NC St. -5 Our NCAA Basketball Pick As They Go All-Out When Hosting Northeastern

Willie Bee

Tuesday, December 29, 2015 1:38 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015 1:38 PM UTC

North Carolina State is a small home favorite on the NCAA basketball odds for Tuesday night when the Wolfpack host the Northeastern Huskies in their last match before ACC play begins. 

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: North Carolina State -5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes


Are you ready for some basketball? Mark Gottfried and the North Carolina State Wolfpack sure hope they are with a tough Atlantic Coast Conference schedule looming on the horizon.

They'll have to wait for that until we flip our calendars to 2016 later this week. Before we get to that part of the fixture, the Wolfpack looks to tune up for conference play with a Tuesday night matchup against the Northeastern Huskies. Both teams are taking the floor for the first time in seven days following their Christmas break, and the game is slated for 7 PM (ET) at Raleigh's PNC Arena, ESPN3 streaming the affair.

The NCAA basketball odds started with the Wolfpack favored by 6½, but the spread has dropped to -5 at 5Dimes while the total is sitting on 140.

It's the third get-together on the hardwood for these two schools, and NC State has won each of the two previous meetings. The most recent of those clashes came just about four years ago on this very floor where the Wolfpack easily covered an 11½ point spread with an 88-59 decision. The Huskies provided very little resistance to NC State shooters that evening, allowing the Wolfpack to penetrate for layups as well as connect on 11 of 20 attempts from beyond the arc. The final had just enough to get past a 143½ point total.

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Huskies Among Top 50 In 3-Point Shooting
Don't expect Northeastern (8-4 straight up, 4-5 against the spread) to be wowed by their opponents tonight after the Huskies already faced the top team in the country, Michigan State, 10 days ago and beat an ACC team on the road. Getting 16 at then-No. 15 Miami after Thanksgiving, Bill Coen's crew beat the 'Canes, 78-77, on Quincy Ford's buzzer beater.

The Huskies also managed to can 12 of their 22 shots from 3-point range in that game, Ford connecting on 5-of-10. They managed to hang tough in the first half at home against the Spartans a little more than a week ago, leading by six with under four minutes to play in the opening stanza. That's when it all turned around in Michigan State's favor as Northeastern couldn't find the bucket after that, converting just 37% of its field goals overall and only 2-of-16 outside the arc before losing by 20.

Ford and fellow senior David Walker are the primary scoring threats, Walker averaging nearly 20 a game to go with 3.7 assists per contest. Ford is netting 16.3 PPG along with a team-high 7.0 rebounds per game, and both are hitting more than 40% of their 3-point tries as they attempt to send NE back to the NCAA Tournament for a second consecutive year.


'Pack Won't Look Past This CAA Team
Just as Northeastern shouldn't be scared, North Carolina State (9-3 SU, 5-4 ATS) isn't likely to take a second team from the Colonial Athletic Association lightly. The Wolfpack opened against William & Mary burdened with 12½ point chalk on the college basketball odds, and the Tribe pasted an 85-68 upset on Gottfried & Co. in front of 16,000+ stunned NC State fans.

The 'Pack have dropped just two games by a combined 10 points since then, winning five in a row since a tough loss at home to Michigan to begin December.

They might have been thinking too much about their holiday vacation the last time out, putting forth a rather lackluster effort in a 58-52 triumph vs. UNC-Greensboro. North Carolina State was favored by 17, and needed an all-out, 40-minute performance by Anthony 'Cat' Barber to escape a potential upset. Barber, the nation's 12-th leading scorer (22.6 ppg) scored 27 against the Spartans, and the Wolfpack left 13 points at the charity stripe.

My gut tells me Gottfried will light a fire under his squad and have them go all-out in this one, which is why my free NCAA basketball pick is on the Wolfpack.

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