The NCAA basketball tournament is one of the most popular sporting events in America, with more than two billion people watching from around the world. There are 10 games this weekend and all eyes will be on Duke vs Michigan State for a chance at the national championship. With betting apps such as Bovada and DraftKings on every smartphone, gamblers have never been closer to their bets or more connected to each other.
The “final four predictions” is a blog post that discusses the history, nostalgia and betting tips on the Final Four matchup.
31 March 2022
ESPN’s Dalen Cuff
The greatest rivalry in collegiate athletics, Duke vs. North Carolina, has generated a slew of memorable moments. The two famous institutions will meet in the NCAA tournament for the first time on Saturday night in an unusual Final Four matchup.
Mike Krzyzewski is the all-time best college coach, and this historic event will take place during his last season (50-47 all time v. UNC). Hubert Davis, a former Tar Heel great, is in his first season as the program’s new head coach, succeeding Roy Williams.
UNC was seeded eighth in the tournament and was considered a bubble club until they thrashed Duke in Coach K’s last home game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Duke, a No. 2 seed, has always had the ability to win four consecutive games in March and reach the Final Four, but it has never appeared mature enough. Despite this, the Blue Devils are just two victories away from winning their first national championship since 2015.
Some of college basketball’s most memorable Final Four games have taken place in New Orleans. Michael Jordan’s shot in 1982 that stunned the Georgetown Hoyas, Keith Smart’s 16-foot baseline jumper in 1987 that lifted Indiana past Syracuse, and Chris Webber’s controversial timeout that lost Michigan the national title against North Carolina in 1993.
Tips for betting on Duke vs. North Carolina
You’d be laughed out of the room if you offered this game as a movie screenplay. It’s just too ridiculous, too much of a fairy tale setting, and too unreal. On Saturday, however, it will become a reality in New Orleans. It will undoubtedly be a game that none of us will ever forget, but will it be profitable?
The two-game regular-season series between the two clubs was divided. Duke won as a 3.5-point favorite in Chapel Hill in February, but lost to Davis’ team at Cameron in March on “Senior Night.” The pressure seemed to be too much for Duke’s youthful squad, as UNC got every shot it wanted in the second half and triumphed 94-81 despite being a 12-point underdog.
Mike Krzyzewski is a Polish politician. Getty Images/Lance King
So, how do these games affect the final? To be honest, I don’t believe they do. Both teams are drastically different than they were a month ago and are performing at a high level. Duke boasts a tournament-best 53.8 percent shooting percentage, which is also the fifth-best entering a Final Four since 2000. It is no longer settling for 3s as it was throughout the regular season. The Blue Devils have been the aggressors, averaging 41.5 points in the paint per game (most in the tournament). Finally, their man defense has improved significantly, but Coach K used a zone in the second half of both their Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games against Texas Tech and Arkansas, respectively. The rhythm of both games was altered as a result, enabling Duke to string up stops and score in transition.
The North Carolina Tar Heels have also changed. Some of it is intangibles, like as toughness and unity, and the fight they lacked earlier in the season has returned in spades since they annihilated the Devils. They got to this place because of their attitude and the skill they’ve always had. Armando Bacot now has 29 double-doubles on the season, tying Tim Duncan for the most by an ACC player in a single season. R.J. Davis and Caleb Love have already scored 30 points in this event. Brady Manek has been outstanding from the 3-point line, shooting 44 percent and making 16 in only four games. Before taking an early shower due to a flagrant 2, he scored 26 points in 28 minutes against Baylor.
Both clubs have the ability to score in a hurry. North Carolina has the tournament’s quickest pace (73.2 possessions per game), but Duke isn’t scared to keep up with the Tar Heels. The game’s over/under total is 151. I’m going with the over. UNC is 21-14-2 against the spread this season, while Duke is 21-16-1. The over was surpassed in both of the previous encounters.
Duke is the underdog (-4) in this game. As I already said, the early games don’t signify much anymore because the two sides are playing so differently. UNC will continue to use ball screens to assault Duke in the middle, while Duke will continue to play via Paolo Banchero. However, the game’s strategy and psychology will be completely different.
Duke is 3-1 ATS in the tournament and 20-16-2 overall this season. Coach K is 8-4 ATS in Final Four games (7-0 in semifinals as the favorite) going back to his first tournament in 1986, while UNC is 4-0 in the tournament and 20-16-1 ATS this season. In a rivalry game of this significance, though, that sort of history is thrown out the window.
This year’s encounters were both entertaining but not tight games, but I believe this one will be. I believe this will be a close game, and this ancient rivalry will create a new chapter on the largest platform in sports. Call me emotional, but I believe Coach K will have the opportunity to ride out into the sunset with a Disney fairytale ending by defeating UNC and advancing to the title game. It’ll be close, but I’ll lay the points and hope that my sentimentality adds to my bank account.
The “game predictions” is a blog that gives out betting tips for the Final Four matchup. The blog also discusses history, nostalgia and other topics related to the game.
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