North Carolina Tar Heels (29-9) vs. Kansas Jayhawks (33-6)
April 4, 2022 9:20 pm EDT
The Line: Kansas Jayhawks -4.5 ; Over/Under: 153.5
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The North Carolina Tar Heels and the Kansas Jayhawks meet Monday in NCAA Tournament Championship college basketball action from Mercedes-Benz Superdome. North Carolina enters this final game at 29-9 overall. The Tar Heels took a dramatic win over Duke on Saturday. As for Kansas, they’re 33-6 on the season and beat Villanova in their Final Four matchup. Check back all season long for free college basketball picks at Sports Chat Place.
North Carolina lost a couple of tough games early in the year and also had a 2-3 stretch in January that left the team sitting at 12-6. The Tar Heels haven’t lost consecutive outings since then. Following a conference tournament defeat at the hands of Virginia Tech, North Carolina has since beaten Marquette, Baylor, UCLA, Saint Peter’s and Duke on the way to the National Championship Game.
In the Final Four matchup versus Duke on Saturday, the Tar Heels trailed 34-37 at the break. North Carolina would outscore the Blue Devils 47-40 in the second half on the way to an 81-77 comeback victory. Leading the way for the Tar Heels was Caleb Love with 28 points and four boards. Armando Bacot added 11 points with 21 rebounds as well.
Over on the Kansas side, they’ve been an elite team all season long. The Jayhawks last fell to Baylor and TCU in succession as March began, however Kansas hasn’t lost in any of the last 10 outings. After a big win over Texas Tech in the conference tourney, the Jayhawks have rolled through Texas Southern, Creighton, Providence, Miami and Villanova in the National Tournament.
Matched up against Villanova in Final Four activity Saturday, the Jayhawks jumped out to a 40-29 edge going into the second half. Kansas scored 41 more points from there during an 81-65 win. David McCormack led the team on 25 points with nine rebounds, and Ochai Agbaji added 21 points.
The Jayhawks are 7-2 ATS in their last nine overall and 10-3 ATS in their last 13 after a straight-up win. Kansas is 3-5 ATS in their last eight NCAA Tournament games.
As for North Carolina, they’re 5-0 ATS in their last five neutral-site games and 5-0 ATS in their last five as an underdog. The Tar Heels are 8-1 ATS in their last nine after a straight-up win.
PICK: I’m leaning Kansas here, but you could make a case either way. The Jayhawks have had a couple of relative close calls during this national tournament—specifically the Creighton and Providence games—but the Jayhawks have won their last two games by 16 points each. Kansas has hit 70 or more points in nine of their last 10 outings; I think they’ll come out firing here as well.
As for North Carolina, they’ve been remarkable during this tournament run. The Saturday victory over Duke will be a classic in school history and the Tar Heels have a ton of momentum going into this game. That said, I don’t think North Carolina will be able to maintain a cover tempo late. Should be a great matchup regardless.