NCAA Basketball Picks: Pittsburgh vs. NC State in ACC Tournament Betting

David Lawrence

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 11:20 AM GMT

The North Carolina State Wolfpack are going to make the NCAA tournament, but if they lose to the Pittsburgh Panthers in the second round of the ACC tournament, they are going to lose at least one seeding position if not two. The Wolfpack are favored on the NCAA betting lines in this spot.

The Pittsburgh Panthers Can Win Because…
If Pittsburgh is going to beat North Carolina State, the Panthers have to take advantage of several of the Wolfpack’s weaknesses. North Carolina State is one of the four worst teams in the ACC in two-point field goal shooting. North Carolina State is next to last in the ACC in assists per game. The Wolfpack are also next to last in turnovers forced per game. Coach Mark Gottfried’s team, as the stats show, relies too much on the three-point shot, and it’s a team that tends to play one-on-one ball. It’s also a team that depends on opponents missing shots, because it doesn’t create defensive stops by way of forcing turnovers.

Pittsburgh needs to play to its strengths. One is precisely where North Carolina State is weak. Pittsburgh is third in the ACC in turnovers per game, committing only 9.5. That’s a very low number. Pittsburgh can win this game by collecting a lot more possessions than North Carolina State does. The Panthers are also second in the ACC and eighth in the country in assists per game, with 16.5. In terms of controlling the ball, the Panthers are excellent. This will give them a chance in every game they play. Even a slightly above average shooting performance from Pittsburgh will dramatically improve this team’s chances of covering and then winning the game outright.

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The North Carolina State Wolfpack Can Win Because…
North Carolina State is fifth in the 15-team ACC in three-point shooting, hitting 36.3 percent of its long-distance shots. This team is also sixth in the ACC in points per possession, scoring 1.055 points each time down the floor on offense. The turnover issue is a problem for N.C. State, but while this team doesn’t force a lot of turnovers on defense, it is second in the ACC in two-point field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to hit only 42.9 percent of their two-point shots. This team is also first in the ACC and number 11 in the country in blocked shots per game, with 5.5 per game. Beejay Anya averages 2.7 blocked shots per game for the Wolfpack.

North Carolina State is also in good shape because Pittsburgh just doesn’t defend very well. The Panthers are 11th in the ACC in two-point field goal percentage defense. They’re allowing opponents to hit 49 percent of their twos. The Panthers are last in the ACC in three-point field goal defense, allowing opponents to hit 35.2 percent of their threes. They’re also next to last in the ACC in blocked shots per game.

Outlook
In the final analysis, while Pitt probably won’t commit many turnovers, it won’t play defense well enough to win this game. Take North Carolina State with your NCAA Basketball picks.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: NC State -3.5 at 5Dimes