Indiana vs. North Carolina: East Region Sweet 16 betting preview

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No. 5 Indiana Hoosiers vs. No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels (+4, 135)

Game to be played at Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA.

Two of the most successful programs in college basketball history meet when top-seeded North Carolina takes on No. 5 seed Indiana in the East Regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament on Friday in Philadelphia. The Tar Heels, who have won seven straight contests, are tied with Indiana and Duke for third at five national titles and each boasts the tools to make it six.

North Carolina has rolled to double-digit victories over FGCU and Providence in the first two rounds after winning the ACC regular-season and tournament titles with versatile senior forward Brice Johnson leading a deep, balanced lineup. “I probably think we’ve played our best basketball the entire season in the last couple of weeks,” Tar Heels coach Roy Williams told reporters. Indiana, which won the Big Ten regular-season title and knocked off Kentucky in the regional quarterfinals Saturday, got better as the season went along with senior point guard Yogi Ferrell as the catalyst. The Hoosiers have leaned on their offense all season (82.5 points), but coach Tom Crean told reporters he knows North Carolina will be difficult to outscore because “they keep bringing a wave of guys at you.”

TV: 9:57 p.m. ET, TBS

LINE HISTORY: The books opened the no. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels at -6.5 and the public jumped all over Indiana at that value. The books dropped the line to -5.5 by Monday morning and that’s where it’s been ever since. The total opened at 160 and was dropped to 158.5 on Wednesday afternoon. Check out the complete line history here.


ABOUT INDIANA (27-7, 19-15 ATS, 16-18 O/U): Ferrell recorded 38 points, 14 assists and three turnovers over the last two games while playing an average of 36 minutes. Ferrell, who has 1,961 career points, will need continued production inside from center Thomas Bryant (19 points versus Kentucky, 68.9 percent shooting overall) and forward Troy Williams (13 points, team-high 5.9 rebounds this season). The Hoosiers’ depth is a bit in question with the status of guard Robert Johnson (ankle) and forward Juwan Morgan (shoulder) uncertain.

ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (30-6, 17-18-1 ATS, 18-18 O/U): Johnson, who is four rebounds shy of becoming the eighth Tar Heel to reach 1,000 in his career, averages a double-double (16.8 points, 10.5 boards) while shooting 61.9 percent from the field. Johnson is a constant while the rest of a deep lineup has taken turns stepping up and senior point guard Marcus Paige (12.0 points) is a key for the Tar Heels after draining 5-of-12 from beyond the arc in the first two rounds. Guard Joel Berry II (12.8) and forward Justin Jackson (12.1) also average in double figures.


* Hoosiers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games.
* Tar Heels are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.
* Hoosiers are 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings.
* Over is 6-1 in Tar Heels last 7 non-conference games.


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