North Carolina is safely through to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. However, the Tar Heels will be on high alert with the pending matchup against Michigan State.

In Thursday’s opening round action, UNC rolled past Wagner with a dominant inside-out performance from Armando Bacot and RJ Davis. Bacot delivered a double-double while Davis lit things up while shooting 4-for-7 from 3-point range.

For Michigan State, the Spartans downed Mississippi State with Jaden Akins stepping up as an X-factor performance. Michigan State also clamped down defensively against the Bulldogs in a 69-51 win.

Now, the two marquee programs line up for another meeting in March Madness with UNC currently a 4-point favorite per DraftKings. That line illustrates a scary trend for the 1-seeded Tar Heels.

According to Chris “The Bear” Fallica with FOX Sports, there have been 7 previous instances of a 1-seed being favored by 4 points or fewer in a second-round game since 1985. 5 of those previous 1-seeds lost outright and just 1 of the 7 (Missouri in 1994) covered.

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Kansas, the 1-seed in the West Region last year, filled that role against 8-seed Arkansas. The Razorbacks delivered a massive second half to upset the Jayhawks 72-71 to advance to the Sweet 16.

Should UNC be worried?

Over at ESPN Bet, the Tar Heels are favored by an even slimmer margin as a 3.5-point favorite as of Friday. The point total is set at 140.5 points, and fans can track all the line movement with SDS’s North Carolina sports betting links and apps.

Ultimately, there is a necessary cause for caution as the Tar Heels prepare to face Michigan State and March legend Tom Izzo. In the opening victory for the Spartans, Izzo improved his own NCAA Tournament record to 17 career wins as a lower seeded team in the Big Dance.

During last year’s tournament, the Spartans delivered a second-round win against 2-seeded Marquette as the 7-seed in the East Region. Michigan State nearly delivered another upset against 3-seed Kansas State before losing in overtime during one of the absolute gems of the tournament.

However, this year is not last year, and things are not destined to go the same way, even with Izzo leading the Spartans.

On the KenPom system, the two teams compare similarly in adjusted defensive efficiency. The Spartans are 6th nationally in that metric while the Tar Heels are 7th. Offensively, the Tar Heels are given a big advantage with the 19th offense per KenPom while the Spartans are ranked 52nd.

Through that lens, a line of 4 points feels low for the Tar Heels with Amando Bacot poised to take advantage of Michigan State’s big men. RJ Davis is also a legitimate star while Harrison Ingram has the chance to pose a matchup problem for the Spartans.

Izzo is the great equalizer in these types of games, but UNC has dominated the head-to-head series historically. The Tar Heels are 12-4 all-time against the Spartans including an average margin of victory of 7.6 points.

Will history hold true on Saturday, or will Izzo dial up more March mastery? Tipoff is set for 5:20 p.m. ET on CBS.