2016 Final Four Odds & Aengus Free Predictions: Syracuse Orange vs North Carolina Tar Heels
Saturday, April 02, 2016
by Aengus Moorehead

2016 Final Four Odds & Aengus Free Predictions: Syracuse Orange vs North Carolina Tar Heels

Syracuse Continues Magical Run with Final Four Battle against North Carolina

Syracuse Orange vs. North Carolina Tar Heels

Orange: 23-13 SU, 20-15 ATS
Tar Heels: 32-6 SU, 18-18-2 ATS
When: 8:49 PM ET, Saturday, April 2, 2016
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

The Story:
The Syracuse Orange will seek to achieve the improbable by becoming the first double-digit seeded team to reach the National Championship when they prepare to face the North Carolina Tar Heels in the second game of the Final Four Saturday night at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

The Tar Heels enter this contest on a nine-game winning streak, with their last defeat coming against Virginia, a team they beat by four points in the ACC Tournament championship game. Thus far in the dance, North Carolina has beaten Florida Gulf Coast, Providence, Indiana, and now Notre Dame, all by double digits.

Indeed, for the Orange to slow down the “Heels, they will have to stop an offense which has scored at least 83 points in each tournament game and even reached the century mark in the Sweet Sixteen against a pesky Indiana squad.

However, Syracuse has the athleticism to make it a game with North Carolina, but the Orange will likely struggle with the Tar Heels’ length. The Orange rank 337th in the nation in defensive rebounding, so they will need to tighten up their 2-3 zone to prevent the Tar Heels from getting second-chance opportunities.

Despite the statistical disparities, Syracuse certainly has the wings to soar of late. Down by 16 points at the start of the second half of the Elite Eight clash against the Virginia Cavaliers on Sunday, it was looking like the No. 10 seed magical season was about to come to a brutal end.

But that was until breakout freshman Malachi Richardson went supernova on the Cavaliers. Richardson scored 21 of his 23 points in the final frame of the contest to vault the Orange to victory and into the Final Four with a final score of 68-62.

The Orange converted just 36.8 percent of their field-goal attempts against Virginia, whereas the Cavaliers managed to shoot better at 41.5 percent from the field and still lost the contest. What proved to be key to Syracuse’s victory was their 13 forced turnovers that led to 15 points, while UVA fell behind in the takeaways department with just seven in the game.

Then again, the Orange would be hard-pressed to steal some possessions away from UNC, who ranked 31st in Division I with just 10.8 turnovers per game. If University Hill’s lads can’t find their shooting stroke and also fail to keep up in the battle of the boards against the Tar Heels, all their effort and obstinacy to get this far to the Big Dance may just be all for nothing.

Top-seeded UNC defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish with relative ease on Sunday, 88-74, to clinch its NCAA men’s basketball record 19th Final Four berth. It was also the first time that the Tar Heels made the tournament’s semifinal stage since 2009, which also happens to be the year that the team last won the national title.

Even though star guard Marcus Paige (13 points) sort of cooled down against the Irish, North Carolina’s other standout senior, forward Brice Johnson, more than made up for Paige’s lackluster night. Johnson grabbed his 23rd double-double of the season – a new school record – behind 25 points on 61.6-percent shooting from the field along with his 12 rebounds.

It wasn’t just Johnson who dominated the boards on Sunday, as the Heels collectively outrebounded Notre Dame 32-15 (13-5 on the offensive end). They ranked 11th in the nation this season in total rebounds (40.9 RPG), so it comes as no surprise that extra possessions off the glass have led them to the Final Four.

Furthermore, North Carolina has pretty much kept their tourney opponents far from striking distance, winning their four prior games at the Big Dance by an average of 15.4 points.

Not only that, but in this season’s ACC and NCAA tournaments, the Tar Heels have outscored their conference rivals by a combined 66 points. Considering that Syracuse also lost all two of their regular season games against Chapel Hill’s finest by a total of 16 points, it seems like a foregone conclusion that the Orange will finally meet their demise this Saturday.

BetOnline has the North Carolina listed as 9-point favorites and the game's total open at 144.

Syracuse Orange vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Early Odds & Betting Lines

Gm# Team
813 Syracuse
814 North Carolina

Live NCAA Tournament Odds & Scores - Click here

In their last action, North Carolina was a 88-74 winner at home against Fighting Irish. They covered the -9.5-point spread as favorites.

In their last action, Syracuse was a 68-62 winner on the road against Cavaliers. They covered the +8-point spread as underdogs.

Syracuse Orange vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Betting Trends

Current Streak: won 4 straight games.
Syracuse is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games
Syracuse is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games

North Carolina:
Current Streak: won 9 straight games.
North Carolina is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 games
North Carolina is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 14 of North Carolina's last 21 games

The result:
Syracuse’s fairy tale journey will finally end tonight and it will be a brutal finish. North Carolina’s size and elusiveness will be too much for the Orange to handle. Tar Heels reach the final in easy fashion. Take North Carolina -9½ and Over 144.

Aengus Moorehead Parlay Predictions: North Carolina -9½ & 144 Over at Mybookie


brice johnson - malachi richardson - marcus paige - north carolina tar heels - syracuse orange

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