South Regional: Day 4 NCAAB betting preview

(8) North Carolina Tar Heels vs. (1) Kansas Jayhawks (-6, 143)

North Carolina players presented head coach Roy Williams with a special jersey following Friday’s victory in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, marking Williams’ 700th career victory. A win in the third round against Kansas – which Williams led to four Final Fours – would be even more meaningful. And, if the Tar Heels needed any more motivation, there is the fact the Jayhawks bounced them from last year’s tournament. Kansas beat North Carolina 80-67 in the Midwest Regional final last season, the second consecutive year the Tar Heels have fell one win short of the Final Four.

Neither team was particularly impressive in winning their South Region openers, but the top-seed Jayhawks were pushed hard by Western Kentucky before surviving 64-57. The eighth-seed Tar Heels lost a 20-point lead but held off Villanova 78-71. The winner may be determined when North Carolina has possession: the Tar Heels are 14th nationally in scoring, while the Jayhawks lead the country in opposing field-goal percentage and rank second in blocked shots.

TV: 5:15 p.m. ET, CBS.

ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (25-10):
The Tar Heels have won nine of their past 11, as a balanced offensive attack has sparked North Carolina’s late-season surge. Sophomore guard P.J. Hairston scored a team-high 23 points Friday. Sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo (14.5 points), Hairston (14.5) and junior forward Reggie Bullock (14.2) have combined to lead North Carolina in scoring 28 times this season.

ABOUT KANSAS (30-5):
The Jayhawks have to play better than they did Friday, as Western Kentucky’s pressure defense gave Kansas trouble. Jeff Withey is a force inside. The 7-0 senior center scored 17 points and blocked seven shots in Friday’s victory. Withey ranks second in the nation in blocks per game (3.8) while averaging 8.4 rebounds. The Jayhawks became the first team in Division I history to win 30 games or more four consecutive seasons with Friday’s win.   

TRENDS:

* Jayhawks are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games overall.
* Over is 4-0 in Tar Heels’ last four overall.
* Under is 5-1 in Jayhawks’ last six Sunday games.

TIP-INS

1. North Carolina has won 25 games six times in the past eight seasons.

2. The Jayhawks are in the NCAA Tournament for the 24th consecutive season, the longest active streak in the country.

3. Williams will coach against his former school in the NCAA Tournament for the third time. The Jayhawks beat North Carolina last season and in the 2008 Final Four.

(11) Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. (3) Florida Gators (-8, 124.5)


Florida and Minnesota will try to maintain the momentum from their impressive NCAA Tournament openers as they meet in the South Regional quarterfinals Sunday in Austin, Texas. The third-seeded Gators stomped No. 14 Northwestern State 79-47 on Friday, about 2 1/2 hours before the 11th-seeded Golden Gophers took down No. 6 UCLA 83-63. Northwestern State entered the tournament as the highest-scoring team in the nation but Florida held the Demons to 15 second-half points. Minnesota smothered the Bruins from the opening tip, holding them to 31.7 percent shooting - including a combined 13-for-52 from the starters - on the way to its most lopsided win in tournament history.

Florida features a well-balanced offense led by seniors Erik Murphy, Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario. The trio entered the tournament averaging between 12.3 and 12.6 points. Murphy, a 6-10 post player, will need to team with 6-9 junior center Patric Young to keep Minnesota off the boards. The Golden Gophers entered the tournament ranked eighth in the nation in rebounding margin (8.2).

TV: 6:10 p.m. ET, TNT.

ABOUT MINNESOTA (21-12): Andre Hollins is still a sophomore but he’s quickly becoming known for elevating his play this time of year. After averaging 19.5 points last season in the final two games of the Big Ten tournament and the first four of the NIT, Hollins scored 28 in Friday’s victory against UCLA. His ability to score in bunches—he put up 41 points earlier this season in a win against Memphis—makes him a threat to put Minnesota on his back. As the primary ball handler, he’s also been careful with his turnovers, recording two or fewer in nine of the last 10 games.

ABOUT FLORIDA (27-7):
Boynton scored 11 points against Northwestern State, becoming the second player in program history to surpass 2,000 for his career. If the senior guard can stick around long enough to score 84 more, he would pass Ronnie Williams (1980-84) as the school’s all-time leading scorer. Boynton has played in 10 NCAA Tournament games in his career, averaging 14.8 points while leading the Gators into the Elite Eight the last two seasons. He’s supported in the backcourt by Rosario and junior Scott Wilbekin, though the best 3-point shooter on the team is Murphy at 45.6 percent.

TRENDS:

* Gators are 1-5 ATS in their last six games following a win.
* Under is 6-0 in Golden Gophers’ last six Sunday games.
* Under is 9-1 in Gators’ last 10 overall.

TIP-INS

1. Minnesota coach Tubby Smith and Florida coach Billy Donovan were part of Rick Pitino’s first coaching staff at Kentucky in 1989-90.

2. Minnesota and Florida played Florida State eight days apart during the nonconference portion of the season. Minnesota beat the Seminoles by nine points and the Gators prevailed by 25.

3. The winner will play either seventh-seeded San Diego State or No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast at the South Regional semifinals at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

(15) Florida Gulf Coast Eagles vs. San Diego State Aztecs (-7, 133.5)

Florida Gulf Coast became the talk of the NCAA Tournament with its stunning 78-68 upset of Georgetown on Friday and will seek the program's second tournament win when it meets San Diego State in the South Region quarterfinals in Philadelphia on Sunday. While the seventh-seeded Aztecs are trying to reach the Sweet 16 for the second time in three seasons, the Eagles will try to become the first No. 15 to get there. The previous six No. 15 seeds lost by a combined 90 points in the Round of 32.

Two very different dunks summarized their wins Friday. Eagles junior forward Chase Fieler went high in the air for a one-handed dunk on a fast-break alley-oop from sophomore guard Brett Comer to stop the Hoyas' late run. The Aztecs had everything working for them as they pulled away from Oklahoma late, including junior guard Jamaal Franklin's attempted reverse dunk that bounced on the rim three times before falling through.

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, TBS

ABOUT FLORIDA GULF COAST (25-10):
Senior guard Sherwood Brown, who leads the team with 15.3 points and 6.4 rebounds, was vaulted to celebrity status after scoring 24 points in Friday's win. Brown was seen signing autographs and posing with fans in Philadelphia while the San Diego State-Oklahoma game was being played. Comer finished with 12 points and 10 assists - including three alley-oop passes during a 21-2 run - while turning the ball over just twice. The Eagles use a tough defense to spark its transition offense. "In the second half, we pushed the ball, we got out, we ran, we made shots, got some alley-oop dunks to energize the crowd," coach Andy Enfield told the media. "I'm very proud of our players."

ABOUT SAN DIEGO STATE (23-10):
Franklin, who leads the Aztecs with 16.9 points and 9.4 rebounds, has scored in double figures 30 times in 32 games, including a 21-point performance in the 70-55 win over Oklahoma. Senior guard Chase Tapley, the first player in school history to appear in four NCAA Tournaments, became the fourth Aztec to pass 1,500 career points. San Diego State is 19-3 when holding opponents to under 40 percent shooting, the latest win coming against Oklahoma (39.7). Coach Steve Fisher was pleased with is team's second-half defense as the Aztecs pulled away from the Sooners. "We have a little bit of an MO where our second-half defense doesn't match our first half, and (Friday) our second-half defense was superior to our first half and that's how we won," he said.

TRENDS:

* Eagles are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games following a win.
* Eagles are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
* Under is 5-1 in Aztecs’ last six overall.
* Aztecs are 0-4-1 ATS in their last five games following a win.

TIP-INS

1. Florida Gulf Coast has won six straight and has not trailed in the second half of its last four games.

2. Sunday marks the first-ever meeting between the teams.

3. San Diego State is 3-8 at the NCAA Tournament while the Eagles are the only team in tournament history to have a 1-0 record.

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