2015 NCAA Tournament
East Region Third Round
#1 Villanova Wildcats vs #8 North Carolina State Wolfpack
Consol Energy Center – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Saturday, March 21, 2015, 7:10 pm Eastern, TV: TBS
Opening Line: Villanova -10
Current Line: Villanova -9 1/2
Opening Total: 138 1/2
Current Total: 139
Opening Money Line: Villanova -500 / NC State +400
Current Money Line: Villanova -500 / NC State +400
The 33-2 Villanova Wildcats have won 16 straight games and haven’t lost since January 19. The #1 seed Wildcats will next take on the #8 seed North Carolina State Wolfpack in the East Region Third Round Saturday in Pittsburgh. The winner will play either the #4 seed Louisville Cardinals or #5 Northern Iowa Panthers in the Sweet 16 next week in Syracuse.
North Carolina State leads the series 12-10 against Villanova, but this is only the second time they have played since 1973. NC State has won 4 straight games in the series including the last meeting in 2007. Villanova hasn’t won in the series since 1959.
North Carolina State went 21-13 overall and finished tied for sixth in the ACC at 10-8. In the second round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday, NC State beat LSU 66-65 on a hook shot at the buzzer from forward BeeJay Anya. It was one of a record five games decided by one point on the tournament’s opening day. LSU led by 16 points early in the second half but missed their last 12 free throws and couldn’t put the Wolfpack away.
NC State is making their 26th trip overall to the tournament and fourth straight. The Wolfpack have two national titles in 1973 and 1983. NC State went 4-9 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.
Villanova won the Big East regular season title with a 16-2 record, at least 4 games clear of every other team. The Wildcats won the Big East Tournament for the first time since 1995, beating Xavier 69-52 in the final. Villanova crushed #16 seed Lafayette 93-52 in the second round Thursday. Villanova is making their 10th trip to the tournament since 2005. This is the 30th anniversary of the Wildcats’ unlikely national title run in 1985. Villanova went 14-1 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.
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NC State is coached by Mark Gottfried. The Wolfpack have road losses at Purdue, Virginia, Miami, Wake Forest, and Boston College, neutral site losses to West Virginia at Madison Square Garden and Duke in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, plus home losses against Wofford, Cincinnati, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Clemson, and Virginia. The Wolfpack have won 4 of their last 5 games. NC State has home wins over Hofstra, South Florida, Richmond, Boise State, Wake Forest, Tennessee, Louisiana Tech, Pittsburgh, Duke, Virginia Tech, and Syracuse, a neutral site win over Pittsburgh in the ACC Tournament, plus road wins over Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, North Carolina and Clemson. The Wolfpack are 16-13-2 ATS and the total is 13-13 this season. NC State was a 2 point favorite against LSU and the total was 140.5.
Villanova is coached by Jay Wright. Villanova has road losses at Seton Hall and Georgetown. The Wildcats have neutral site wins over Lehigh in Allentown, PA, VCU and Michigan in Brooklyn, Illinois in New York, Marquette, Providence and Xavier in the Big East Tournament in Madison Square Garden. Villanova has home wins over Delaware, St. Joseph’s, Temple, Syracuse, Butler, DePaul, Xavier, Creighton, Marquette, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Providence, and St. John’s, plus road wins over LaSalle, St. John’s, Penn DePaul, Providence, Butler, Marquette, Xavier, and Creighton. Villanova is 25-9 ATS and the total is 14-18-2 this season. The Wildcats were 22 point favorites against Lafayette and the total was 145.
NC State is outscoring teams 70-65 this season. The Wolfpack are shooting 43.7% from the field and 35.5% from 3 point range. NC State makes 68.4% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 40.3% from the field and 33.2% from 3 point range. NC State averages 37.9 rebounds per game and opponents average 31.1 per game. The Wolfpack are #30 nationally in rebounding. NC State averages 11.6 assists, 10.5 turnovers, 3.9 steals and 5.2 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.9 assists, 10 turnovers, 5.3 steals and 3.9 blocks per game.
Trevor Lacey averages 15.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Ralston Turner averages 13.1 points and 3.3 assists per game. Anthony Barber averages 12.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. Kyle Washington averages 6.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. Abdul-Malik Abu averages 6.2 points and 4.5 blocks per game. Four other players average at least 11 minutes a game. Guard Terry Henderson is ineligible for the season.
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Villanova is outscoring teams 76-61 this season. The Wildcats are #23 in scoring and #43 in points allowed nationally. Villanova is shooting 47% from the field and 38.9% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #36 or better in both categories. Villanova makes 72.7% from the free throw line. Opponents are shooting 40.5% from 3 point range and 30.8% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #30 nationally in 3 point defense. Villanova averages 34.4 rebounds per game and opponents average 27.7 per game. The Wildcats average 15.9 assists, 10.9 turnovers, 7.8 steals and 4 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.9 assists, 14.2 turnovers, 5.6 steals and 2.7 blocks per game.
Darrun Hilliard II averages 14 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Josh Hart averages 10.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Ryan Arcidiacono averages 10.2 points, 1.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Dylan Ennis averages 9.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1 steal per game. JayVaughn Pinkston averages 9.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. Daniel Ochefu averages 9.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.4 blocks per game.
NC State is 5-1-1 ATS in Saturday games, 6-2 against teams with winning records, 18-7-1 after failing to cover, 7-3 overall, 2-6 in non-conference games, and 1-3-1 in neutral site games.
Villanova is 7-1 ATS after scoring 90 points or more, 5-1 after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 6-2 in neutral site games, 23-8 in Saturday games, 22-8 in non-conference games, 40-15 against teams with winning records, 42-16 after a straight up win, 48-16 overall, 41-20 after a cover, and 2-6 in NCAA Tournament games.
If you know which NC State team will show up from game to game, then you have an advantage as a handicapper. However, this team has wins over Duke, North Carolina and Louisville, but also has losses to Boston College and Wake Forest. NC State is far too inconsistent to be trusted against an elite team like Villanova. I think the Wildcats win easily.