An Elite 8 matchup between two of the most successful programs in NCAA men’s basketball history is set to tip off tonight at 5:05pm on CBS. This pseudo-rivalry has seen a variety of outcomes ever since its first meeting took place in 1929 and other than a few momentary ties, UNC has held the upper hand in the series. Kentucky has, however, won each of the last two meetings and five of the past seven dating back to 2009. The Wildcats took down the Tarheels back in 2014 and again this past December to pull the all-time score up to 23-15, still in favor of UNC. Malik Monk dropped 47 points on 18-28 shooting including 8 three-pointers and De’Aaron Fox added 24-4-10 to help lead Kentucky to a 103-100 victory. UNC guard Joel Berry II dropped 23-5-7 while teammate Justin Jackson led the Tarheels in scoring with 34 points on 10-17 shooting.
Today, these two teams will face off once again, this time for the last spot in the Final Four. But unlike the other Elite 8 games, this one has a lot more at stake. With Kansas, Duke, and Villanova eliminated, it appears that the winner of this game will be considered the current favorite to win it all. Gonzaga and Oregon are longtime journeymen programs that finally broke through and made it this far. South Carolina is a Cinderella team and Florida is not much of a basketball school other than their recent success in the late 2000’s. John Calipari and Roy Williams know damn well that little stands in their way after today’s game and because of this, I expect nothing short of a thriller.
From a betting standpoint, UNC is currently available at -2 and is getting the majority of spread bets at 53% but only 40% of the money. Kentucky is an interesting play as an underdog because they have rarely been one under Coach Cal. The game’s total is currently listed at 160.5 and is getting steamed by over bettors at 69%, likely a result of the 103-100 finish between the two teams last time out. Overs have been extremely popular during this tournament but with the entire public banking on this play, I would fade at all costs.
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