NCAA Tournament Pick for LSU vs. NC State

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, March 19, 2015 1:41 PM GMT

Thursday, Mar. 19, 2015 1:41 PM GMT

LSU and NC State will meet at the CONSOL Arena in Pittsburgh, and our expert handicapper previews this match while also giving you his NCAA Tournament pick at no cost!

LSU (9) vs. NC State (8) 9:20 ET TBS
At 9:20 pm ET, LSU and NC State will meet at the CONSOL Arena in Pittsburgh, PA for a First Round NCAA Tournament matchup.  There is a clear advantage in strength of schedule for an NC State team, who faced the big boys of the ACC on a consistent basis. Meanwhile, LSU’s schedule (excluding Kentucky) was dotted with the mediocrity that characterized the SEC this year. NC State finished the regular season with nice momentum in going 5-1 ATS, including victories at Louisville (74-65) and at N. Carolina (58-46). Though Duke got revenge for an earlier NC State victory in the ACC Conference Tourney, the Tar Heels are still playing their best ball of the season.  I like their talented trio of guards to key this victory.

 

Longtime followers know my fondness for 3rd year LSU HC Johnny Jones, who has returned to his Alma Mater to continue his excellence in the role of road dog.  A regular season current run of 6-2 ATS as road dog on the NCAA tournament odds confirms that thinking. This is a solid team with Mickey and Martin inside, Quarterman on the wing and shooting guard Keith Hornsby.  But, there are issues.  The point guard slot has never been adequately filled by either JUCO Gray or frosh Patterson, leading to an average of 14.6 TOs per game. Of greater concern is the shoulder injury to Mickey, which has left him inefficient in late-season play.  He scored just 1 point in 16 minutes in the Tigers’ (73-70) loss to Auburn in the CCT. Though Mickey is scheduled to make post for this contest, it is doubtful he will be playing at 100% of his ability. 

 

That leaves a preference for an NC State team, who has had 4 consecutive 20-win seasons under the guidance of 4th year HC Marc     Gottfried.  The backcourt edge is resounding with LSU transfer, Turner, Alabama transfer, Lacey and Cat Barber, who outscored Pitt on his own ball in the first half of an 81-70 victory vs. the Panthers.  The offensive highlights often steal the show for the Wolfpack. But, they have quietly become a solid defensive team, allowing just 40% from the field and 33% from the arc against rugged ACC competition.  

 

With wins vs. N. Carolina and Louisville (both on the road) and Duke, the Wolfpack has enough to survive and advance against this flawed challenger, and keep in mind that whoever wins will face the winner of Lafayette vs. Villanova. Strength of schedule and superior guard play are the key reasons for this victory, so add NC State to you NCAA Tournament picks.

NCAA Tournament Pick: NC State -2  at Bodog

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