Game to be played at FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee
Butler has a history of pulling off upsets in the NCAA Tournament, but the fourth-seeded Bulldogs face a tough matchup against No. 1 seed North Carolina in the South Region semifinals Friday in Memphis, Tenn. Butler is trying to knock off a No. 1 seed for the third time after doing so in 2010 and 2011 en route to back-to-back championship game appearances.
The Bulldogs breezed through the first weekend with relative ease as they never trailed in wins over Winthrop 76-64 and Middle Tennessee 74-65, and spent a total of 1:18 tied in those contests. The Tar Heels had a much tougher time and had to rally from a five-point deficit in the final three minutes of a 72-65 victory over Arkansas in the second round. “Sometimes you need games like that,” North Carolina guard Joel Berry II told reporters. “We haven’t had a game like that in a while. Now we know we can win a game when we’re down five with three minutes to go.” The Tar Heels are in the Sweet 16 for the third straight year and the ninth time in the past 13 seasons.
TV: 7:09 p.m. ET, CBS
LINE HISTORY: The Tar Heels hit the board as 7-point favorites and that number has yet to move. The total opened at 152.5 and has been bet up half-point to the current number of 153. Check out the complete line history here.
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Butler – No injuries to report
North Carolina – G Joel Berry II (Questionable, ankle), G Kenny Williams (Out For Season, knee)
ABOUT BUTLER: The Bulldogs have been crisp on offense in the tournament, shooting 50 percent overall and 47 percent from 3-point range, with Memphis transfer Avery Woodson (8.9 points) going 8-of-14 from behind the arc. They’ll need to continue that to keep pace with North Carolina, and Butler also needs to keep limiting its turnovers – the Bulldogs average 10.2 per game, ninth-fewest in the nation. Swingman Kelan Martin (16 points, 5.8 rebounds) leads the Bulldogs in scoring and rebounding, while forward Andrew Chrabascz (11.1 points, 4.5 rebounds) and freshman guard Kamar Baldwin (10 points) also score in double digits.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA: The Tar Heels nearly met their match with Arkansas’ frenetic style of play, but their up-tempo game should match up better against the Bulldogs. North Carolina has no shortage of offensive weapons, beginning with swingman Justin Jackson (18.1 points, 4.7 rebounds) and forwards Kennedy Meeks (12.7 points, 9.1 rebounds) and Isaiah Hicks (12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds). The biggest question for the Tar Heels is the status of Berry (14.4 points, 3.7 assists), who has been hobbled by an ankle injury and struggled to a 2-for-13 shooting performance against the Razorbacks.
* Bulldogs are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games as an underdog.
* Bulldogs are 20-4-2 ATS in their last 26 NCAA Tournament games.
* Under is 4-0 in Bulldogs last 4 overall.
* Under is 9-1-1 in Tar Heels last 11 games following a straight up win.
* Under is 4-1 in Tar Heels last 5 games as a favorite of 7.0-12.5.
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COVERS CONSENSUS: Fifty-eight percent of Covers users are taking the underdog Butler Bulldogs and OVER is grabbing 62 percent of the action on the totals. View full consensus data here.