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Louisville vs. North Carolina Odds, Picks, Predictions For Monday College Basketball (February 21)

Louisville vs. North Carolina Odds, Picks, Predictions For Monday College Basketball (February 21) article feature image

Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: Armando Bacot.

  • The North Carolina Tar Heels meet the Louisville Cardinals in ACC college basketball action Monday night.
  • The last time these teams met, it was a fast-paced showdown that went to overtime.
  • College basketball betting analyst Kyle Remillard expects something similar tonight. He explains why below.

Louisville vs. North Carolina Odds

Monday, Feb. 21
7 p.m. ET
Louisville Odds
-115o / -105u
North Carolina Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

North Carolina is in desperate need of a victory as it welcomes Louisville to Chapel Hill.

The first time these two teams met to open February, the Tar Heels needed overtime to outlast Louisville in a 90-83 victory. The Heels are currently one of the last four teams in the tournament, according toJoe Lunardi’s Bracketology.

The Louisville program has been a disaster since the start of the new year. The team has won just four games in 2022 with only one of those coming since Chris Mack departed.

This rematch should follow a similar blueprint as the first matchup that featured a wildly fast pace.

Louisville Cardinals

The Louisville basketball program has been in disarray since 2022 began. The Cardinals went on a 1-10 stretch in conference play before its victory over Clemson on Saturday.

Louisville was virtually stealing money from bettors, as the group went on a 1-11-1 streak against the spread during that span. But it’s settled down, covering the number in two of its last three matchups.

The Cardinals’ offense has been reliant on taking a boatload of 3-point attempts, as 43% of the team’s shots come from deep. The unit hits 34% from deep but caught fire the first time against UNC.

Louisville is the complete opposite of North Carolina, as it utilizes the bench at the 27th-highest rate in the country. Ten separate players have seen their name in the starting lineup this season.

The group has only two players who average double digits in Noah Locke and Malik Williams. Locke is one of two players on the roster shooting above 35% from 3-point territory. Williams, a 6-foot-11 center, will be an important factor for the Cardinals to slow down the North Carolina bigs.  

El Ellis has taken over the scoring duties recently as he has scored double-digits in six games straight. He’s averaging 16 points per game during that span and has hit 38% from 3-point territory. In the first meeting with North Carolina, Ellis scored a season-high 25-points off the bench.

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North Carolina Tar Heels

North Carolina’s offense is at its best when the ball is moving around, with all five starters are getting shots.

That’s exactly what happened in both matchups against Virginia Tech, including its most recent game. The first time the two programs met, all five starters scored in double figures. That game was highlighted by Armando Bacot’s 14-point, 20-rebound night.

Meanwhile, the Tar Heels saw four of the five starters eclipse the double-digit scoring mark on Saturday night. Bacot snagged another 15 rebounds in the rematch.

Hubert Davis’ squad relies on its starting five, as the group ranks 346th in the nation in bench minutes. In the rematch with Virginia Tech, the bench contributed only three points. That’s not an anomaly, as North Carolina’s bench has contributed to only 12% of the team’s total points this season.

The offense has dominated from beyond the perimeter this season, hitting 38% on the year to rank 15th nationally. Despite crushing it on the boards, the group hasn’t impresses inside the paint, as it hits 50% from 2-point territory.

Defensively, the Tar Heels have struggled to defend the perimeter. That was highlighted specifically the first time they faced off against Louisville. The Cardinals torched the Tar Heels defense, hitting 15-of-35 (43%) from beyond the arc in that game.

Louisville vs. North Carolina Betting Pick

The first time these two teams met was a back-and-forth battle in which North Carolina needed overtime to survive on the road.

The two teams combined to hit 27-of-61 attempts from beyond the arc (44%). North Carolina has struggled to defend the perimeter all season, ranking 249th in the nation. Louisville isn’t much better at 182nd.

Both offenses utilize less than 17 seconds of the shot clock before getting up a field goal attempt, and it showed in the first matchup. Each side exceeded 70 attempts in the game with each team connecting on just over 40%.

There is no reason to expect anything different in this matchup. The game will be played with a fast pace, as North Carolina ranks 37th in tempo, according to KenPom.

I find it difficult to back either side in this matchup, as Louisville has covered the spread in just three of its last 16 games. North Carolina is too reliant on its starting lineup, and facing off against a team that will have much fresher legs is a concern.

For that reason, I’m backing the over in what should be a replica of the first matchup. Both offenses pull the trigger quickly offensively, and many of those attempts will be clean looks from outside.

Pick: Over 146 (Play to 147.5)

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