By Gerry Ahern FrontPage Bets
At Saturday’s final nightcap in New Orleans, two of the most celebrated programs in college basketball history, neighbors of Tobacco Road, meet for the first time in an NCAA tournament game.
The eighth-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels, under first-year coach Hubert Davis, take on the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils in the final of his 42 seasons at Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s Durham. Richmond Times Dispatch columnist David Teel contrasts the coaches. The teams shared two regular-season games with the Heels, notably spoiling K’s last home game at Cameron Indoor Stadium in an upset.
FrontPageBets shares their picks to advance to the championship game on Monday night. During the tournament, editor Gerry Ahern has a record of 15-5 on money line selection, 9-10-1 on spread selection and 8-12 on over/under predictions.
People also read…
Follow the news here and get more information on Final Four teams from our partners in the Lee Enterprises sports network.
No. 8 North Carolina vs. No. 2 Duke
Side? site: Caesar’s Superdome, New Orleans
Spread: Duke -4 (-110); North Carolina +4 (-110)
money line: Duke -190; North Carolina +160
Road to the Final Four: North Carolina (28-9) saved their season with a late run that included the aforementioned victory at Cameron. The Heels edged Marquette by 32 points, stunned defending champion and No. 1 Baylor in OT (after wasting a 25-point lead), clawed their way past UCLA and routed Cinderella Saint Peter’s in the Big Dance. They’ve already spoiled a farewell party for their bitter rivals and Krzyzewski and would love nothing more than to slam the door on his career. Junior striker Armando Bacot is the straw stirring the drink. Averaging 16.5 points in double-doubles and 12.8 rebounds, he’s a force to be reckoned with. And it’s not like he doesn’t have talented teammates. Oklahoma transfer and senior forward Brady Manek has been showing big numbers, averaging 15.2 points and 5.9 rebounds in three NCAA games. Sophomore guard Caleb Love saved the day with 30 points against the Bruins. Duke (32-6) shrugged off outrage at losing his home finals and ACC Tournament Finals to Virginia Tech to get past Cal State Fullerton, beat Michigan State, defend Texas Tech and surpass Arkansas. The young Blue Devils have been steeled in their recent struggles and triumphs. Unflappable freshman forward Paolo Banchero, averaging 17.1 points and 7.7 rebounds, does it all and is a tank. Sophomore guard Jeremy Roach’s stabilizing play, particularly against the Spartans and Red Raiders, was tremendous. Speaking of the tall, 7-foot center sophomore, Mark Williams dominates on the glass and as a shot blocker/rim guard. All the pieces are here to send Krzyzewski to a sixth national championship. North Carolina is 20-16-1 against the spread. Duke is 20-16-2.
gambling problem? There is help. Call 1-800-522-4700 or visit the National Council on Problem Gambling for help.
Gerry Ahern is Senior Content Editor for FrontPageBets. A veteran sports editor and digital media manager with 35 years of experience, he has overseen coverage of major sporting events, from the Super Bowls to the Final Fours to the Olympics and the Masters.