/21/14

Providence Friars (23-11) at North Carolina Tar Heels (23-9)

College Basketball: Friday, March 21, 2014 at 7:20pm (AT&T Center)

The Line: North Carolina Tar Heels -4 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: TNT

The Providence Friars face off against the North Carolina Tar Heels in 6-11 action Friday on TNT at 7:10PM from San Antonio.
 
Providence is riding high heading into the tournament and were recently crowned big east champs after defeating Creighton Saturday night.  The Friars are limited depth-wise but are one of the most solid 1-5 you will find.  The Friars are led by point guard Bryce Cotton who averages 23 points and 6 assists per game.  On the blocks, Providence features LaDontae Henton and Kadeem Batts -- both forwards provide a challenge for opposing defenses with their ability to shoot the ball and clean up the glass.  A wild card for Providence is forward Josh Fortune who comes off the bench and has showed up multiple games when some of the Friars are having off nights.
 
North Carolina enters post season play losers of two straight after falling in their season finale at Duke and then getting handled by Pitt in the conference tournament.  Point guard Marcus Paige is the catalyst for the heels - the sophomore guard leads the team in scoring (17 points per game) and assists (4.2).  In the post, James Michael Mcadoo is averaging 14 points and 6 boards per game. UNC will need to have a big game from Paige if the want to avoid an upset here.  Prior to their two recent losses, the Tar Heels were one of the hottest teams in the nation and winners of double digit games in a row.
 
This game is intriguing as both teams feature strong starting fives and not much production off the bench.  I am going to go with the hot hand here as I like the Friars to ride Bryce Cottons hot shooting to the round of 32.  Look for a back and forth affair but Cotton's speed and ability to get into the lane and create to be the difference here.

 

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Providence Friars NCAA Tournament East Region Pick-Odds-Prediction 3/21/14

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

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Providence +4

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