The North Carolina Tar Heels will look to even the score with the Alabama Crimson Tide on Thursday when they meet in a 2024 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 showdown. The No. 1-seeded Tar Heels and No. 4-seeded Crimson Tide cruised through the first two rounds with a pair of blowout victories but that will likely change on Thursday. Last year, the clubs met in the Phil Knight Invitational and the Crimson Tide prevailed 103-101 in four overtimes. The loss impacted the resume of North Carolina, which failed to reach the NCAA Tournament last season. A revenge win would send the Tar Heels to the Elite Eight.

Tipoff is set for 9:39 p.m. ET from Arena in Los Angeles. The Tar Heels are 4.5-point favorites and the over/under for total points scored is 173.5 in the latest North Carolina vs. Alabama odds via SportsLine consensus. Before making any Alabama vs. North Carolina picks, you need to check out the college basketball analysis from the SportsLine Projection Model

The model simulates every Div. I college basketball game 10,000 times. It enters the Sweet 16 round of the 2024 NCAA tournament on a 152-109 roll on all top-rated college basketball picks dating back to last season, returning more than $1,800 for $100 players. It also has a strong 32-21 (+890) record on top-rated spread picks this season, and it called 13 Sweet 16 teams this year. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on UNC vs. Alabama and just locked in its March Madness predictions. You can visit SportsLine now to see the model's picks. Here are several college basketball odds and betting lines and trends for Alabama vs. UNC:

  • North Carolina vs. Alabama spread: UNC -4.5
  • North Carolina vs. Alabama over/under: 173.5
  • North Carolina vs. Alabama money line: UNC -199, Alabama +165
  • BAMA: The Crimson Tide are 3-1 ATS this season when playing on fewer days' rest than their opponent.
  • UNC: The Tar Heels are 8-4 ATS this season following four or more days off.
  • North Carolina vs. Alabama picks: See picks at SportsLine

Why North Carolina can cover

Although the Tar Heels are one of the top rebounding teams in the nation at nearly 41 boards per game, they sometimes still have to shake the reputation of being a finesse team that would rather win shootouts than exert physical dominance over its opponents. Coach Hubert Davis agreed with this assessment during the first half against Michigan State in which the Spartans, who are historically known for their grit, outworked the Tar Heels while leading for most of the first half.  

Davis said he lit into his team during a timeout and implored the Tar Heels to match Michigan State's intensity. Senior forward Armando Bacot led the way by muscling inside for high-percentage shots and rebounds, and his teammates followed his lead. North Carolina went on a 23-3 run to take control of the game. Bacot finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks against the Spartans. For the season, Bacot is averaging 14.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. See which team to back at SportsLine

Why Alabama can cover

Alabama got some good news when coach Nate Oats announced earlier this week that sharp-shooting junior Latrell Wrightsell will be available for Thursday's game after he left the contest against Grand Canyon with a head injury. Wrightsell, who is a transfer from Cal State Fullerton, missed four games earlier this season because of a concussion and also missed part of the Crimson Tide's NCAA Tournament opener against Charleston because of an injury. The junior had just two points in 11 minutes in the second round against Grand Canyon.

Wrightsell is averaging 9.3 points per game this season and his 44.3% accuracy from 3-point range is the best for any Alabama player who averages at least 20 minutes per game. He also has scored at least 19 points on five occasions this season. See which team to back at SportsLine

How to make Alabama vs. UNC picks

SportsLine's model is leaning Under on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 162 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits almost 70% of the time. You can see the picks only at SportsLine

So who wins UNC vs. Alabama, and which side of the spread hits nearly 70% of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the model on a 152-109 roll on its top-rated college basketball picks, and find out.