March Madness Expert Picks: Iona vs. North Carolina

The Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH will play host to NCAA Tournament Midwest Region
round one games on Friday. The nightcap will see the #16 Iona Gaels take on the #1 North Carolina
Tar Heels as big underdogs.

Our series of March Madness Predictions continues as we take a look at this matchup in full detail.

Date/Time/TV: Fri. March 22, 9:20 PM EST, TNT

Vegas Odds March Madness

Spread: North Carolina Tar Heels -22.5 (-110)

Total: 166

Game Preview

The Gaels earned their ticket to March Madness via a an 81-60 win over Monmouth in the MAAC
championship, a game for which they were favored by 4.5 points. Iona finished first in the
conference for the regular season at 12-6. Overall, the team is 17-15 (13-19 ATS).

The Tar Heels were tied with Virginia for the top record in the ACC at 16-2. The club squared off
with Duke in the conference semifinals, falling by a score of 74-73 as 4.5-point underdogs. On the
year, North Carolina is 27-6 (21-10-2 ATS).

Iona Gaels

Iona had an up and down regular season prior to turning it on at the end. The team closed out the
regular season with seven straight wins, and the hot streak carried over into the MAAC tournament.
Over their last 10 games, the Gaels are 10-0 (8-2 ATS).

Totals have been Over for four of the last five and stand at 17-15 on the season. E.J. Crawford is the
top offensive threat for Iona. He’s averaging 17.9 ppg. Rickey McGill is next in the pecking order
with 15.5 ppg and 5.0 apg. Asante Gist was the top scorer last time out with 22 points.

North Carolina Tar Heels

North Carolina entered conference play with a record of 10-3, but the team kicked its play into gear
once the ACC season started. The club ripped off seven- and an eight-game winning streaks versus
familiar foes. For the last 10, the Tar Heels are 8-2 (7-3 ATS).

Totals have been Under for three of the last four and lean that way on the year at 15-18. Cameron
Johnson leads the way in scoring with 16.9 ppg. Coby White contributes 16.3 ppg and 4.2 apg, while
Luke Maye adds in 14.7 ppg and 10.5 rpg. Johnson had 23 points in the team’s last game.

Iona vs. North Carolina March Madness Prediction

Iona was invited to the dance last year as well. They faced off with Duke in the opening round,
falling by a score of 89-67. North Carolina lost in the second round last year to Texas A&M. They
won it all in 2017 with a 6-point win over Gonzaga in the finals.

The Gaels have been on an impressive run, but they are severely outclassed here. The spread is hefty
at 22.5 points, but we like the Tar Heels to get the job done.

Iona Gaels vs. North Carolina Tar Heels NCAA Tournament Pick: North Carolina -22.5 (-110)

More March Madness betting tips:

Christopher Feery

    A freelance writer by trade and lifelong sports fan, Chris got off the fence and entered the world of sports betting content when his home state of New Jersey finally legalized wagering in the summer of 2018. This quickly became his full-time focus, and he absolutely loves sharing information with loyal readers and subscribers. He subscribes to the theory that numbers don't lie, but he also knows they don't always tell the whole story. Chris likes to keep it simple to avoid paralysis by analysis, but he's not shy about digging deep to find the answers he seeks. A two-time nominee and one-time winner of Fantasy Sports Writers Association year-end awards for football content, Chris will gladly discuss fantasy pigskin all year long, as well as anything else to do with the NFL or CFB. While football tops his list, he also has quite the affinity for other fields of play, priding himself on delivering exceptional content with actionable information that provides positive results.

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    Christopher Feery

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