Marquette Golden Eagles -1.5 (9-2) at North Carolina State Wolfpack +1.5 (7-1)
RBC Center, Raleigh, N.C., 7:00PM Eastern, Monday
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Two of the biggest basketball conferences in the nation collide when the Big East of Marquette take the floor with the ACC in North Carolina State. These two conferences make up the top 4 of 6 teams in America and this game will highlight two quality teams from both sides. Marquette was ranked number 24 in the AP Polls last week, but with a loss to Tennessee they will most likely be on the outside looking in. North Carolina State is off to a fast 7-1 start with their only loss coming from Davidson. These two teams are both reaching the point in the season where the schedule is about to get tough and they would love to get the out of conference wins especially against their biggest rival conference.
Marquette had a tough outing a week ago when the fell to Tennessee 80-68. The Golden Eagles bounced back last Friday night with a 94-77 victory over West Carolina. The Golden Eagles will be very focused in this game and they definitely do not want to drop a 2nd game in 7 days. Marquette has been one of the better scoring teams in America this season. The Golden Eagles rank 16th in the nation in overall scoring offense averaging 82 points per game. Marquette is also averaging around 37 rebounds per game ranking them in the top 50 teams out of the 300+ teams of college basketball. The Golden Eagles will try to move the ball up and down the court in hope to score some open court baskets. Marquette must be able to shoot the ball from the perimeter in this match-up considering the NC State big men have dominated the boards so far this season.
The Wolfpack are averaging 39 rebounds per game this season placing them as 17th best team in the land in controlling the boards. North Carolina State plays a bit slower offense than Marquette and they will try to slow down the Golden Eagles. The Wolfpack have played solid defense this season as they have only allowed opposing teams to shoot 35% from the floor against them. The field goal percentage against ranks the Wolfpack as the 6th best in college basketball. North Carolina has held opposing teams to only 57 points per game placing them as the top 30 teams in scoring defense. However, the Wolfpack will likely face off with a much more talented team than they have been accustomed to playing this season. Will the Wolfpack be able to keep up the strong defense against a high scoring team?
Bookies opened the betting line favoring the Marquette Golden Eagles by a single basket at -2 points. Betting odds ATS stand at -110 for both teams while the over/under line have not been released at time of print. Early action shows that the betting public will be favoring Marquette ATS in this game while NC State will be playing as the slightest underdog.
North Carolina State has 3 men averaging over 10 points per game this season. The Wolfpack have been led by the big 69 forward Ben McCauley. McCauley is averaging 15.3 points per game this season and a strong 9 rebounds. McCauley nearly averages a double-double and he will be looking to have a big game for the Wolfpack. Forward Brandon Costner has been strong this season as well averaging 13 points and 8 rebounds. These two star players are nearly averaging 20 rebounds between them and they will look to control the boards against the Golden Eagles. The North Carolina State bench could play an important factor as well as they are averaging 25 points per game compared to only 16 points for Marquette. The Wolfpack will have their chance to prove their national status when they take on the Golden Eagles in this big out of conference affair.
Marquette is shooting 46% from the floor this season and they will try to make the nylon net dance throughout the night. The Golden Eagles have one of the best back courts in the nation in seniors Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews. Matthews ranks 33rd individually in scoring for the nation draining 20.4 points per game. Matthews is shooting 49% from the floor and 36% from behind the arc. Matthews could play an important role in spreading the floor and keeping the NC State big men on their hills. McNeal is also averaging a stout 17 points per game while shooting an amazing 44% from 3 point range.
Marquette will look to hit some outside shots and force North Carolina State to score at a faster pace than they are accustomed to scoring. The Golden Eagles get their chance to bounce back after playing a quality opponent in Tennessee with a solid win on Monday night against North Carolina State.
Marquette is 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 games since starting the year 3-0 ATS. The Golden Eagles only total recorded went on the under side against the Volunteers. NC State is 3-1 ATS in their last 4 games against the books and will be trying for their 4th victory in a row.
Jays Pick – North Carolina State uses it’s homecourt advantage
to beat the better team.