Defensive Prowess Makes Louisville -6 The NCAA Basketball Pick vs. NC State

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, January 7, 2016 6:29 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016 6:29 PM UTC

Our NCAA Basketball analyst provides us with a betting preview on Thursday's nationally televised contest between Louisville and NC State and offers an NCAA Basketball pick.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Play on Louisville -6 (-105)

Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes


Thursday ACC Battle in Raleigh
North Carolina State will host Louisville on Thursday in an ACC matchup in Raleigh. The opening tip is slated for 7:00 PM ET, and it will be aired on ESPN2. Current (1:00 PM ET) NCAA Basketball odds at BetCRIS indicates that Louisville is a 6.0 point favorite. This will be a rematch of a 2015 “Sweet 16” encounter that saw Louisville come away with a 75-68 win. These teams also met once during regular season play, and NC State pulled off a stunning 74-65 win as a 10.5 point underdog at Freedom Hall in Louisville.


Defense Reigns Supreme at Louisville
In what has been the case annually since Rick Pitino arrived as head coach, Louisville is once again one of the best defensive teams in the country. The Cardinals have held opponents to an average of only 57.4 points per game, and also limited them to a paltry 36.3% shooting from the field this season. Their only two losses this season came at #5 Michigan State by 4 and at #9 Kentucky by 2.


The Jury is Undecided
It’s been difficult for me to get a gauge on this NC State team this season. In their previous game they lost its ACC opener at Virginia Tech which snapped a four game win streak. However, three of those wins in that recent streak came at home in unimpressive fashion, defeating UNC-Greensboro by 6, High Point by 3, and Northeastern by 6. On a positive note, they possess a genuine star in “Cat Barbers” who leads the ACC by averaging 22.9 points per game. However, in two games versus Louisville last season, Barber went a dismal 8-for-29 (27.6%) shooting from the field.


Final Take and Pick
NC State has struggled offensively during their last five games, shooting a poor 40% from the floor. That doesn’t bode well when facing an opponent that has the defensive prowess like Louisville possesses. I hate laying points on the road, but there’s an exception to every rule. This will be one of those rare cases. I’ll have a very small lean toward the road favorite with my NCAA Basketball picks in this contest.

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