March Madness Odds: Will North Carolina Capture No. 1 Seed?

The Tar Heels are viewed as longshots to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, but they still have some time to make up some ground.
Feb 3, 2024; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Harrison Ingram (55)
Feb 3, 2024; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Harrison Ingram (55) / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

With the NCAA tournament on the horizon, the last few remaining regular season games and conference tournaments hold so much importance. 

For the bubble teams across the country, this is their final chance to build up their resumes to punch their tickets to the big dance. However, for other teams, such as North Carolina, who are a lock to be in the NCAA Tournament, they are playing for seeding.

The No. 9- ranked North Carolina Tar Heels will likely be a top-four seed in one of the four regions as they are 22-6 and in the driver’s seat to win the ACC regular season title. 

The Tar Heels have played good basketball this season, with only two conference losses to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the Syracuse Orange (both on the road). UNC is led by the dynamic duo of RJ Davis and Armando Bacot, who are some of the best players in the country. 

Davis is scoring a team-high 21.7 points per game on 43.1% shooting from the field and 41.1% from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Bacot is averaging a double-double with 14.1 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. If those two guys are playing at a high level – the Tar Heels will be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Tar Heels as the No. 2 seed in the East Region, with the UConn Huskies as the No. 1 seed in his latest bracketology from Tuesday. A two-seed in the tourney isn’t a bad draw, but one has to wonder if UNC can close that gap with an ACC conference tournament championship.

Below, we’ll discuss the latest No. 1 seed odds from FanDuel Sportsbook and if the Tar Heels are a good bet with the regular season wrapping up.

2023-24 NCAA Tournament Odds

FanDuel Sportsbook currently has North Carolina as a long shot to get the No. 1 seed (+900). However, the No. 4-ranked Tennessee Volunteers, who are also projected as a No. 2 seed in Lunardi’s bracketology, have shorter odds (+170).

Now granted, when you look at each team’s resume, there are a lot of similarities. Tennessee has 21 wins, while North Carolina has 22 wins. Both squads are ranked top-10 in the NET (Tennessee – 5th, North Carolina – 9th). 

Meanwhile, the Volunteers have a 5-5 record in Quad 1, but the Tar Heels are 7-4. Both teams have done a great job in Quads 2,3, and 4, but seeing UNC with a better performance against Quad 1 teams, one does wonder what else they have to do to shorten their odds.

After their four-point win over Miami on Tuesday night, the Tar Heels have three regular season games against NC State (home), Notre Dame (home), and Duke (road). If UNC wins the rest of their regular season games, including a two-game sweep over Duke, that would be a nice feather in their cap.

That being said, at +900 odds, it might not be a horrible bet because the top-tier teams could slip up in their respective conference tournaments. If Hubert Davis can get two wins over Duke in the regular season, it would be hard to bet against them to lose to the Blue Devils in the ACC tournament.

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Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.