Saint Peter’s vs. UNC – March Madness, Sunday, March 27, 2022

| March 26, 2022 10:53 am PDT

Raise your hand if you predicted this Elite Eight matchup? I shouldn’t see many hands in the air considering the No. 15 Saint Peter’s Peacocks will face the No. 8 seed North Carolina Tar Heels.

Saint Peter’s became the first No. 15 seed to advance to the Elite Eight. They’ve defeated a pair of top three seeds in Kentucky and Purdue. North Carolina kept up their winning ways with a Sweet 16 victory over UCLA.

Maybe North Carolina, but no one expected Saint Peter’s in the Elite Eight. Let’s see how Bovada views this matchup.

Saint Peter’s vs. UNC Odds for March 27th

Saint Peter’s Peacocks (+8.0)-115
North Carolina Tar Heels (-8.0)-105
Saint Peter’s to Win+280
North Carolina to Win-360
Over 137-110
Under 137-110

It’s not surprising to see the Saint Peter’s Peacocks as the underdog, but eight points seem like a bit much. After all, they defeated top 10 teams in Kentucky and Purdue.

Obviously, Saint Peter’s has covered in all three NCAA Tournament games as the underdog. You might not know that they’ve covered the spread in ten straight games. They’ve been a low-scoring team, but Saint Peter’s went over their point total in their first two March Madness games.

Like Saint Peter’s, the North Carolina Tar Heels have been great against the spread. They’ve covered in eight of their last ten games, including all three March Madness games.

North Carolina went over their point total in 21 of their 36 games this season, but they’ve gone under in three of their last five games.

Neither team has a new injury, so we’re looking at a pair of teams at full strength. Let’s see who will make the Final Four.

Saint Peter’s Peacocks Preview

What a run it has been for the Saint Peter’s Peacocks. Their Sweet 16 victory over No. 3 Purdue made them the first No. 15 seed in NCAA Tournament history to make the Elite Eight. It has been an incredible run, but it’s not over. They still have work to do if they want to make the Final Four.

All season, the strength for Saint Peter’s has been their defense. Their 62.9 points allowed per game ranked just inside the top 20. What’s so impressive about their defense is they’ve limited three of the best offenses.

Let’s check out their opponents’ points per game compared to their performance against Saint Peter’s.

  Points Per Game Points vs. Saint Peter’s
Kentucky 79.4 (14th) 79
Murray State 79.1 (18th) 60
Purdue 79.4 (15th) 64

The Kentucky game went into overtime, but they only had 71 points in regulation. Saint Peter’s held Murray State and Purdue well below their seasonal average. They’ll have to do that again against a North Carolina Tar Heels team that scores 78.3 points per game.

Saint Peter’s offense has been their biggest weakness. Truthfully, they haven’t put up big numbers in March Madness, as they don’t have a go-to option.

Daryl Banks III was their star player against Kentucky.

  • 27 points
  • 4 rebounds
  • 9-19 field goal shooting
  • 5-8 three-point shooting

Banks had a rough performance against Murray State but bounced back with a team-high 14 points on 6-14 shooting against Purdue.

I wonder if not having a true star player will catch up with Saint Peter’s. It hasn’t mattered in two close games, but how long can they get away with it? We’ll see if their defense will continue to mask a below-average offense.

North Carolina Tar Heels Preview

The North Carolina Tar Heels are in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2017. North Carolina had a great close to the season, beating Duke in Coach K’s final home game.

North Carolina’s offense has been on full display in the NCAA Tournament. They cleared 90 points in their first two games, before picking up a 73-66 victory over UCLA. Brady Manek has put up big numbers, but Caleb Love and R.J. Davis have been alternating great performances.

  Points Three-Point Shooting
Round of 64 (Caleb Love) 23 6-13
Round of 32 (R.J. Davis) 30 5-10
Sweet 16 (Caleb Love) 30 6-13

North Carolina’s offense is why they’re on the verge of the Final Four. Love and Davis are trading big games, while Armando Bacot has a double-double in all three NCAA Tournament games.

I had North Carolina as one of my best bets to make the Final Four. Their high-powered offense is making me feel a lot better about that prediction.

We talked about the Saint Peter’s Peacocks defense holding down great offenses. North Carolina will have to break that trend if they want to make the Final Four. They have the talent to do so, but so did Kentucky and Purdue.

I’m not too concerned with North Carolina’s defense. Baylor nearly made a huge comeback, but that’s the only team to clear 66 points against them.

This matchup should come down to North Carolina’s offense vs. Saint Peter’s defense. Both units have been firing on all cylinders, but only one can lead their team to the Final Four. It should be fun to see which can get the job done.

We’ve talked about the strengths and weaknesses of both teams. Now it’s time to see who will advance to the Final Four.

Saint Peter’s vs. North Carolina Pick

  • Saint Peter’s Peacocks (+8.0)

The Saint Peter’s Peacocks have already knocked out two elite teams in Kentucky and Purdue. Still, they open as an (+8.0) point underdog? I think that’s too big for a team of their caliber.

Truthfully, I think the North Carolina Tar Heels win this matchup to advance to the Final Four. At the same time, I believe Saint Peter’s keeps it within eight points. They’ve surprised everyone all tournament and could do it again.

Fans won’t want to miss this Elite Eight matchup. Tune in to CBS on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. ET. Check out the top March Madness betting sites for more betting opportunities.

Nicholas Sterling
Nicholas Sterling

Nicholas has been a Sports Writer with since May 2021. He has a rich sports background, writing about NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Golf, etc. Nick is always ready for a new challenge.

He enjoys rooting on D.C. sports teams, including the Commanders, Wizards, and Capitals.

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