Many people underestimated the North Carolina Tar Heels all season long, and yet here they are in the Final Four and set to do battle with their ACC rivals the Duke Blue Devils for a spot in the national title game. UNC is playing tremendous basketball right now but would still be wise to not be over its head during the blockbuster showdown against Duke.
Nitrobetting is ready to dish out some timely assists to our bettors all throughout the March Madness season. This time, let’s highlight three keys to victory for the North Carolina Tar Heels in Saturday’s highly-anticipated 2022 March Madness Final Four matchup against the Duke Blue Devils.
3 Key Matchups for the North Carolina vs. Duke 2022 Final Four Showdown
Mark Williams vs. Armando Bacot
The most obvious matchup to watch out for is the battle of the big men in Duke’s Mark Williams and North Carolina’s Armando Bacot. Williams is a natural center at his position and has taken his defensive prowess in the post to a new level at the Big Dance, averaging four blocks per contest. The seven-foot sophomore is also averaging 14.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in the tournament.
On the opposite end, UNC’s Bacot has been more of an all-around presence in the paint, averaging a smashing double-double of 16.5 points and 15.8 boards over the last four games. That goes without saying that the senior forward has eight blocked shots in the tourney to stand his own guard on D relatively well.
Paolo Banchero vs. Brady Manek
Few players in the 2022 NCAA Tournament can compare to Paolo Banchero’s versatility. Duke’s standout freshman has scored no less than 16 points in each of his starts at the Big Dance along with a superb average of seven rebounds per contest. The reigning ACC Rookie of the Year is also shooting over 50 percent from the field as well as from beyond the arc as the Blue Devils’ lynchpin on offense.
UNC’s Brady Manek rounds out the Tar Heels’ stellar frontcourt tandem along with Williams. The 6-foot-9 senior is averaging a team-high 21.5 points in the tournament along with eight boards per contest. Manek has a sweet shooting stroke from deep too, converting 16 of his 34 shots from three-point range (47 percent).
Wendell Moore Jr. vs. Caleb Love
With all the attention that Williams and Bachero are getting, Wendell Moore Jr. has seen more than his fair share of good looks at the basket in the national tournament. The Charlotte native is averaging a cool 13.5 points per game on an efficient 54.8-percent shooting clip from the field.
North Carolina will counter Duke’s Moore with sophomore guard Caleb Love, who replaces shooting efficiency with huge scoring explosions. Although Love went just 1-of-6 for five points in the second round against Baylor, he averaged 22.3 points in the three other games of the tourney, including his 30-point performance with six three-pointers in the Sweet 16 win over UCLA.
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