Kansas vs North Carolina predictions, expert picks: 2022 NCAA championship odds, spread for March Madness

After months of action throughout the season and weeks of a fast-paced 2022 NCAA Tournament that started with 68 teams, the March Madness bracket comes down to an epic championship game on Monday night at Caesars Superdome in Las Vegas. New Orleans between two of the sport’s best blue bloods: No. 1 seed Kansas and No. 8 seed North Carolina. History awaits. As such, the end of the 2022 college basketball season is only hours away.

Scenarios abound in this one as we prepare to crown a champion. Kansas coach Bill Self is looking to win his second championship at KU nearly 14 years after the day of his first and only with the Jayhawks. The title shot comes two years after his side would likely have been the No. 1 seed in the tournament which was canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

For North Carolina, coach Hubert Davis is also aiming to make history after becoming the fifth freshman coach to take a team to a title game in the first year. His Tar Heels are set to become the second team. never to win a championship as the No. 8 seed – a business retained only by the legendary Villanova of 1985. No team with a lower seed has ever gone through the entire bracket.

Our expert team has picks for Monday’s historic season finale below both straight and against the spread. Take a look at their predictions below.

Keys to the 2022 NCAA Championship

Perimeter clash: Kansas winger Ochai Agbaji is a CBS Sports first-team All-American who has knocked down 8 of 9 3-point attempts in the Jayhawks’ last two games. But UNC guard Caleb Love might actually be hotter coming into Monday night’s game. The 6-4 sophomore turned in a legendary 30-point game against UCLA in the Sweet 16 when he absolutely caught fire in the second half. Then, against Duke on Saturday night, he scored 28 points and hit a late 3-point clutch to help cement the result in favor of UNC. Agabji is more seasoned and stable, but Love is super talented and explosive. Whichever team gets the most from their star player in the backcourt will have a big advantage.

McCormack vs. Stuffy: North Carolina center Armando Bacot has racked up 43 rebounds over UNC’s last two games. The CBS Sports All-American is the Tar Heels’ only true center, and he’s been a consistent force under the basket all season. His counterpart, David McCormack of Kansas, is much more inconsistent. McCormack goes through long stretches when he’s off the radar and a non-factor. Then, out of nowhere, he can burst onto the scene for 25 points and nine rebounds like he did in KU’s win over Villanova on Saturday. On paper, Bacot is the better player and should have an advantage. But if Bacot has foul trouble or is hampered by the leg issue that bothered him against Duke, a quality performance from McCormack could be the game changer for Kansas.

Bench Battle: If North Carolina is forced to use their bench a lot, that could be a problem. The Tar Heels relied heavily on their starting five in the second half of the season and are particularly thin behind Bacot in the frontcourt. If the game is tightly refereed, someone gets sent off, or an injury issue arises, the advantage will go to Kansas. The Jayhawks bring one of their best offensive weapons to the bench in Remy Martin and have a solid backup in Mitch Lightfoot. Beyond those two, coach Bill Self also has a few other wildcards he can deploy if needed. Plus, if the Jayhawks can get out and run in transition with consistency, it could help wear down UNC.

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern

2022 NCAA Championship Predictions

(1) Kansas vs. (8) North Carolina

9:20 p.m. | TBS, March Madness live: Kansas looked to be in top form on Saturday as they not only ousted — but beat — No. 2 seed Villanova in a dominating performance. Ochai Agbaji was at the peak of his powers, David McCormack owned the paint, and the Jayhawks fought their way to the National Finals. UNC, on the other hand, is coming off perhaps the most emotional victory of any team in Final Four history after toppling Duke and ending the historic career of Coach K. Will the Tar Heels be able to maintain this momentum in a short time? I think they’ll be ready for now to keep this one relatively close, but it’s a tall order to keep it within 4.5 against this KU team. I put the number. Choose: Kansas -4.5


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