North Carolina vs. Washington Betting Guide: Do Heels Have Recipe to Break Huskies’ Zone?

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USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cameron Johnson and David Crisp

Mar 24, 2019, 02:35 PM EDT
  • A complete breakdown of North Carolina-Washington, complete with Ken Barkley's betting pick.

#1 North Carolina vs. #9 Washington: NCAA Tournament Betting Odds

  • Spread: UNC -11.5
  • Over/Under: 148
  • Date: Sunday, March 24
  • Time: 2:40 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS
  • Location: Columbus, Ohio

>> All odds as of Saturday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.


North Carolina may have struggled for a half with Iona (which was hitting every 3 imaginable), but that didn’t last, as the Tar Heels exerted their dominance over the course of the second half to pull away.

Washington’s first-round blowout was far less expected, as it was a 3.5-point underdog entering its 17-point win over Utah State. Can Washington come up with another spectacular effort to knock off a true contender?

North Carolina Has Seen Washington’s Defense

UNC is going to see a defense it faces in the ACC, and that’s a bonus. Longtime Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins has instilled a lot of the same principles at Washington, and has talented players to execute the scheme. The infamous 2-3 zone can give teams headaches, but Carolina’s offense had no such issues with it against Syracuse this year, putting up 90-plus points despite very lackluster 3-point shooting numbers.

The 2-3 zone does a great job generally of limiting 3s and lay-ups, and forces offenses to run what may be a very basic “zone-beating” offense, as opposed to the more unique schemes that can be run against man-to-man defense.

Carolina has two big edges against a zone. First, guard Coby White can attack via the drive either to score or to dish — and he was very successful against Syracuse doing just that.

Second, and most importantly, Luke Maye is the ideal big man to “flash” to the foul line, in the middle of the zone, receive the pass, and either score or pass to a teammate. Against Syracuse, he led the team with six assists, and he has a good mid-range game. His skill set is ideal for this role, and could be a key to a Carolina victory over the Huskies.

Lastly, UNC is always an excellent offensive rebounding team, and because of the zone, those opportunities will always be there. Washington was 345th in the country in offensive rebounding allowed, so this may be the most glaring statistical mismatch in the game.

When Washington Has The Ball

The Huskies need to hope they shoot it as well as they did Friday night, when they made 10-of-17 three-pointers against Utah State. Washington isn’t a bad 3-point shooting team, so it wasn’t a complete outlier performance, but 58.8% is just very unlikely to be repeated.

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