North Carolina has a deep connection to NCAA basketball. As March Madness approaches, especially with the launch of North Carolina sports betting, Tar Heel State sports fans are turning their attention to betting on this year’s tournament. Could a team from North Carolina be this year’s Cinderella squad?

With powerhouses like the UNC Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils, plus mid-major teams like Davidson, UNC-Wilmington, and UNC-Asheville, North Carolina universities have contributed their share of March Madness thrills over the years. North Carolina sports betting apps make it easier than ever for fans to get in on the action.

Tracking North Carolina’s History of Double-Digit Seeds in the Sweet 16

Three times this century, a double-digit seed from North Carolina has busted brackets and made it to the Sweet 16:

2005 – The late coach Herb Sendek led the 10th-seeded NC State Wolfpack to the Sweet 16 before eventually falling to the North Carolina Tar Heels.

2008 – Stephen Curry and the 10th-seeded Davidson Wildcats captivated the nation with a run to the Elite 8. Curry poured in 40 points to lead Davidson over 7th-seeded Gonzaga in the first round. The future NBA superstar then dropped 30 on 2nd-seeded Georgetown and 33 against Wisconsin to reach the regional final.

2012 – Coach Mark Gottfried guided 11th-seeded NC State back to the Sweet 16. They upset 6th-seeded San Diego State and 3rd-seeded Georgetown before losing a close one to 2nd-seeded Kansas.

Where Does North Carolina Rank for Cinderella Runs?

With three Sweet 16 appearances, North Carolina is tied for third among all states in producing Cinderella squads since 2000. Only Ohio (5), California (4), New York (4), and Washington (4) have more.

And North Carolina sportsbooks offer plenty of opportunities to bet on this year’s tournament sleepers. The BetMGM North Carolina bonus code can score new players a $1,000 risk-free bet and access to odds boosts.

Naming This Year’s Potential North Carolina Cinderella Stories

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi currently projects five North Carolina colleges as double-digit seeds in his 2024 NCAA Tournament bracket:

  • 16th-seeded North Carolina Central
  • 12th-seeded Appalachian State
  • 13th-seeded UNC Wilmington
  • 15th-seeded High Point

If one of these squads catches fire at the right time, North Carolina could add another thrilling underdog run to its March Madness legacy.

Duke and UNC Comfortably In the Field

While the smaller North Carolina schools look to claim Cinderella status, the two titans of Tar Heel State hoops are safely projected as single-digit seeds.

Lunardi’s bracket lists Duke as a 4th seed and North Carolina as a 2nd seed. So while one of the little guys could emerge from the First Four play-in games to become a surprise story, expect the Blue Devils and Heels to be fixtures deep into the second week of March Madness.

And their legions of diehard fans will have ample opportunity to bet on Final Four runs thanks to the recent launch of North Carolina sports betting. In addition to BetMGM, FanDuel North Carolina also offers a lively mobile sportsbook app complete with ongoing odds boosts.

Wake Forest On the NCAA Tournament Bubble

While Duke and UNC are virtual locks to make the Big Dance, Wake Forest remains squarely on the bubble according to most bracket projections.

Lunardi currently has the Demon Deacons as the first team left out of March Madness as the 69th team under consideration. So Danny Manning’s squad still has work left to ensure it’ll join its Tobacco Road rivals with a chance to compete for the national championship.

If Wake Forest misses the cut, the ACC would only qualify 5 teams for March Madness this year. That would mark a steep decline for a conference that set a record by sending 9 programs to the Big Dance last year.

The Road to the 2024 Final Four Runs Through North Carolina

Regardless of how the bubble shakes out, March Madness will still showcase North Carolina’s passion for college basketball.

With perennial contenders at Duke and UNC, emerging mid-majors like UNCW and North Carolina Central, and the potential for another surprise star like Steph Curry emerging, the Tar Heel State figures to play a major role in this year’s bracket.

And for the first time, fans can legally bet on all the Madness. The launch of North Carolina sports betting couldn’t have come at a better time.

✅ Updated on February 24, 2024 by Frank Sutton