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North Carolina a +6000 Longshot in 2021 NCAA Tournament Title Odds

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North Carolina forward Walker Kessler reacting and celebrating with his hands in the air during a NCAA men's basketball game.

North Carolina forward Walker Kessler (13) reacts following an NCAA college basketball game against Florida State in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

  • The 2021 NCAA Tournament begins Thursday and the North Carolina Tar Heels managed to qualify as an eight-seed after a down year
  • The Tar Heels have never been ranked lower than an eight-seed in the NCAA Tournament under Roy Williams
  • Read on to find out if the North Carolina Tar Heels can make a run in the Big Dance

The 2021 version of the North Carolina Tar Heels were underwhelming to say the least. After being a one-seed in three of the last four NCAA Tournaments, this year’s bunch finished the season 18-10 squeaking in as an eight seed. They likely would not have been included in the field had it not been for a deep ACC Tournament run.

Still, the Tar Heels cannot be written off completely as they did show signs of life at the end of the season. But in order to come out of the South Region and go to the Final Four, they will have some nasty competition. Six teams in the region have better odds to cut down the nets in Indianapolis.

2021 South Region Odds

Team (Seed) Odds
Baylor (1) +500
Ohio State (2) +2000
Villanova (5) +4000
Texas Tech (6) +4000
Arkansas (3) +5000
Purdue (4) +5000
North Carolina (8) +6000
Wisconsin (9) +6000
Virginia Tech (10) +8000
Florida (7) +10000
Winthrop (12) +10000
Oral Roberts (15) +10000
Colgate (14) +10000
Utah State (11) +12000
North Texas (13) +30000
Hartford (16) +30000

Odds as of March 14th at DraftKings.

Roy Williams Is a Legend

Surviving game after game in this tournament is impossible to do without elite coaching. Luckily for the Tar Heels, they have one of the best of all-time in Roy Williams. He was the fastest coach in NCAA history to win 900 games, only needing 1,161 games to accomplish the feat.

Under Williams, the Tar Heels want to get up and down the floor, playing at the 45th fastest pace in the country. (adjusted for opponent) according to KenPom. Their offense was their Achilles heel all season long but the group did finish 53rd in efficiency in the nation so they’re better than average. Their 15th-ranked defense was key in their ACC Tournament run and will likely dictate how far they go in the Big Dance.

March Madness Final Four Odds Tracker

Peaking at the Right Time

The biggest thing the Tar Heels have going for them at the moment is they are playing their best basketball of the season right now. In the past 16 days, they’ve beaten Florida State and Duke. During that span, they’ve lost twice but both were one-possession games against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. In their last win, they looked like a team that’s capable of playing with anyone.

One reason for the recent success is the fact that their offense seems to have caught up to their defense. In the past three games only 24 teams in the nation have been more efficient on offense. They were barley in the top 100 in offensive efficiency on the season coming in at 96th.

The added efficiency led to more points as only 11 teams in the nation averaged more points per game over the last three games than the Tar Heels. After only scoring 75.7 points per contest on the season, they averaged 82.7 in the last three games.

How Far Can They Go?

The current odds are showing the Tar Heels at +6000 to win the national championship which is a little short given the circumstances. Even odds of +1200 to make the Final Four and +600 to make the Sweet Sixteen don’t feel like enough. The biggest reason why is because the Baylor Bears will be waiting if the Tar Heels get out of the first round.

North Carolina does have a good chance to get out of the first round, though, established as two-point favorites over the #8 Wisconsin Badgers. Wisconsin plays a much slower brand of basketball that doesn’t leave a lot of margin for error against UNC.

Skip the odds on the Tar Heels winning anything more than one game as they have a gauntlet to go though that just isn’t reflected in the odds. They likely won’t be dancing for long.

Best Bet: North Carolina (-2) over Wisconsin in First Round

Author Image John Hyslop


John has spent the past 20+ years betting sports on a daily basis and is considered by many to be a walking sports betting encyclopedia. From obscure player props to sides and totals, if there is an angle, John will find it.


John has spent the past 20+ years betting sports on a daily basis and is considered by many to be a walking sports betting encyclopedia. From obscure player props to sides and totals, if there is an angle, John will find it.


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