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The Daily Tar Heel
From the Press Box

Sweet 16 predictions: UNC vs. Marquette

	<p>Harrison Barnes has tallied 46 points and 18 rebounds in his first two <span class="caps">NCAA</span> tournament games.</p>
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Harrison Barnes has tallied 46 points and 18 rebounds in his first two NCAA tournament games.

Tonight’s game is shaping up to be quite the match between the Marquette Golden Eagles and UNC’s Tar Heels. Here are our predictions:

Backcourt
The matchup between UNC shooting guard Dexter Strickland and Marquette’s leading scorer Darius Johnson-Odom could be crucial. Strickland was able to hold prolific Washington guard Isaiah Thomas II to 33-percent shooting, but DJO has been too much to handle lately. Edge: Marquette

Frontcourt
The Marquette frontcourt is led by small forward Jimmy Butler, who ranked in the top 20 of the Big East in scoring, rebounding and steals. But UNC has Harrison Barnes to match him and a pair of All-ACC big men. Expect Mssrs. Zeller and Henson to get their grown men on. Edge: UNC

Bench
The UNC bench scored five of the team’s 86 points against U-Dub. If the Tar Heels are going to be successful in this one, they’re either going to need better production or hope their starters stay out of foul trouble. If only they had a back-up point guard somewhere… Edge: MU

Intangibles
Time and again, UNC has found a way to win close games all season. Marquette, on the other hand, is 3-7 in games decided by five points or fewer. The Golden Eagles will hold on tight, but it says here their title run gets stuck in the mud somewhere in the swamps of Jersey. Edge: UNC

The Bottom Line — North Carolina 79, Marquette 77

What are your predictions? Comment below to share.

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