The Big Ten Conference is 7-1 ATS in the NCAA Tournament as underdogs of less than six points and my math model only favors North Carolina by three points. The Hoosiers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven non-conference games, 4-1 ATS in their last five games off a win and 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings with North Carolina.
Let’s also note that the Big Ten is 9-2 SU and 8-3 ATS in the Sweet 16 versus ACC opponents since 1992, while North Carolina head coach Roy Williams is just 6-11 ATS versus Big Ten foes off a SU and ATS win.
Indiana possesses an explosive offense that is ranked 1st nationally in field goal percentage (.505), 10th in scoring (82.5), 9th in scoring margin (+13.5), 5th in three-point field goal percentage (.416), 9th in total three-pointers made (332) and 24th in total assists.
Overall, Indiana’s attack is 11.3 points per game better than average (82.5 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 71.2 points per game), which is good enough to exploit a pedestrian Tar Heel defense that is only 3.7 points per game better than average (69.4 points per game to teams that would combine to average 73.1 points per game).
The Hoosiers’ prolific long-range shooting should feast on a North Carolina squad that ranks 232nd in three-point field goal defense (.354). Indiana’s defense is mediocre at best, but the Hoosiers are limiting opponents to 70.6 points over the last five games (29.9% 3-PT).
The Hoosiers forced Kentucky into sixteen turnovers and rank 63rd nationally (351 schools ranked) in total steals and 72nd in steals per game (7.0). I also like the fact that Indiana is 25th in the country with a +6.9 rebound margin.
Finally, this game involves two of the worst college basketball coaches in Division I, but my rankings still put Tom Crean ahead of the grossly overrated and often times incompetent Roy Williams. Grab the generous points with the Hoosiers in this NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 clash!
Oskeim Sports’ NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Best Bet: Indiana (+6) (-110)