NCAA Tournament Picks: LSU vs. North Carolina State

David Lawrence

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 11:11 AM GMT

The LSU Tigers are a hard team to figure out. The North Carolina State Wolfpack are a hard team to figure out. This game is going to be a hard game to figure out for college basketball betting cappers.

The LSU Tigers Can Win Because…
Their upside is as high as their downside is low. With LSU, you either get something really great or really terrible, with very little in between. LSU is the team that came the closest to beating Kentucky this season, losing by only two points at home. LSU is the team that won at Arkansas, the second best team in the Southeastern Conference. LSU scored one of the best non-Kentucky SEC wins of the whole college basketball season when it won at West Virginia in the non-conference part of the season. That’s a kind of win few other SEC teams (outside of Kentucky) were able to pull off. LSU has Jerell Martin and Jordan Mickey, two very powerful, tall, and agile post players. They are going to be matchup problems for Beejay Anya, Abdul-Malik Abu, Caleb Martin, and the rest of North Carolina State’s frontcourt. The Wolfpack might not be able to handle what Martin and Mickey can offer, so keep this in mind when looking over the NCAA Tournament odds.

LSU also has Keith Hornsby, a clutch shooter and 13.6-points-per-game scorer. Josh Gray is a breakdown point guard who can get into the lane with the dribble and draw defenses before making passes to teammates. Jalyn Patterson is erratic, but when he’s on, he’s a shooter with unlimited range who can quickly cause a defense to overextend and create a lot more space for the likes of Martin and Mickey. Tim Quarterman is a capable scorer who averages just over 11 points per game. There’s a ton of talent on this team. It could easily outplay North Carolina State – it’s just a matter of putting the talent together.

 

The North Carolina State Wolfpack Can Win Because…
They are extremely talented as well. Even without T.J. Warren – who was drafted last year by the Phoenix Suns – North Carolina State not only made the NCAA Tournament. It improved its seeding by four slots. It was a number 12 seed last season, and it is now a number eight seed this season. Trevor Lacey is a transfer from Alabama, the program where North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried used to work. (Lacey was not an Alabama player when Gottfried was coaching at Alabama.) Lacey averages just over 15 points per game and has been making important contributions to the Wolfpack all season long. The quickness of guard Cat Barber – who averages 3.8 assists per game – gives North Carolina State the ability to attack defenses on the dribble and get individual defenders out of position. Ralston Turner is a very dangerous perimeter shooter who averages over 13 points per game. North Carolina State has multiple scoring options for the ends of games, and that’s why this team has a very high ceiling for a number eight seed.   

 

Outlook
These two teams are both talented and both volatile. Whoever wins will face the winner of Lafayette vs. Villanova. It’s hard to know which team will show up in this game. LSU, having just lost to Auburn in the SEC tournament, probably deserves less respect. North Carolina State is the NCAA Tournament pick here.

NCAA Basketball Pick: North Carolina State -2.5 at Bodog