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The top-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels get started in the NCAA Tournament on Thursday at 2:45 p.m. Eastern against Wagner, which is coming off a win over Howard in the First Four on Tuesday. The Heels are massive favorites in this game, and the venue for this 1 vs. 16 battle — Charlottte’s Spectrum Center is just a couple hours’ drive from Chapel Hill — will not help the Seahawks’ upset hopes.

Here, we will break down the North Carolina vs Wagner odds and predictions.


Tar Heels fans have little reason to expect a close game on Thursday. That being said, every 1-seed in the tournament will be on alert after Purdue became just the second 1-seed to lose to a 16-seed in NCAA Tournament history a year ago. This veteran North Carolina team should have no problem on Thursday afternoon, as the experience of seniors RJ Davis and Armando Bacot should help UNC weather any adversity it may face.

Let’s get into the matchup and give our best North Carolina vs Wagner betting pick.

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North Carolina Tar Heels Betting Preview

The Heels have spent most of the year ranked in the top 10 for good reason. Davis is one of the best guards in the country, and in Bacot and fellow big man Harrison Ingram, UNC also boasts two formidable rebounders. Carolina’s speed in the backcourt — Davis and freshman Elliot Cadeau push the pace as well as anyone in the country — and its depth will test Wagner in a way no one else on the Seahawks’ schedule has to date.

UNC lost as a double-digit favorite to NC State in the ACC Tournament Championship game last Saturday night, but the Heels have taken care of business against their weaker opponents all season (with the exception of a loss to Georgia Tech in January), making a letdown on Thursday afternoon unlikely.

Wagner Seahawks Betting Preview

Wagner has played better than its record would indicate in recent weeks. The Seahawks jumped out to a big lead on Howard Tuesday night, then held on down the stretch for a 71-68 win. Wagner guard Melvin Council Jr. could be poised for another big performance against UNC after scoring 21 points against Howard. Still, it’s hard to see Wagner keeping pace with Carolina from start to finish on Thursday.

North Carolina vs Wagner Betting Trends

North Carolina Tar Heels

  • North Carolina is 5-5 ATS in its last 10 games.
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of North Carolina’s last 10 games.

Wagner Seahawks

  • Wagner is 5-5 ATS in its last 10 games.
  • The total has gone OVER in 3 of Wagner’s last 10 games.

North Carolina vs Wagner Predictions & Betting Pick

Wagner is red-hot, having won its conference tournament as the 6-seed in the NEC and upset Howard in Tuesday night’s play-in matchup in Dayton, Ohio. Council impressed in the win over the Bison, and he could cause the Heels some issues, but the Tar Heels should be able to wear down Wagner over 40 minutes.

Injuries have limited Wagner’s rotation to seven players, which makes a play on UNC covering the big spread tempting. We saw as recently as the ACC Tournament quarterfinals, when UNC blew out Florida State 92-67, that Carolina can pull away in a one-sided game, even after its starters head to the bench.

North Carolina vs Wagner Betting Picks: North Carolina (-22.5 at time of publishing)

North Carolina vs Wagner Injury Report


How to Watch North Carolina vs Wagner

  • Date: Thursday, March 21, 2024
  • Tip-Off: 2:45 p.m. ET
  • Location: Spectrum Center — Charlotte, NC
  • Where to Watch: CBS


About the Author
Tyler Everett

Tyler Everett

Tyler Everett has been a sports writer since joining the student newspaper at his alma mater, NC State, back in 2008. He's covered sports and sports business for a number of newspapers and websites, including the Denver Broncos, Charlotte Observer, High Press Soccer, and Sports Business Journal, where he currently works full-time.

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