The North Carolina State Wolfpack have pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the NCAA tournament. They are the only team that has beaten a No. 1 seed so far. Can they keep everything going in their college basketball betting matchup with the Louisville Cardinals?
The North Carolina State Wolfpack Can Win Because…
Their defense was simply outstanding against Villanova on Saturday. North Carolina State limited Villanova to 31 percent field goal shooting. More than that, the Wolfpack were extremely effective when taking into account the fact that one Villanova player, Darrun Hilliard, was making very long shots for much of the game; which is something you should consider when looking at the NCAA Tournament odds. Hillard hit some shots six or seven feet behind the three-point arc, the kinds of shots a defense doesn’t expect an offensive player to hit. Other than Hilliard, though, Villanova made just 11 shots on 43 attempts, barely better than 25 percent from the field. Minus Hillard’s six three-pointers in 10 attempts, Villanova hit just 3 of 18 three-point shots, which is just under 17 percent. North Carolina State put on a defensive clinic. It limited Villanova to so few made shots that the Wildcats weren’t able to accumulate many assists. North Carolina State held Villanova to just seven assists. This team really couldn’t have played any better on defense. Lennard Freeman and Abdul-Malik Abu were able to hold down the fort inside, grabbing 12 rebounds apiece, most of them on defense. North Carolina State was able to get a defensive stop whenever it needed one, and that kind of consistency bodes well for the Wolfpack against a Louisville team that has struggled for the better balance of the season and is without Chris Jones, a point guard who was kicked off the team for various off-court problems. That absence of Jones makes Louisville a little more vulnerable in this game.
The Louisville Cardinals Can Win Because…
Their coach is excellent at this stage of the NCAA Tournament. Rick Pitino is 11-1 all-time in NCAA tournament Sweet 16 games. He is great at taking three or four days of preparation and looking at the right game plan to use when the Cardinals get to the regionals and the pressure of the event gets higher. Pitino has taken three schools to the Final Four (Providence, Kentucky and Louisville), giving himself a unique place among other college basketball coaches. He is the kind of guy a bettor will look at and say, “I think I should trust him.”
One thing Pitino has done well is that he has developed freshman guard Quentin Snider, the man who has had to step into the lineup after Chris Jones went down. On Sunday against Northern Iowa in this tournament, Snider was able to limit himself to just one turnover in 35 minutes of action. That’s a quietly great performance. Snider scored only 10 points, but he played efficient basketball and put Louisville in position to succeed. If Snider holds up against North Carolina State’s pressure, the Cardinals should be fine.
The Rick Pitino way of winning in the Sweet 16 is one of those betting trends that’s hard to ignore. Take Louisville with your NCAA tournament picks when you get to make your choice.
NCAA Tournament Pick: Louisville -2.5 from Bet365