#13 Ohio Bobcats vs. #1 North Carolina Tar Heels Predictions 3/23/12

Last Updated: March 22nd, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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The lowest rated team left in the dance, the Ohio Bobcats, are going to try to beat the NCAA basketball betting lines for a third time and make for another March Madness odds upset when they take on the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Gateway to the West.

2012 Sweet 16 Matchup: #13 Ohio Bobcats vs. #1 North Carolina Tar Heels
West Region Location: Scottrade Arena, St. Louis, MO
Sweet 16 Date/Time: Friday, March 23rd, 7:45 p.m.
Wisconsin vs. North Carolina Television Coverage: TBS

Key #1: North Carolina’s guards need to keep the tempo of this game moving
It’s all about the tempo in this one. We already know that the Tar Heels have been slowed down this year by the loss of Dexter Strickland from February, and now, the question is there as to whether or not Kendall Marshall is going to be able to play. Marshall had a screw inserted into his wrist to try to stabilize it, and it is still highly questionable as to whether he is going to be out there or not. Even if he is, there is a real question as to how effective of a player he can be. The Ohio guards tend to play stingy defense, and DJ Cooper, even at just 5’11”, is going to be a nuisance to try to get around. He has quick hands and averages well over a pair of steals per game. If the tempo stays hot like Carolina wants it, it is going to be hard for those guards to be off to the races in transition while the Tar Heels are standing still. This is one of the only ways that we can see the Bobcats even remotely hanging in this one, and if UNC neutralizes it by keeping the ball moving when it is on offense, Ohio won’t be able to keep up.

Sweet 16 Odds at Wager Web Sportsbook
Ohio Bobcats +10.5
North Carolina Tar Heels -10.5
Over/Under 143
Click Here to Bet Your Sweet 16 Picks!

Key #2: The Bobcats can’t get killed on the boards
Ohio doesn’t have a player on its team that averages more than 5.0 rebounds per game, and Cooper, which it bears repeating is just 5’11”, is one of the team’s top guys on the glass. John Henson, Harrison Barnes, and Tyler Zeller just love matchups like this one, and when they run into teams that are brutally undersized, it’s almost as if they are all competing with each other to be the first to log a double-double. The Bobcats have to clear the defensive boards, and they can’t let Carolina get all that many second chance points. There is no way, save for some luck, that Ohio outrebounds the Tar Heels, but it can’t just be embarrassed on the boards, or it is going to be far too hard to keep up with the North Carolina offense. Trying to stop this squad once is hard. Twice or more times on the same possession is virtually impossible.

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Key #3: Ohio can’t have too many empty possessions
Going against the length of the North Carolina defense is always hard for any team, but particularly one that isn’t all that athletic, big, or quick. That being said, the Bobcats do have some veteran ball handlers that make sure they don’t turn the ball over. It is going to be hard to get anything in terms of offensive rebounds in this one, and that’s part of the reason that we are so insistent that Ohio gets off as many shots as it can on possessions. Having the ball and turning it over is the recipe for a disaster, and the team just cannot get anywhere near its 12.9 turnovers per game, or it is going to take just a phenomenal shooting performance to have a chance of sticking inside of double digits in the Sweet 16.

Click Here to get the best March Madness picks that you’ll find on the internet, including our NCAA Tournament picks and the Sweet 16 picks for the rest of the NCAA Tournament game odds.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 @ 1:38 pm (EST)
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