On Friday night, the Auburn Tigers will take on the North Carolina Tar Heels in a Sweet 16 matchup with the winner advancing to the Elite 8 to take on either Kentucky or Houston. Auburn is the 5th seed in the region and are 28-9 and have won 10 straight games. North Carolina is the 1 seed in the region and is 29-6 on the season.
Impressive Wins to Get This Far
Auburn is coming off an impressive 89-75 win over Kansas in their second-round matchup. The Tigers got out to a hot start in this one and led by double digits for almost the entire game. Bryce Brown led the way for the Tigers with 25 points on 9 of 13 shooting and hit 7 of 11 3-pointers to go with 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Jared Harper scored 18 points on 6 of 13 shooting to go with a team-high 6 assists. Chuma Okeke added 12 points, and Anfernee McLemore chipped in 11 points. Okeke, McLemore, and Samir Doughty each tied for the team lead in rebounds with 5.
North Carolina is coming off an 81-59 blowout win over Washington in their second-round matchup. They led by just 8 points at halftime but maintained a comfortable lead throughout the second half. Luke Maye and Nassir Little tied for the team lead with 20 points. Maye shot 8 of 19 from the field and grabbed a team-high 14 rebounds. Little went 8 for 11 from the field and grabbed 7 rebounds. Coby White tallied 17 points on 6 of 11 shooting to go with 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Cameron Johnson was the only other Tar Heel in double figures with 13 points, and he led the team in assists with 7.
Brown Leading the Tigers
Auburn is led by Bryce Brown, who is averaging 15.9 points per game and is shooting 40.8% from 3-point range. He is followed by Jared Harper, who scores 15.3 points a game to go with 2.5 rebounds and a team-high 5.7 assists per game. Chuma Okeke tallies 11.8 points a game and is the leading rebounder with 6.7 per game. Austin Wiley and Samir Doughty chip in 7.3 and 7.2 points per game, respectively. Doughty is shooting 41.8% from deep. The Tigers are scoring 79.4 points per game on 44.9% shooting from the field.
The Tar Heels are led in scoring by Cameron Johnson, who is averaging 16.9 points a game and is shooting an outrageous 46.3% from 3-point range. He is followed by freshman superstar Coby White and senior Luke Maye, who average 16.1 and 14.9 points per game, respectively. White leads the team in assists with 4.1 a game and Maye leads the Tar Heels on the glass with 10.6 a game. Freshman Nassir Little averages 10 points and 4.7 rebounds each game. The Tar Heels are averaging 86.1 points per game on 46.4% shooting.
North Carolina comes in at -5.5. This game is going to be electric as both of these teams love to run and gun. This will be one of the highest scoring games of the tournament as neither team plays much defense and both of them are more interested in scoring the ball. North Carolina has a good mix of youth and experience, but Auburn has experienced guards that will give Coby White trouble. Also, Auburn is one of the hottest teams in the country and are shooting the ball extremely well. I think this will be a close game with Auburn having a chance to win outright. Take Auburn +5.5.
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