NCAA Basketball Pick: Wake Forest vs. NC State

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 5:00 AM UTC

Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 5:00 AM UTC

The NC State Wolfpack are trying to win for the fifth time in six games before beginning a difficult stretch in their schedule as they host Wake Forest on Tuesday.

Home cooking could make a big difference in an ACC matchup on Tuesday night when the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (14-9, 1-5 away) pay a visit to the NC State Wolfpack (15-8, 11-4 home) at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC at 7:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has NC State as a home favorite for this contest with the current line at -6 with odds of -106.

NC State was not off to the best of starts this season, as it stood at 11-7 overall but just 1-4 inside the ACC following a blowout loss at Duke January 18th, but the Wolfpack have turned things around nicely since then by winning four of their last five games to improve to 15-8 overall and 5-5 in the conference, and this winnable game is a big one for a Wolfpack team that plays four of its next six games on the road including difficult trips to Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

Wake Forest may be exceeding overall expectations to this point at 14-9 with a very young team that relies heavily on four sophomores, but the Demon Deacons have dropped three straight games to drop to 10th place in the ACC with a 4-6 conference mark, and this losing streak includes their first two home losses of the year.

Speaking of sophomores, the Wolfpack have a hot one themselves in the leading scorer in the ACC, T.J. Warren, who is averaging 22.6 points per game to go along with 7.6 rebounds and he has now scored at least 20 points in six straight games played, a stretch interrupted only by missing a 65-56 win vs. Maryland with a sprained ankle. Thanks mainly to Warren’s exploits NC State is ranked 92nd in the country in offensive efficiency and 74th in two-point shooting.

And the Wolfpack should be able to work for whatever shot they want unencumbered here at home. That is because NC State has done an excellent job of protecting the basketball, ranking 61st in the country in offensive turnover percentage at just 16.5 percent compared to a national average of 18.5 percent, and Wake Forest applies no pressure, ranking 284th in defensive turnover percentage at 16.6 percent.

Most of Wake Forest’s success had come at home prior to its current three-game skid, as the Demon Deacons began 12-0 and are still 12-2 in Winston-Salem. However, typical for a young team, the Deacons have not been able to bring that success on the road with them all year as they are just 1-5 in true road games with the win coming at a Virginia Tech team that is currently ranked 208th on the Pomeroy Ratings.

This trip is much tougher and Wale Forest comes in on its first three-game losing streak of the season, which is not a good omen as the youngsters could be hitting a bit of a wall, especially with two recent home losses. And the Demon Deacons are averaging only 61.3 points in all road games this season on just 41.3 percent shooting while losing those games by an average of -12.5 points.

Conversely NC State is shooting a blistering 48.2 percent while averaging 74.2 points at home, so look for the Wolfpack to pull away to a safe home win on Tuesday.


NCAA Basketball Pick: NC State -6 (-106)

comment here