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Alabama vs. North Carolina 2024 Sweet 16 Odds and Preview

By Hank Blaine

It’s a chalk top half of the West Region from Los Angeles on Thursday night in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 as top-seeded North Carolina takes on No. 4 Alabama with the winner facing either No. 6 Clemson or No. 2 Arizona (probably the Wildcats) on Saturday for a spot in the Final Four.

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. North Carolina Tar Heels 2024 March Madness Sweet 16 Game Information

Why Bet on the Alabama Crimson Tide?

No. 4 seed Alabama of the SEC beat No. 13 Charleston by 13 points in Round 1 and then No. 12 Grand Canyon by a score of 72-61 in the Round of 32 on Sunday. The Lopes suffered their third-worst shooting night of the season (32.1%) with a season-low five assists, but they tamed the Crimson Tide’s nation-leading offense. Alabama scored 19 points below its season average, 37 fewer than its first-round total and one more than its season scoring low.

GCU senior guard Tyon Grant-Foster, “the real deal” as Alabama head coach Nate Oats called him, came within a point of his career high with 29 points and shared team leads for rebounds (eight), blocked shots (three) and steals (two). His final two baskets were a fastbreak 3-point play and a spinning pull-up that put GCU ahead 58-55 with 6:03 remaining. Instead, Alabama (23-11) answered with a five-point, 44-second possession with four offensive rebounds, including two off missed free throws. GCU coach Bryce Drew called it “deflating.”

“We knew we had a chance to win that game,” Grant-Foster said. “I say we were just one rebound away from winning that game. We get one rebound, the game’s turned. We could play with the best of the best in the country.”

Alabama finished with 20 offensive rebounds, the second most that the Lopes had allowed all season. Half of them came from the Crimson Tide bench, where Alabama also enjoyed a 20-2 scoring advantage to secure its third Sweet 16 trip in five years.

Mark Sears led the way with a double-double, accounting for 26 points and 12 rebounds to go along with six assists and three steals. Sears joined former UA great Mo Williams (2002) as the only players in school history to have at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a NCAA Tournament game. Sears collected his first double-double of the season and the sixth of his career.

Ryan Griffen added 13 points, all coming in the first half, with Aaron Estrada adding eight points,10 rebounds, six assists and four steals. Starter Latrell Wrightsell Jr. (9.3 PPG) missed most of the game due to a head injury.

“Character win, I think,” said Oats, who has lost his two prior Sweet 16 games. Alabama hasn’t reached the Elite Eight since 2004. “We had a chance, could have folded, had a lot of things that didn’t go our way, a lot of foul trouble. They lived at the free-throw line. Our guys started to show a little frustration and I thought we pulled it together and showed a lot of mental toughness. We’ve been using the word next a lot lately, next play, just go to the next play, like, forget about the call that didn’t go your way, forget about the turnover, forget about the offensive possession where you missed or your teammate missed. It doesn’t matter, just play hard on defense. This is one of our best defensive games of the year.”

Alabama last played North Carolina in 2023, a four-overtime thriller that UA won 103-101. Bacot and Davis scored 39 points in that matchup for the Heels. Sears had a game-high 24 for Alabama.

Why Bet on the North Carolina Tar Heels?

No. 1 seed North Carolina trounced No. 16 Wagner by 28 points in Round 1 and then No. 9 Michigan State by 16 in Round 2 on Saturday as the Tar Heels improved to 5-0 in the tournament all-time against Michigan State Hall of Fame Coach Tom Izzo, including victories in the 2005 Final Four and 2009 title game.

The Heels were down 12 points early but ran off 17 straight points during a 23-3 run over the last eight minutes of the first half. And that secured the program’s largest comeback in March Madness since rallying from 16 down to beat Southern California in the 2007 Sweet 16.

“They punched first,” UNC head coach Hubert Davis said. “Their physicality, their will, their want to, the first 10 minutes of the game just overwhelmed us. They were catching the ball wherever they wanted to, close to the basket on the block. They were getting layups, second-chance opportunities. Defensively they were pushing us off our screens, our spots. They were just playing better than us.”

Harrison Ingram tied his career high with five three-pointers, finishing with 17 points and seven rebounds while draining five of seven from behind the arc. ACC Player of the Year RJ Davis led UNC with 20 points, and Armando Bacot had 18 points and seven rebounds. UNC improved to 25-8 in the NCAA round of 32 since the field to expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

The Tar Heels forced 11 MSU turnovers while committing just five miscues, tying their season low. The five turnovers are the fewest in an NCAA Tournament game since UNC committed four vs. Gonzaga in the 2017 championship. Four Tar Heels scored in double figures. UNC is 20-1 this season when four or more score in double figures.

UNC is 133-49 all-time in NCAA Tournament play. The 133 wins are the most by any school in NCAA Tournament history. Including Saturday’s win, UNC has won 17 of its last 18 games when leading at halftime and is 57-6 under Davis when leading at the break.

Alabama vs. North Carolina Betting Trends

  • Alabama is 3-6 ATS in the last 9 games.
  • Crimson Tide are 14-6 SU in its last 20 games.
  • The total went over in 11 of Alabama’s last 13 games.
  • North Carolina is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 games.
  • Tar Heels are 10-1 SU in its last 11 games.
  • The total went over in 5 of North Carolina’s last 6 games.

Alabama vs. North Carolina 2024 Sweet 16 Expert Prediction

North Carolina takes the win on Thursday night and heads into the Elite Eight.

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This is just one of the many sports betting guides that you can read here at Nitrobetting news. Stay tuned for more 2024 March Madness Tournament previews and articles, and don’t forget to check out the latest college basketball odds on our online Crypto sportsbook.

*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.

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