North Carolina vs Saint Peter's Prediction, Game Preview: NCAA Tournament Elite 8

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina vs Saint Peter's Prediction, Game Preview: NCAA Tournament Elite 8

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North Carolina vs Saint Peter's Prediction, Game Preview: NCAA Tournament Elite 8

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North Carolina vs Saint Peter’s prediction: NCAA Tournament Elite 8 pick and college basketball game preview.


North Carolina vs Saint Peter’s Game Preview, How To Watch

Date: Sunday, March 27
Game Time: 5:05 pm
Venue: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
How To Watch: CBS
Records: North Carolina (8 seed, 27-9)
Saint Peter’s (15 seed, 22-11)
Region: East

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Why Saint Peter's Will Win

The Kentucky win was cheeky, and beating Murray State was – let’s be honest – beating Murray State, but taking out a Purdue team that had several days to prepare was a whole other animal.

How crazy has this run been? Jaden Ivey – the possible No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft – missed a three so 15-seed Saint Peter’s could be one game away from the Final Four.

It’s no fluke at this point.

The Peacocks can’t keep up with any of the big-time programs if there’s any sort of an offensive surge, so they just don’t let that happen.

It’s not like Purdue didn’t shoot well – it hit 43% from the field, as did Kentucky – but there were plenty of turnovers, too many empty possessions, and Saint Peter’s showed a knack for coming up with every key rebound and loose ball in those wins and the victory over Murray State.

They can’t outrebound North Carolina, and they can’t run with them or match them shot for shot, but they can slow things down and maximize every trip down the floor – and hit every free throw, too.

They turned it over just 17 times in the wins over Murray State and Purdue, but …

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Why North Carolina Will Win

Yeah, the rebounds.

Saint Peter’s handled the massive Purdue size advantage just fine – it won despite being -16 in rebounding margin – and it’s been able to survive despite allowing 33 offensive rebounds in the three tournament games, but North Carolina is rebounding everything and it’s hitting its threes.

The Saint Peter’s defense is suffocating on the perimeter – Purdue never seemed like it was able to get comfortable with too many possessions coming down to the final seconds of the shot clock – but North Carolina is moving the ball around way too well, it’s winning the one-on-one battles, and it’s been amazing from the outside with 34 threes made in the three tournament games.

There’s one other big problem for Saint Peter’s – North Carolina is deep enough to keep throwing waves of bigger players at the boards. The Tar Heels will have to protect Armando Bacot and Brady Manek from getting into foul trouble – Saint Peter’s has done a great job of getting to the foul line – but most importantly …

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North Carolina vs Saint Peter's: What’s Going To Happen

You can’t beat North Carolina if you don’t hit lots and lots of threes, and Saint Peter’s doesn’t do that.

Virginia Tech knocked the Tar Heels out of the ACC Tournament – nine threes, 45% from the outside.

A mediocre Louisville team took them to OT by hitting 15 threes, and Syracuse got them to OT by making ten – North Carolina won both.

UNC is 8-8 when allowing nine or more threes, 19-1 – the lone loss coming to Kentucky way back in December – when it gave up fewer.

Yeah, Saint Peter’s beat Purdue and Kentucky – both of them beat North Carolina – and it can absolutely hang around and make this a fight … but the threes.

The Peacocks have made more than eight just once since a win over Quinnipiac in early February, and that was because the Kentucky game went to overtime.

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North Carolina vs Saint Peter's Prediction: NCAA Tournament Elite 8, Lines

Prediction: North Carolina 76, Saint Peter’s 65
Line: North Carolina -8.5, o/u: 137
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3.5

North Carolina vs Saint Peter’s Must See Rating: 4.5

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