North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. Arizona Wildcats Preview and Pick – Point Spread

North Carolina State Wolfpack (8-2 6-4) vs. Arizona Wildcats (5-5 3-4-1 ATS) cKale Center, Tucson, AZ 10:30 PM EST Wednesday December 23, 2009 on FSN
by Jason Green at

Point Spread: Wolfpack +5 / Wildcats -5
Over/Under: 131

In a match up of 2 unranked teams in the desert tonight the Arizona Wildcats host the North Carolina State Wolfpack. Things have not started out well for Arizona to say the least, as they are only at .500 and have lost 4 of their last 6 games. They are having trouble on defense allowing opponents to score an average of 72 points per game. The Wildcats need to start winning and get some confidence before they head into Pac 10 play.

NC State is coming off a loss to Wake Forest, but the Wolfpack had won their previous 3 games. They are not a very high scoring team, but they are winning with defense only allowing opponents to score an average of 60.5 points per game. They have a great frontcourt with 2 forwards averaging at least 14 ppg. If the Wolfpack can win this game they may slip into the top 25.

This season Arizona is 4-1 at home and NC State is 1-1 in away games.

NC State lost to Wake Forrest 67-59 on Sunday. The Wolfpack were ice cold shooting in the game with a FG% of only 33.9% and they only hit on 6 of 21 of their 3-pt attempts. Wake, pretty much, took it to the Wildcats, as they had more rebounds, assists, steals, and fewer turnovers. Forwards Tracy Smith and Dennis Horner, who are NC State’s leading scorers only combined for 19 points on 7/20 shooting. The Wolfpack were underdogs by 8.5 points so they did cover the spread.

In their last game Arizona needed a 3-pt bomb in OT to avoid the big upset against Lipscomb, who? The Wildcats shot well in the game, but the reason they almost lost was their defense. They allowed Lipscomb to shoot just under 49% from the floor and over 40% from beyond the 3-pt arc. Luckily the Wildcats forced 19 turnovers in the game, but they had fewer rebounds and assists in the game.

Forwards Tracy Smith (17.6 ppg) and Dennis Horner (14.3 ppg) will have good games both scoring and rebounding, as the Wildcats do not have a lot of size and their biggest starter is only 6’7″.

Look for G Javier Gonzalez (10.9 ppg) to have a good game since the Wildcats will drop down in the lane so they do not get killed inside.

Arizona G Nic Wise (17 ppg) is a quick 5′ 10″ guard, but he will be guarded by 5″11″ Gonzalez so he may have trouble scoring tonight and slashing into the lane.

The Wildcats need forward Derrick Williams (6.4 rpg) and Jamelle Horne (8.1 rpg) to control the glass tonight, but that will not happen, as they simply do not have the size to math up with the Wolfpack.

The Wildcats will have to get out and run to win this game, but the Wolfpack will be able to slow the pace of the game and make this a half-court game.

Every decent team that Arizona has faced this year they have lost and that trend will continue tonight.

Look for Arizona’s offense to continue to struggle tonight against a solid NC State defensive team. The Wildcats needed a late 3 to beat Lipscomb University, where the hell are they from, and the only scored 46 points to San Diego State in their previous game, which they lost.

The Wildcats are a young team that is searching for an identity and their youth and inexperience will show in this game.

Jason’s Pick: The Wildcats will be at home in this game, but they will not be able to deal with the forwards that the Wolfpack have. Arizona will lose the battle of the boards and they will not be able to get out and run and that will kill them. Look for Arizona’s struggles to continue, as the Wolfpack win this game in a minor upset. Take NC State and the points.