Pittsburgh Panthers the NCAA Basketball Pick vs. NC State

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 4:10 PM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Wednesday.

 

The underdogs look to hold value Wednesday in the first game of the night portion in the second round of the ACC Tournament when those 10th seeded Pittsburgh Panthers (19-13, 5-10 away/neutral) take on the seventh seeded NC State Wolfpack (19-12, 5-6 away/neutral) at Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC at 7:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN2.

The point spread at Bet365 has Pittsburgh as a moderate underdog for this contest with the current line at +3 with odds of -110.


Different Endings to the Season
Although these teams have similar overall records, they could not have ended the season any differently. NC State finished the year strong winning five of its last six games, and that streak began immediately after playing then second ranked Virginia tough in a 51-47 loss. Thus the Wolfpack earned the seventh seed by finishing 10-8 inside the ACC.

Conversely Pittsburgh went from being a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament to being out as of now by being the losing NCAA Basketball pick in its last three games to drop to the 10-seed with an 8-10 conference mark. More disconcerting was the competition the Panthers lost to in those last three games, losing on the road to a Wake Forest team ranked 124th on the Pomeroy Ratings and to 103rd ranked Florida State, as well as at home to 54th ranked Miami-Florida.


NC State Probably in NCAA Tournament Already
NC State probably does not have any concerns about making the NCAA Tournament, as most experts agree that late-season surge took the Wolfpack off of the tournament bubble and now has them rather safely in regardless of what happens this week in this ACC Tournament. After all, besides finishing 10-8 in a power conference, NC State also owns a home win over Duke and a road win at North Carolina.

However, the Wolfpack being almost assured of an NCAA bid can also work against them here as it could mean they will not play with the same sense of urgency as Pittsburgh. That is what makes wagering on conference tournaments so tricky, because many times motivation trumps talent and sometimes the better teams assured of NCAA berths are not even that upset if they lose early, as it means they could avoid playing so many consecutive days in these tournaments.

And yes, the ACC Tournament is one of those tournaments that have no days off.

Also it is not as if the Wolfpack are a team without any flaws, the most glaring of which is not applying much pressure defensively. NC State is 336th in the country out of 351 Division I teams in defensive turnover percentage at 15.7 percent vs. a national average of 19.2 percent, and the Wolfpack are 13th in the ACC in that category during conference play.


Pittsburgh Can Run its Offense
That lack of pressure has added significance here because the Panthers are simultaneously excellent at protecting the basketball, ranking 11th in the entire country in offensive turnover percentage at just 15.6 percent, a figure that shrinks to an outstanding 14.7 percent during ACC play! That means that Pittsburgh should virtually be able to run its offense unencumbered here, and that is dangerous for a team that is ranked 27th in the country in offensive efficiency.

And it is not as if the Panthers are not a good team when they play are their normal level either, as their ugly three-game stretch to end the regular season was preceded by wins over the likes of North Carolina and Notre Dame, a couple of teams ranked above 36th ranked NC State on the Pomeroy Ratings.

Now, we are just not sure what then happened over those last three games, but Pittsburgh now knows that it will have to make a deep run in this tournament perhaps all the way to the championship game to get back on the bubble at least, although obviously winning that championship would remove all NCAA doubts. That added motivation that NC State does not have just might propel Pittsburgh to an outright upset.


Wolfpack Won Easy in Regular Season
Finally, NC State did win the lone regular season meeting between these teams easily 68-50. But that was way back on January 3rd and it came at home in Raleigh, with the Panthers not having the motivational edge that they appear to have for this game.

With all of this in mind, take the points with Pittsburgh in this rematch with NC State as the Panthers look to start an ACC Tournament run on Wednesday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Pittsburgh +3 (-110)