N.C. State is 'Home Sweet Home' in ACC Clash vs. Boston College

Rainman M.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 1:57 PM UTC

Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 1:57 PM UTC

North Carolina State is favored by 8 points in tonight's game against Boston College. Are the host Wolfpack being overvalued by oddsmakers?

Tuesday College Basketball: Boston College vs. N.C. StateFree NCAAB Pick: N.C. State -8Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Boston College (16-11 SU, 14-11 ATS) is showing its true colors in conference play. The Eagles were ranked 62nd in KenPom's offensive efficiency, but rank 10th in the category in conference play. One major reason BC struggles on offense is its lack of inside game; they rank eighth in the ACC in two-point shooting percentage. As a result, they rely much more heavily on the three-pointer against conference opponents with the second-highest proportion in the conference of threes attempted per field goals attempted. BC has the third-highest point distribution from three. Defensively,

North Carolina State (18-9 SU, 11-12 ATS) matches up well vs. Boston College because it boasts the top perimeter defense in the ACC in terms of proportion of three-point attempts allowed. Its upsets against Duke and Clemson provide two examples where the Wolfpack limited a strong three-point attack. Both teams attempted fewer threes than they normally like to and converted a lower-than-average percentage of those attempts. BC should provide no exception especially on the road, where its three-point shooting percentage drops from 36.94 overall to 32.68.

Another area of advantage for N.C. State is turnovers. The Wolfpack are 4-1 ATS in home ACC games when winning the turnover margin and 0-1 ATS when losing it. The Wolfpack rank third in the ACC in forcing turnovers. Guard Markell Johnson and Center Lennard Freeman rank in the top 200 in steal percentage. Conversely, BC ranks 12th in turnover percentage allowed because it averages about 15 turnovers against the ACC's top five teams in terms of forcing turnovers. Boston College's three most significant contributors average between 1.9 and 3.1 turnovers per game.

Turnovers provide one venue for N.C. State to score and its half-court offense provides another. Johnson leads the team with 7.8 assists per game and ranks fourth in assist rate. He is also dangerous as a scorer, shooting 44.8 percent from three in conference play, which is seventh-best. He is a major reason the Wolfpack's half-court offense ranks fourth in the ACC. Big men Torin Dorn and Omer Yurtseven excel around the rim and rank in the top 250 in two-point shooting percentage. With Johnson as a distributor and N.C. State's talented big men, the Wolfpack can amass points against BC's interior defense that ranks 11th in the ACC.

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While N.C. State's defense can take away BC's biggest strength on offense, it also can force turnovers to up the tempo and ignite its transition offense. N..C State is comfortable with tempo, ranking second in the ACC in adjusted tempo. Johnson will lead its half-court offense and especially take advantage of Dorn and Yurtseven inside.

The key trend tonight is that N.C. State is 3-0 ATS in its first home game after playing multiple games in a row away from home. The Wolfpack, big home favorites on the college basketball odds board, are consistently at their best when finally returning home.

BC backers might counter that the Eagles have an excellent ATS record in the past two years against schools from North Carolina because its top two contributors were from North Carolina and were overlooked by universities in that state. However, this trend is meaningful only for games at BC. The Eagles have failed to cover their past two games away from home against schools from North Carolina, both of which were blowouts. The Wolfpack will make it three in a row with our NCAAB picks.

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