Saint Peter's vs North Carolina Elite Eight Picks: Tar Heels Punch Ticket to the Big Easy

With a trip to the Final Four on the line, the Saint Peter's Peacocks look to shock the world once more. We'll fade the underdogs and take the Tar Heels to cover the spread and advance. Read more in our Saint Peter's vs. North Carolina betting picks.

Shawn Wronka - Contributor at
Mar 27, 2022 • 08:47 ET • 4 min read

Without a doubt, the East Region has been home to the most madness in the NCAA tournament.

It's only fitting that the Regional Final will feature the 8th and 15th seeded teams when the North Carolina Tar Heels (27-9) face off against the Saint Peter's Peacocks (22-11).

A lot of eyes and interest are drawn towards a potential Duke vs North Carolina Final Four matchup, but Saint Peter's is already played spoiler three times in March and the Peacocks have no issue doing it again.

Continue reading for our free March Madness picks and predictions for Saint Peter's vs North Carolina on Sunday, March 27th.

Saint Peter's vs North Carolina odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

The Tar Heels opened at -8 and the line has moved a half-point more in their favor. The total opened at 137 and has since stayed at that number.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until tip-off and be sure to check out the full college basketball odds before placing your bets.

Saint Peter's vs North Carolina predictions

Predictions made on 3/26/2022 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Saint Peter's vs North Carolina game info

Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Date: Sunday, March 27, 2022
Tip-off: 5:05 p.m. ET

Saint Peter's vs North Carolina betting preview


Saint Peter's: No injuries to report.
North Carolina: No injuries to report.
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

North Carolina has played to the Over 13-6 in their last 19 games. Find more NCAA betting trends for Saint Peter's vs. North Carolina.

Saint Peter's vs North Carolina picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Spread analysis

Both the Tar Heels and the Peacocks have had improbable runs to get this point. North Carolina is averaging 87 points in their three wins thus far, toppling top-seeded Baylor and fourth-seeded UCLA along the way.

Head coach Hubert Davis has the Tar Heels looking more poised than they have in the last decade, having made it to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2012. Saint Peter's is already made tournament history, becoming the first 15 seed to reach the Elite Eight. 

The Peacocks, a school with just 3,000 enrolled students, have already taken down the likes of No. 2 Kentucky and No. 3 Purdue. In their last two wins, they held Murray State (34th in offense) and Purdue (first) to 60 and 64 points each.

Saint Peter's is been particularly impressive at defending the perimeter in the tournament, holding opposing 3-point shooters to 17-60 (28.3%). This performance isn't out of the ordinary for this Peacocks team as Saint Peter's allowed just 29.4% from three this season, ranking 15th best in the nation.

They will need another fantastic showing in that regard to beat North Carolina, as the Tar Heels have shot 36.3% from deep this season. That perimeter proficiency comes from the likes of Caleb Love (15.7 ppg, 37.8%), Brady Manek (15.1 ppg, 39.1%), and RJ Davis (13.5 ppg, 38.3%).

The four sharpshooters give room for leading scorer and rebounder Armanda Bacot (16.4 ppg, 12.4 rpg) to operate down low. If this all sounds a bit familiar, it's because this is essentially how Purdue is structured, who of course the Peacocks beat on Friday night.

The Boilermakers too had a monster of a man (Zach Edey) inside surrounded by sharpshooters. The only staggering difference is that the Boilermakers had a more traditional big man in Trevion Williams to compliment Edey, whereas North Carolina's frontcourt players double as their 3-point shooters (6'9" Manek).

The intrigue for Sunday's matchup is arguably in how the Peacocks will adjust their approach given the Tar Heels' frontcourt versatility. Against Purdue, a lot of defensive focus was placed on making Edey's life a living hell.

Whether it was aggressively fighting for positioning to deny entry passes or providing help instantly once he got the ball, the Peacocks were able to effectively make Edey a non-factor despite having an eight-inch and 85-pound advantage over the Peacocks rotation.

Edey managed just 11 points and committed a season-high five turnovers. His ineffectiveness was bookended by being taken out with six minutes left in the second half, and he rode pine until the final buzzer.

Where there is possibly hope for the Tar Heels lies in the performance of Purdue's other big man in Williams. With so much attention levied towards Edey, Williams put up game-highs of 16 points and 8 rebounds.

Unlike North Carolina's Brady Manek, Williams is a non-threat from the perimeter. It stands to reason that if the Peacocks zero in on Armando Bacot similar to how they did with Edey and Manek will be able to punish the Peacocks more than Williams was able to do so.

Prediction: North Carolina -8.5 (+101 at Betway)

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Over/Under analysis

North Carolina is 13-6 to the Over in the past two months, largely on the back of elevated performances on offense. Following Friday's game, the Tar Heels have now eclipsed the 70 point mark in seven of their last nine games.

If Saint Peter's hopes to keep this game close, it would be wise to rely on the deep ball. The Peacocks are shooting 35.3% from three this season which ranks a respectable 92nd in the nation but are averaging just 16.7 attempts per game which is the 16th fewest of the 358 teams in college basketball.

Given that North Carolina is not great at limiting 3-point volume or efficiency, Saint Peter's should amend its approach. It managed just 17 and 13 shot attempts from beyond the arc against Kentucky and Murray State last weekend but threw up 21 deep balls against Purdue on Friday.

If the Peacocks lean into the latter, that would lend its hand to the total as well.

Prediction: Over 137 (-110 at William Hill)

Best bet

Saint Peter's story is beyond incredible, and it will undoubtedly go down in college basketball history.

Seemingly nothing about their run has been flukey, as it has demonstrated a level of team-level cohesiveness and toughness that has made it easier to cheer for than any other Cinderella story.

While the Peacocks have masterfully navigated three matchups en route to this Elite Eight appearance, there are signs in their performance against Purdue that suggest that North Carolina's more versatile big men can play a more sizable and pivotal role and bring home a convincing win on Sunday.

On top of that, Armanda Bacot is simply a more talented player and fierce competitor than Zach Edey. It's near impossible to imagine a scenario where Hubert Davis would have his hand forced and be required to sit Bacot for the final six minutes of a close elimination game like Matt Painter had to do with Edey on Friday.

Pick: North Carolina -8.5 (+101 at Betway)

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