- Baylor faces UNC in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday
- Both teams blew out their opponents in the Round of 64
- Read on for Baylor vs UNC odds, preview, and prediction
Two of the top programs in the South Region are already through to the second round and will face each other on Saturday as the #1 Baylor Bears (26-6) take on the #8 North Carolina Tar Heels (24-9) at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth. The time for tip-off is TBD.
Baylor beat #16 Norfolk State by a mind-boggling 36 points on Thursday, while UNC took down #9 Marquette in blowout fashion as well, winning 95-63 against Shaka Smart’s squad.
While both teams had no problems in the Round of 64, this matchup should be a lot closer.
Baylor vs UNC Odds
|Baylor||-5.5 (-110)||-250||Ov 150 (-110)|
|UNC||+5.5 (-110)||+205||Un 150 (-110)|
Odds as of March 17th at Caesars Sportsbook. See all available Caesars Sportsbook promo codes.
The Bears have gone 12-2-1 as an ATS favorite this season, while the Tar Heels are 3-4 as an ATS underdog. Baylor’s odds to win March Madness currently sit at +1300 after taking home the title in 2021.
Baylor Flying High Into Saturday
Scott Drew’s squad lost a couple of important pieces to the NBA last season, but they’re still one of the favorites to go all the way this time around. The Bears fully proved why against Norfolk State, absolutely dominating them in every way imaginable.
— Baylor Men’s Basketball (@BaylorMBB) March 17, 2022
From tip-off, this game was all Baylor, easily covering the spread with a 36-point win, the widest margin of victory in program history in the Big Dance. It was also the Bears’ seventh straight win in the NCAA Tournament. While the Spartans’ defense is far from elite, Baylor was picking them apart. They dished out 24 assists which translated into countless good looks as the Bears shot over 40% from three-point land and 57% from the field.
Matthew Mayer was the star of the show here, dropping 22 points and grabbing six boards. He went 4 for 7 from beyond the arc as well. Flo Thamba imposed his will on Norfolk State’s frontcourt, scoring 14 points and collecting six rebounds. This was truly an all-around efficient performance, with the five different players finishing in double-figures. Four of them were in the first unit, too.
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UNC Making Their Presence Felt
Baylor’s victory was impressive no doubt, but the Tar Heels may have made even more of a statement. After all, Marquette was ranked #9 and seen as a rather even matchup for North Carolina. But, that was far from the case in this contest. Hubert Davis, who picked up his first career win in March Madness, made sure that his squad came out firing from the get-go.
The Tar Heels built a 28-point lead by halftime over the Golden Eagles, with Caleb Love draining 21 of his 23 points in the first alone. This game got chippy because of Marquette’s frustrations, with the officials handing them three technical fouls in total, including one to Shaka Smart. But, UNC stayed even keel and let their actions do the talking, bodying their opponents on the boards and frankly just making Marquette look silly in the paint, winning almost every second-chance point.
🚨 NCAA RECORD
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 17, 2022
Big man Brady Manek led all scorers with 28 points while shooting 5 for 10 from long range. Manek and Love alone combined for 11 of the UNC’s 13 triples. This was a terrific showing from the Tar Heels, but they must realize Saturday is going to be a whole different beast. Manek and Co. will have to show up with the same intensity and pizazz, especially on the offensive end against a stout Bears defense.
Baylor vs UNC Prediction
This is not an easy call. UNC has won seven of their last eight games and comfortably beat Duke during that span while covering in all of the victories. Baylor, on the other hand, was bounced early in the Big 12 tournament but this group is very experienced and still has such a promising core, even without LJ Cryer.
The Tar Heels have really been on a role when it comes to covering the spread, though. At 5.5, I think they’re going to make this closer, or potentially pull off the upset altogether.
Pick: UNC +5.5 (-110)
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